Your Views: It is time to do away with Indian nicknames

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Indian mascot names must go. Indians are people, not mascots. Racial groups get to decide for themselves what terms used to identify them are acceptable and which are offensive. It's a complicated case of history, and it evolves.

The main point is I can't decide what's offensive for blacks, Asians or American Indians any more than they can determine what I find offensive if I were a person of Polish descent.

Native Americans believe it's time to dispense with high school, college and professional team mascot names that they find are no longer appropriate, if ever they were.

In Wisconsin, Assembly Bill AB297, backed by Rep. Steve Nass, R-La Grange, would largely repeal a law passed by a Democratically controlled statehouse three years ago. The Senate will consider the bill this month.

The current law puts the burden on a school district to prove that a mascot name is not offensive. The new Republican bill would require at least 10 percent of the school district's population to sign a petition asking the mascot name be changed.

This bill is largely in response to the obstinacy of the Mukwonago School District. While other districts have changed their names in recent years, Mukwonago stubbornly clings to the “Indians.” The district even used taxpayers' money on a lawsuit challenging the current law.

Why is it so hard? When someone is offended by a mascot name, why not just change it to any one of a million names that wouldn't offend anyone?



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