Time to do Away with Race-based Nicknames and Logos

The State Assembly is taking up the issue of Race-based school mascots and logos this week. In other words, Native American mascots and logos.

The bill calls for the state Department of Public Instruction to investigate complaints about race-based names, nicknames, logos or mascots. School boards would have a chance to argue the logos or mascots don't discriminate, harass or stereotype. And the state superintendent could fine schools if they don't make changes.

As always, it would have to be passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed by the governor to become law.

Usually, I pride myself on being able to see both sides of a story. But, I just can't see the point of hanging on to something as blatantly racist as an Indian logo or nickname. Stuff that we should have seen the light on 20-years ago.

Calling a sports team Indians, Chiefs, Redmen or something similar and showing a logo of a Native American man in a stereotypical Indian headdress, spear or some other related picture is not paying tribute. It's demeaning, plain and simple. If many of our Wisconsin city names came from African American Culture instead of from Indian names, would we call our high school sports teams "The Negroes" and use caricatures of black men? Of course not. We would see that as racist and stupid as it is. So, why are so many people not able to see the parallel when it comes to Native Americans?

The argument of "it's tradition" doesn't work for me either. We've had a lot of traditions over the years that we finally realized were not so great. The "sport" of clubbing baby seals is the first that comes to mind. Also, are we really sure today's kids want to keep the tradition going? It was the students themselves who lead the drive to do away with Red Raiders in Wisconsin Rapids. The community eventually voted to change it to Wolves.

You know what would be even better than a law against Race based nicknames? School districts and the people who live in them coming to their senses and changing the names before the state forces them to.


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