The “Redskins” took two losses this weekend, one on the field in Atlanta, the other in Congress in California.
The Washington D.C. based professional NFL team lost this weekend, 25-19 in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons. Fans of the team who are sulking over that loss will surely find no comfort in a new bill just signed into law in California.
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 30 (AB 30) that eliminates the term “Redskins” as a school or athletic team name, mascot or nickname starting on January 1. The California Racial Mascots Act makes California the first state in the country to pass legislation restricting the use of the epitaph in public schools.
The movement was spearheaded by Change the Mascot Campaign, Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata and thousands of other supporters in states around the country.
Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter explained the significance of the new law to CollegeHipHop.com in a statement:
Their historic step to build a better future stands in stark contrast to the dogged inaction of Washington’s NFL team, which in the face of all the evidence that this term degrades and offends Native Americans, continues to defend and promote the slur for its own financial gain.
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.
All across the country, school boards, administrators and students themselves are also making the decision to give up this offensive term. Students at Cooperstown High School in New York voted to drop the R-word slur as their school’s nickname in 2013.
They served as an inspiration to the Change the Mascot campaign and also led the way for many others who have taken steps to remove the R-word from their schools, including Northern Indiana’s Goshen Community School Board, the Lancaster Central School District of New York, the Oregon Board of Education, Madison (WI) School Board, Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma, The Houston Independent School District and Conrad Schools of Science in Delaware.