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Ban School Mascot Names in Michigan

Washington Redskins Name Change Initiative Announced On Capitol Hill
Getty Images by: Alex Wong

The attack against Michigan school’s mascot names continues.  Now the politicians want to put their 2 cents, since when does a politician spend only 2 cents of our money, I should say millions into the attack.

The Michigan Senate Bill 646 would:

withhold state funding for a public school that that has a mascot, nickname, logo, or other team or club descriptor that is based on race or ethnicity, and require the state Board of Education and Department of Civil Rights to make a list of banned names. The ban would also apply to a “slogan, chant, song, or other formal or informal auditory practice,” and to “publications, uniforms, signs, or other visual materials

It must be noted that Senate Bill 646 would allow some Michigan schools to keep a banned name or mascot but only if the State Board of Education and the Department of Civil Rights grants them a waiver.

Before you can even request a waiver from the State Board of Education and the Department of Civil Rights the bill requires the school to get permission from a racial or ethnic organization or group “that the state board and Department of Civil Rights considers appropriate.”

Good luck jumping through those hoops.

The bill was introduced by Senator Ian Conyers, D-Detroit. He believes that Michigan should move past the time when school mascots were named after what some feel depicts racial or ethnic groups in a bad manner.  He is quoted in a Michigan Capitol Confidential article stating:

[The bill] is just for each community to have those conversations and if there’s something particularly offensive, we have to get rid of it. Looking forward, we’re realizing that there are still some remnants of incorrect thinking.

State Senator Conyers said he wants to build on a state board resolution from 2003 that:

strongly recommends the elimination of American Indian mascots, nicknames, logos, fight songs, insignias, antics, and team descriptors by all Michigan schools.

This bill would essentially ban all Michigan schools from using any mascot, nicknames, logos, fight songs, insignia’s, antics, and team descriptors being used because of the amount of money the schools could lose.

As an example, Saranac Community Schools could lose up to $7.2 million in state aid for their nickname “Redskins” and Escanaba Area Public Schools could potentially forfeit $16.1 million in state money because of the nickname “Eskymos”.

Could this be a slippery slope in which anyone or group feels a school’s mascot, nicknames, logos, fight songs, or insignia is demeaning to them or their affiliated group?

Senate Bill 646 has now been referred Michigan’s Senate Education Committee.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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