Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mascots: Wisconsin Senate Bill 25/ Assembly Bill 35

There's new movement in the ongoing efforts to rid Wisconsin of race-based school logos, mascots and names, with this bill in the Assembly and a parallel effort in the Senate. This bill doesn't directly ban Indian mascots, but will push further toward eliminating them. Like our state superintendent of schools, Elizabeth Burmaster, puts it, those districts that still have such mascots and logos and team names need to “find appropriate alternatives.”

The American Sociological Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers all favor elimination of such holdovers from a bygone era. Common sense should point you in the same direction in this issue: Who out there actually thinks it's a good idea to represent your school with racist stereotypes?

There will be an Assembly Education Committee hearing on March 17. The chair of that committee is Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts, and you can email her at Rep.Pope-Roberts@legis.wisconsin.gov.

7 comments:

The Ridger, FCD said...

Oh, it's all in good fun.

I mean, it's a time-honored tradition!

I mean, it's just a mascot, why is everybody so upset?

Sigh ... from the home of the Redskins and the fan of the Braves ...

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, even when we win this in Wisconsin, there are other battles out there. 'Sigh' is right.

Monica said...

A good video on the topic is "In Whose Honor," about the IU fake Indian "Chief Illiniwek." (see http://jayrosenstein.com/pages/honor.html) At least that was one fight that was successful!

Anonymous said...

It was great to see that an overwhelming majority of those who testified at the hearing on Tuesday spoke in favor of the bill. Very impressive testimony from some non Indian students from Prescott, Wisconsin. About 30 students from Menomonie Indian High School in attendance as well. Their student representative said, "your names do not honor us." Yet the non-Indian majority continues to argue laughably that they are honoring native people. What a joke. Native people are the only racial, only racial minority in this country whose names are used as mascots (fighting Irish--not a racial minority, The Vikings - not a racial minority--) How much knowledge do those who say these mascots are "okay" have about native culture? Local control? Another laughable argument. Using the same logic we'd still have slavery today in some portions of this country. The old "I know and Indian who doesn't have any problem with the logos" argument. Whatever. Just like in the 19th century whites in the South said "I got a lot of slaves who are perfectly happy beings slaves." (yes, this was a common statement used to justify a disgusting and despicable institution). Or during the same time "Why do women need to vote, my wife doesn't care." Non Indians have controlled this debate for far too long. Also, why is "finding an Indian who supports the mascots" make this person a "great guy" and the native person who speaks against the mascots is referred to as a "whiner", "complainer" or an "uppity Indian." Every major American Indian nation and over 80% of all tribal members polled have said these mascots need to be eliminated. You say, it's not a big deal? I agree. So get rid of these mascots.

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks for the update. I wasn't able to go, and hadn't heard a firsthand report.

Let's hope that the tide has turned on this issue, and with some pushing and luck, we'll see continued movement in the right direction. But, as the Ridger point out, there's the whole battle over pro sports teams.

Joe said...

Hell, lets just shred the Constitution all the way...we already have "hate speech" legislation on the books, lets just go all the way and turn the Constitution into toilet paper...BTW, I do not support racism, but let the people of each district collectively decide what the district should do, not just 1 person with an axe to grind. Maybe the environmentalists will be offended that some mascot like the cardinals or the eagles is offensive to them. Thought and speech police is a minefield that we should not be navigating.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry....did someone actually compare the use of a high school mascot to owning slaves? Talk about a ridiculous argument. That makes no logical sense.