Dem: Redskins a ‘Hateful Mascot’–‘Racism and Hate Speech’ a Priority in Congress

Penny Starr, CNS News, Penny Starr

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said at an event on Tuesday at the liberal Center for American Progress that ‘racism and hate speech” are always a priority in Congress, including as it relates to the campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins.

“Racism and hate speech is always a priority if we’re going to be the shining beacon of democracy and respect and opportunity that we aspire to in all of our founding documents,” McCollum said when CNSNews.com asked whether the Redskins controversy should be a priority given all of the issues facing lawmakers.

In her remarks at CAP, McCollum said when she came to the Capitol in 2001, she became aware of the “harmful stereotype” the Redskins mascot represented.

“It made me realize that people didn’t know what they were doing–that they needed an opportunity to find out what this hateful mascot really was, because they didn’t know,” McCollum said.

McCollum spoke at CAP at an event to release a study done by the center entitled “Missing the Point; The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth.”

“Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students,” the study summary states. “It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults.”

During her remarks, McCollum said she headed a protest last year against a football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins scheduled for Nov 7, 2013. {snip}

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McCollum did not express concern for Minnesota’s use of the Vikings as their mascot even if the sea-faring Norsemen do not have a reputation for kindness and tolerance.

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The CAP report includes recommendations for local, state and federal agencies, including calling on the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights to “use its full authority to enforce civil rights protections for AI/AN students” and federal and private funding for “new research on the impact of derogatory AI/AN representations in schools.”

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