Letter to the Editor:
The “California Racial Mascots Act” is flawed – here’s why:
The very first section of the act reads as follows:
The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory school or athletic team names, mascots, or nicknames in California public schools is antithetical to the California school mission of providing an equal education to all.
The wording of this opens the door for anyone at any time now and in the future to use this act to force a school to change its school name and mascot. This bill does not just target the name “Redskins” but any and all names and mascots anyone may consider “racially derogatory or discriminatory,” making this bill a Pandora’s Box for all California schools.
The best definition of “racially derogatory” is a term designed to insult others on the basis of race, ethnicity or nationality. In other words, a term intended to offend or insult someone. The best definition of “discriminatory” is making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex – treating them as inferior or setting them apart. These school mascots don’t begin to meet either of these definitions.
The bill’s author has stated that these school names were chosen in an era when racism and bigotry were deemed acceptable – ridiculous. These mascots were largely chosen many, many years ago because of people indigenous to a region. Why would we call ourselves something derogatory? These mascots are not caricatures and these terms were chosen to symbolize pride, respect, honor and fearless spirit. They bring a school and community together – they do not set them apart.
The use of “buzzwords” like “racially derogatory, discriminatory, bigotry and racism” to pass faulty legislation needs to stop. These terms are used because they evoke an emotional response – they do not convey the truth. Furthermore, labeling people as racist for using a term when no slur is intended is in itself deeply unfair, insensitive and offensive. But, the most offensive truth about the bill is this – it imposes financial burdens on schools and the state. California does not have the money to repair our schools, make them safe for our students or educate our children properly. Yet, they have the money to change the name on our gym floors, marquees, walls, etc.? This is offensive to me as a tax payer, property owner, parent, booster and Redskin. The state needs to stop wasting our money on junk legislation and use our hard earned money on educating our kids and keeping them safe.
Even if Governor Brown vetoes this bill, the Legislature can override his veto and make it law. Tell your local representatives to stop this bill.
— Sherri Marsigli, Gustine