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The D.C. Council has already formally called on the Washington football team to change its racist name. Now, it’s going more local with legislation that would prohibit D.C. schools from using race-based team names and mascots.
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced the legislation, which would amend the city’s Human Rights Act, today.
McDuffie cites in the bill the American Indian Cultural Support organization, which notes seven District schools using “Native American racial mascots.” These schools all have either Warriors or Indians as their mascots. The schools include Anacostia High School and Langdon Middle School.
Under McDuffie’s legislation, a school would be exempt from the law if it has an agreement with a “federally recognized American Indian tribe to use the name.”
“While I believe we must continue to apply pressure to the change the Washington football team’s name,” McDuffie said in a statement, “I do not believe we can do it without an air of hypocrisy if we do not address the offensive team names in our own backyard.”
At-Large Councilmember David Grosso co-introduced the legislation. Ten other councilmembers co-sponsored it; Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is the only councilmember whose name is not attached to the bill.
The bill, officially titled the “Human Rights Educational Institutions Fairness Amendment Act of 2014,” was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.
Correction: This post incorrectly stated that Kenyan McDuffie is an at-large councilmember. He represents Ward 5.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery