Your Views: Rep. Nass’ legacy will be one of facilitating racism

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Friday, November 1, 2013

In the early 1960s, George Wallace stood on the steps of an Alabama school to block the entrance of black students seeking educations equal to that of their white peers. Wallace never admitted to being a racist. Instead, Wallace defended his actions by saying he was standing up for the state of Alabama’s right to perpetuate segregation in public schools. For all that he accomplished in his political career, the legacy of George Wallace never escaped the stench of racism.

It’s that simple: When one facilitates racism, he or she will be viewed as a racist.

Now comes Wisconsin Assemblyman Steve Nass, co-sponsor of a new law that would make it easier for school districts to perpetuate racism through continued use of race-based mascots and images. Nass claims the existing law is unfair to districts such as Mukwonago, where the high school continues to promote a race-based nickname. In reality, the existing law simply forces districts to examine race-based nicknames and logos and be held accountable for them. The law may seem to be unfair to Nass because it forces those who wish to use race-based images to defend what is indefensible.

It’s doubtful Nass will ever admit to being a racist. He argued in a thesis that appeared in the Gazette last Saturday that he is simply standing up for the rights of those who wish to perpetuate the use of race-based mascots. Not unlike Wallace, however, Nass will leave the unfortunate legacy of facilitating racism.



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