Student dress codes often focus on teens showing too much skin. But a group wants them to include the Washington Redskins – along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians or any other team sporting a logo that perpetuates negative racial stereotypes.
According to a report in the The Toronto Star, the Equity Summit Group is pushing the province to ban the clothing, penning a sternly-worded letter to Education Minister Liz Sandals and other education officials.
“The use of pejorative indigenous names, logos and mascots is both an exploitation of indigenous cultural, spiritual and intellectual identity, and in many cases, a racist misrepresentation of that identity,” the letter states.
“This extends to students wearing clothing of amateur and professional teams that bear the pejorative and racist names and logos. When this occurs, our schools across Ontario are fostering a learning environment that is asking indigenous and non-indigenous children to tolerate racism and it must stop immediately.”
The group further argues that allowing such clothing counters the province’s commitment to inclusiveness at schools.
Team logos have long stirred controversy. Here’s a look at some of the Canadian teams that have changed their logos (Source: The Canadian Press):
- January 2014: The Ottawa-area Nepean Redskins youth football team, which had the same logo and colours as the Washington NFL team, changed its name to the Nepean Eagles after a human rights complaint.
- June 2014: Western Canada High School in Calgary dropped its Redmen name and logo after consulting with school board elders and despite opposition to the change. It cost the board $200,000 to repaint the gym and order new uniforms. The new name is the Redhawks.
- November 2014: The Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League stopped using a mascot that depicted an Arabian raider character holding a sword and a hockey stick. The team said the mascot was modelled after the logo it used when the team won the Memorial Cup in 1985, but there were complaints it stereotyped Middle Eastern people.
- December 2014: Regina’s Balfour Collegiate changed its team name to the Bears from the Redmen in December 2014.
- December 2014: Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon switched to Redhawks from the Redmen. Officials said while the origin of the Redmen name was innocuous, there had been feedback suggesting it was no longer appropriate.