Race

Houston School District To Ban 'Offensive' Team Names: Braves, Rebels, Redskins

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Texas school board vote Thursday ruled team names like braves, warriors, rebels or redskins are offensive and culturally-insensitive.

The board has given preliminary approval to ban these names in the Houston Independent School District. The board will vote again after a second meeting on the matter, but final approval is expected.

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If it passes, the Lamar High School Redskins, Hamilton Middle School Indians, and Welch Middle School Warriors will all require new names in the beginning of the 2014 school year this fall.

Some attendees at the school board meeting spoke out against the ban.

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"We see it as a sign of respect, not a sign of mockery," said Lamar student Juan Vides.

"You should be spending your money, time and attention not on changing mascots but on educational matters," said Joe Koch, a 1968 Lamar graduate. "These names were not meant to be offensive. They were meant as a rallying cry to bring students together."

Native American speakers showed their support for the move, claiming that the names are hurtful regardless of the intention.

"I am a human being — I am not a mascot," said Native American activist Steve Melendez.

Board member Rhonda Skillern-Jones said the district should not "continue to celebrate a name that people find offensive."

Some critics blasted the ban on Twitter.

“Apprently [sic] Texas's backbone does not extend to Houston's school district. The PC police of mascot names is taking hold,” wrote Allen O’Neil.

“Seriously ppl get life!!” wrote Sameh Emam.

Others wonder why Washington’s NFL team the Redskins doesn’t follow suit.

“Houston schools ban "redskin" mascot so why not Washington NFL?” one woman tweeted.

In an op-ed for The Nation Tuesday, Jeremiah Goulka wrote on “Why Republicans Protect the ‘Honor’ of Offensive Team Names: Conservatives have a convenient belief that when it comes to racism, it’s all about intent.”

Goulka claims that the belief that “intent is everything” blinds people into believing “if there is no intent to harm, then there’s no foul.”

Sources: KHOU, Houston Chronicle, Fox News