Lawmakers step in on school mascot issue

Nov 14, 2017

Democrats in Lansing want to make schools get rid of mascots that may be considered racially insensitive.

The legislation would prevent all kinds of potentially racially insensitive monikers – from the Escanaba Eskymos to the Athens Indians. Some schools say they aren’t racist and the communities have a proud history with these mascots.

Democratic Senator Ian Conyers is a bill sponsor.

“I think the control of those appropriations, especially on high school levels, should be up to the people whose heritage is being defined.”

Conyers says if Michigan wants to attract big businesses like Amazon, it needs to put its best foot forward.

“What makes us think that an organization like that, an international group, would want to bring their business to our state when there’s still these legacy issues? I think without blame we need to move forward.”

He says the debate over whether these mascots are okay has gone on long enough.

“More and more from a national narrative down to our local areas, we’re looking at some of the things that we’ve done wrong or that have been unaddressed and I believe that the symbols and the chants at some of the high schools that we have in our state are really holding us back.”

The mascot issue recently came up when Paw Paw school district wanted to keep its mascot – the Redskins. The local board voted to keep the nickname. Proponents say the nickname is a point of pride and not racist.