October 12, 2010
Law Forces Schools To Change “Race-Based” Mascots
In a case of political correctness run amok, many public schools in Wisconsin will be forced to abandon their longtime mascot because a new state law bans “race-based” team nicknames or logos that offend Native Americans.
The first-of-its kind legislation was enacted under pressure from Wisconsin’s politically-connected Native American community, which formed an Indian Mascot and Logo Taskforce that completed a series of studies to support the measure. All of them concluded that Indian nicknames and logos discriminate, contribute to harassment and promote stereotypes.
Among the studies’ key findings is that Euro-American students actually receive an artificial self-esteem and self-efficacy boost with the use of Indian nicknames and logos while American Indian students are adversely affected in both areas. This alone is proof of discrimination, according to the taskforce which was set up by the Wisconsin Indian Education Association.
American Indian students who approve the use of Indian nicknames and logos suffer even more, according to the task force, which failed to elaborate on that particular finding. It further revealed that the harm is not reduced when a “noble and respected image” is used as a mascot as opposed to a “cartoonish, ridiculous looking image.”
Now schools throughout the Badger State with Indian nicknames—including Braves, Chiefs and Blackhawks—must find new logos. Among them is Kewaunee High School, which has been known as the Kewaunee Indians since 1936. Students and residents in the town of less than 3,000 submitted ideas and this week settled on the Kewaunee Storm. The district has a year to remove the offensive “Indians” signs from school premises.
Of interesting note is that Wisconsin has more than a dozen Indian casinos and so far no Native American groups have been offended that the profitable operations bear tribal names. Among them are the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, the Oneida Nation’s Oneida Bingo & Casino and the Potawatomi Indian Tribe’s Potawatomi Northern Lights Casino. Check out the entire list of Wisconsin Indian casinos here.