Great work, California!
The Golden State has become the first in the nation to completely ban the use of ‘Redskins’ as a mascot for any public school sports team, with a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (pictured above) on Sunday.
The ban comes in direct relation to the ongoing controversy surrounding the NFL‘s Washington Redskins, and that team’s refusal to change their mascot, which Native American advocacy groups and allies have continually said is racist and cruel.
With California’s ban, the state joins communities — like Houston, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin — in ridding themselves of the racially insensitive term in the public realm surrounding sports and mascots.
California’s bill, Assembly Bill 30, also known as the California Racial Mascots Act, prohibits public schools from using ‘Redskins’ for athletic mascots or nicknames beginning on January 1, 2017.
Governor Brown said of the bill, and other legal moves on racial issues:
“Recently we saw a national movement to remove the Confederate flag from state capitols in the South, a long overdue action. This bill, however, strikes me as different and an issue quintessentially for local decision-makers.”
The Native American advocacy group Change The Mascot also shared their thoughts on the bill’s passage with a statement:
“The most populous state in the country has now taken a stand against the use of this insidious slur in its schools, and Change the Mascot expects more states to follow. This landmark legislation eliminating the R-word in California schools clearly demonstrates that this issue is not going away, and that opposition to the Washington team on this issue is only intensifying. The NFL should act immediately to press the team to change the name.”
Congratulations to California for doing the smart thing in this instance — there are literally thousands of cool options out there for school mascots, none of which ought to be an inappropriate racial reference to a group of people’s collective history and heritage.
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[Image via Drew Altizer/WENN.]