On Monday (May 4), the California state assembly overwhelmingly approved legislation that would ban the name "Redskins" for high school sports team mascots by 2017. If approved by the state senate, the ban would affect four high schools in the state.
“California has the largest number of Native Americans in the country, it’s time we as a state take a stand against racial slurs used by our public schools,” said assemblyman Luis Alejo in a statement. “This is part of a national movement and now is the time for us here in California to end the use of this derogatory term in our public schools.”
The name "Redskins," while commonly seen in the sports world, has a history of usage as a racial slur against Native Americans. In literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, the word "Redskin" was used to promote racial stereotypes, and naturally, many still consider the name to be highly offensive.
“Every September we honor National American Heritage Month,” continued assemblyman Alejo. “But the way we should truly honor Native Americans is to stand on moral principle and do what is right to end the use of this insulting racial slur against them. Many universities and school districts in California have already taken the lead, and have voluntarily moved away from using this insulting term.”
As we all (should) know, racism is simply not cool, no matter what shape or form it takes -- that includes sports. If the "Redskin" ban is signed into law, California would be the first state in the country to prohibit the term from being used. Fingers crossed.