By Bob Katzen
A bill heard by the Education Committee would prohibit public schools from using an athletic team name, logo or mascot which is associated with Native Americans, or which denigrates any racial, ethnic, gender or religious group.
“In the past few years, the nation has seemed to finally come awake and recognize the hurt caused by racist mascots and imagery,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “This bill acknowledges the common humanity of all, corrects historical wrongs and addresses the profound psychological harm caused by perpetuating racist stereotypes — harm caused to both people who are of Native American heritage and those who are not.”
“I sponsored [the bill] because of the numerous conversations I’ve had with community leaders that have been doing the work to protect students in the commonwealth from the negative impacts of Native American mascots,” said House sponsor Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley (D-Mattapan). “We know based on years of research, that these mascots lead to the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and psychological ramifications like lower self-esteem and diminished perceptions of community worth. This bill will prevent students from further psychosocial harm.”