Oregon Bans Native American Mascots: Should More States Do the Same?

News 2012/05/19 21:55:01
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The Oregon Board of Education has spoken. Public schools in the state must discontinue the use of Native American mascots by July 2017—or risk the loss of state funding.

The new regulation, which bans the use of Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, is being described as the toughest and most far-reaching of its kind. According to Oregon officials, Wisconsin is the only other state with a similar ban, though their policy is far less stringent. In Wisconsin, if complaints are made, schools must prove that their mascots do not promote discrimination, harassment, or stereotyping.

Fifteen Oregon high schools, and an unknown number of elementary and middle schools, are impacted by the new policy. Names specifically prohibited include “Redskins,” “Savages,” “Indians,” and “Braves.” Schools that use the name “Warriors” will be allowed to continue doing so, as long as they abandon any graphics associated with Native American tribes, customs, or traditions.

The state school board considered eight hours of public testimony and 700 written comments (400 in favor and 300 against) before voting 5-1 to accept the new policy. Individuals against the regulation argued in favor of maintaining longstanding community traditions and avoiding expensive changes in a time of tight public budgets. They also claimed that in some cases the mascots were intended as respectful tributes.

However, the state schools superintendent, Susan Castillo, argued that “intent is not enough.” She added, “We need to focus on what the impact is on our kids.”

And according to Se-ah-dom Edmo, an educator at Lewis and Clark College who testified in favor of the ban on behalf of the Oregon Indian Education Association, the impact is definitely not positive on Native American students.

“If you were like me and grew up here in Oregon and played opposing these schools that had Indian mascots, there was harm that was done there,” she said. “I think they were intending to honor native folks, but any time that you objectify a person or stereotype a group of people, which is really what the mascots did, it ceases to become a truth about them. The broader psychological impacts show lower self-esteem for native students and poor race relations.”

So SodaHeads, what do you think about Oregon’s ban on Native American mascots? Should more states do the same?

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na...

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Top Opinion

  • Cal 2012/05/19 22:07:55
    Why exactly? Are we going to ban vikings, patriots, cowboys, and broncos next? Dumbest thing ever.

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