Wisconsin GOP: Return to Institutionalized Racism is "The Best Path Forward"

The Vatican. The Smithsonian.  The Hague.  Barnes & Noble.  Hooters.

There's nothing more institutional than the name associated with an institution.

And when that name is racist, you're cementing approval of that racism into the very walls of the institution. 

I'm white and I don't find this offensive at all.
What's the problem?
Just today, I learned of an effort to draw attention to the need to rename Florida's Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, one of two schools in the United States that still bears the name of the first Grand Wizard of the KKK (the other school's in Tennessee).  The Florida school has paid tribute to Bedford since its anti-segregation inception in 1959. There's an effort now to petition the local school board to have it renamed.
And while I was still puzzling over how this overt vestige of racism is still considered acceptable in 2013 America, I read the news from Wisconsin, where a long and ongoing battle over racist mascot names has been taken to the next level by Republican legislators.

The message is simple.
Source: Democurmudgeon.
When they aren't too busy focusing on creating jobs legalizing rubber duck races, Wisconsin Republicans are actual drafting legislation that would turn back the hard-fought advances toward equity in public schools by "rewriting" the law requiring schools to abandon racist mascot names, and shift authority on the matter from the Department of Public Instruction to (guess who?) Scott Walker's Department of Administration.  Because one belligerent district refuses to comply with the name-change requirement, our children will be subjected to continued humiliations and the unconscionably bad example of normalizing racism in the classroom.  Even in their own press release, Sen. Mary Lazich accidentally betrays the true purpose of the backward-looking bill: to ensure total control so that no schools will have to change their mascots, to "avoid imposing costly re-branding on school districts."  Using words like "treasured mascots" and referring to the "principled positions" of school districts who refuse to abandon their beloved traditions [of racism], the Republican legislators' complete disrespect for how deeply offensive these racist mascot names are to many Wisconsinites is now on display for all to see. The repulsive irony is best seen in the words of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the blatant disregard for civility and equity is "the best path forward."  

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The most significant change would shift the burden of proof from the school districts to those filing complaints. Now, districts must prove their mascots, team names and logos do not promote discrimination, stereotyping or pupil harassment.
The bill also would require the hearings to be conducted by the state Department of Administration rather than the Department of Public Instruction. That would shift control of the hearings to Walker's administration and away from state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers.
Now, instead of school districts having to prove to DPI that their mascot names aren't offensive, Wisconsin tribes will have to come to Madison and stand before the DOA to prove that they are.  And then, one assumes, be told that while we respect their concerns very much, we're sorry, but they're wrong.

What could possibly be racist about that? 

"Logos of some of the Wisconsin high schools that have Native American mascots: Top row: Menomonee Falls Indians, Muskego Warriors, Mukwonago Indians, Waunakee Warriors. Bottom row: Fort Atkinson Blackhawks, Mosinee Indians, Kewaskum Indians, Ozaukee Warriors. Republicans announced Thursday that the Assembly would consider a bill within weeks rewriting the process for forcing school districts to drop their Indian mascots, shifting the burden of proof and possibly inflaming the ire of Native Americans." - Image and caption: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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