wisconsin law challenges race-based school mascots

Huh. Ain't that something. Earlier this year in Wisconsin, a new state law took effect to discourage and eliminate race-based nicknames, logos and mascots from schools: Wis. law lets residents challenge race-based mascots.

The new law allows school district residents to lodge complaints against such names... like the Kewaunee High School Indians, who recently underwent a community voting process to select a new mascot:

A state law that took effect in May allows school district residents to lodge complaints against race-based names. The Department of Public Instruction holds a hearing before the state superintendent decides whether to bar the usage. Districts can argue that a name isn't discriminatory if they have a tribe's approval.

In June, retired Kewaunee teacher Marsha Beggs Brown filed a complaint. The Kewaunee School Board intended to fight it, says President Brian Vogeltanz, but changed its mind on the eve of the hearing and decided to voluntarily drop the name. The district has a year to remove Indians signs from school premises.

"Respect for all people — that was my motivation," says Beggs Brown. "There's just no refuting that these names harm children." Some people here support her decision, she says, but "I've also gotten a couple of anonymous letters and anonymous phone calls, and there are people who don't speak to me."
Of course, the push for change has not gone over well with some members of the Kewaunee community who are unwilling to give up old traditions, no matter how outdated or insensitive they might be.

Wisconsin's law is the first of its kind. Some doggedly argue that the use of Indian imagery and names is "a tribute." Seriously? If you're truly interested in honoring Native American themes, then you shouldn't mind obliging when Native American groups object. Right? They are, after all, the very people you are trying to pay "tribute" to. Ah, but that's so inconvenient.

And I guess it's safe to bet that nobody's going to be adopting the fighting Caucasians as their team mascot any time soon. Some related posts:
would you cheer for the san francisco chinamen?
east high school, home of the orientals.

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