The Pigskins Shame Spiral is an occasional feature tracking developments related to the name of D.C.’s beloved football team.
Who? California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown.
Change the name? Yes. Back in September, the California State Assembly voted to approve The California Racial Mascots Act, which bars state public schools from using the derogatory name made infamous by the Washington football team. The Los Angeles Times reports that Brown approved the legislation Sunday, effectively ridding four high schools across the state of racially-charged mascots and team names by Jan. 1, 2017. (Three cheers!)
Why? This is big: With the passage of the act, California becomes the first U.S. state to ban the R-word in schools. It’s also the most populous state in the Union, at roughly 40 million people, or 12 percent of American residents. “[California lawmakers] have set a shining example for other states across the country, and for the next generation, by demonstrating a commitment to the American ideals of inclusion and mutual respect,” anti-R-word group Change the Mascot and the National Congress of American Indians said in a joint statement. “Their historic step to build a better future stands in stark contrast to the dogged inaction of Washington’s NFL team, which in the face of all the evidence that this term degrades and offends Native Americans, continues to defend and promote the slur for its own financial gain.” The law was passed across the country and the stench of racism still comes back to D.C.
Shame Spiral rating: California’s decision to help root out prejudice in its public schools certainly advances the ball on the R-word question, but doesn’t do much, if anything, in the District. Pigskins overlord Dan Snyder will have his way until public opinion changes. So while the Golden State shines gold today, Washington remains in the dark.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein