Commentary

Governor Bans Use of 'Inappropriate' Mascots and Logos in Public Schools, But Will Allow Some Under One Condition

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Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State has signed a bill into law that bans Native American mascots, imagery and symbols from being used in schools.

H.B. 1356, which will take effect next year, says it will prohibit “the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names.”

A version of the bill passed by the state legislature deemed the reference of Native Americans in sports and education as derogatory.

“The legislature finds that the use of racially derogatory or discriminatory school mascots, logos, or team names in public schools is antithetical to their mission of providing an equal education to all, and contrary to the goal of making schools safe and respectful learning environments,” the bill read.

“The legislature finds also that certain mascots, logos, or team names that are or have been used by schools and other entities are uniquely discriminatory in singling out the Native American community for derision and cultural appropriation,” the bill added.

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Washington lawmakers further claimed that schools that honor American Indians are a “barrier to equality.”

“Although the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images may be premised on the promotion of unity or school spirit, their use fails to respect the cultural heritage of Native Americans and promote productive relationships between sovereign governments,” the law reads.

“Furthermore, numerous individuals and organizations, including the United States commission on civil rights, have concluded that the use of Native American images and names in school sports is a barrier to equality and understanding, and that all residents of the United States would benefit from the discontinuance of their use.”

Some state schools which have for years honored Native Americans through their mascots now have to find new names — erasing years of history and leaving students to attend schools with no identity.

Do you find Native American mascots to be degrading?

Will teams and schools that honor white European people be demanded to follow suit? Is the use of a Celtic, a Viking or a Patriot, as a mascot, culturally insensitive? Will schools eventually move to a numerical naming system? Where does it end?

Inslee, a leftist who previously had aspirations to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, hasn’t answered those questions. He has touted the new law as a victory for Native Americans, according to Northwest Public Radio.

“This bill will end the disrespectful use of Native American imagery in our public schools,” Inslee stated when signing the bill.

Northwest Public Radio noted that 32 schools in Washington will be immediately affected by the new law. Some schools will have the option to keep their name or mascot, but under the condition they receive the blessing of nearby tribe.

It isn’t clear which tribes Washington Democrats polled before they decided to decrease the visibility of the American Indian in the state. But lawmakers are intent on using political correctness and cancel culture to erase them from the culture under the guise that they mean well.

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Democratic state Rep. Debra Lekanoff, Washington’s lone Native American in the state House, argued that the new law decreasing the visibility of her people will bring about “healing,” which is laughable.

“This bill is a small change that will bring about healing and show respect for our Native American neighbors and friends,” Lekanoff said, Northwest Public Radio reported.

Lekanoff of course doesn’t speak for all Indians. Not all of us embrace the mindset of victimhood. Some of us Native Americans appreciate not being left out of the culture and we simultaneously find it refreshing and inspiring to see our ancestors honored by being noted as having been “brave” and tenacious “warriors.”

The tough and independent legacy of the American Indian is what motivated most schools and major sports teams to choose Native American mascots to begin with. Who wants to battle and compete under the banner of a wimp?

Washington’s new law is actually a blow to the American Indian. Modern Native American culture, if we’re being honest, is more connected to casino gambling and living on remote patches of land, than it is anything else.

Some of us recognize that the vast majority of schools and teams which use Indian mascots, and have used them for decades, romanticize and pay homage to an era for Indians which is long gone.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has authored thousands of news articles throughout his career. He has also worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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