February 24, 2009

Drop mascots or pay fines

Wis. bill requires Indian logo investigationsWisconsin schools may have to drop their American Indian logos or face hundreds of dollars in fines under a bill a Democratic lawmaker has proposed.

Schools have been moving away from American Indian logos and nicknames for years. More than three dozen still use them, however, according to a fiscal estimate attached to the bill.

The bill calls for the state Department of Public Instruction to investigate complaints about race-based names, nicknames, logos or mascots. School boards would have a chance to argue the logos or mascots don’t discriminate or amount to harassment or stereotyping.

If the state superintendent finds the complaint has merit, he or she would order the school board to drop the offending moniker within a year or face $100 to $1,000 in fines each day it continues to use the logo.
Once again, the problem with mascots:Task force chairwoman Barbara Munson, an Oneida Indian, said her children went to Mosinee High School. While social studies classes presumably teach diversity, student athletes are still exposed to racial stereotypes when they play schools with American Indian nicknames, she said.

“My culture, the Oneida culture, values peace,” Munson said. “The Indian mascot in Mosinee is kind of tied to ideas of being fierce and warlike. ... It’s just one more layer of things kids have to figure out.”
Comment:  You mean all Indians weren't fierce and warlike? I'm shocked, I tell you...shocked!

For those who oppose government intervention in the mascot issue, recall that public schools are an arm of the government. I don't think government schools should be promoting false and stereotypical images of people...do you?

Below:  A typical mascot (not from Wisconsin).

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