Week of April 29

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Week of April 29

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2001


Author Patricia Cornwell to sponsor stained glass window in London based on life of Pocahontas

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2001

Just heard that the CARE guys had a flat bed truck in Woodstock today with kids dressed as Indians on it...anyone see it, or get a picture???


-- Anonymous, April 29, 2001

Happy May Day!

Fred and Chris a study in contrasts last night at candidates' night. Chris so stiff he seemed as if he'd just come back from the taxidermist, Fred very twitchy.

Today's Daily Freeman article on how the mascot referendum will stay on the ballot.

"Indian Ruling Will Follow Vote" by William Kemble

Onteora school district residents will get a chance to vote on whether to keep the high school's "Indian" nickname, now that the state Education Department has turned down a request for an emergency decision challenging the non-binding proposition on the May 15 ballot. The state has agreed to keep the case open, however, to decide whether the board members acted properly.

Marino D'Orazio, one of two trustees challenging the referendum, said no appeals are expected to be filed before the district absentee ballots are issued.

"The commissioner will ... make some sort of decision on the merits of this," he said. "But he is basically declining to apply a stay and is going to let the people figure it out for themselves."

D'Orazio and Trustee Meg Carey asked to have the proposition invalidated based on previous state Education Department rulings that non-binding propositions are improper.

State Education Department Appeals Coordinator Sharon Ryan, in a letter to Onteora officials, wrote that "no stay order will be issued. However, upon receipt of all papers, a decision will be rendered as promptly as possible."

"This means that they put it on the ballot ... but it'll be June before all the (state) papers get in on this," said John Donoghue, the school district attorney.

Board of Education trustees voted 4-2 last month to put the referendum on the ballot after state Commissioner of Education Richard Mills issued an opinion that Indian mascots are not acceptable for school districts and gave districts a year to consider how changes can be made.

In court papers outlining why a referendum is needed, board President Martin Millman wrote that it was preferred over other ways to determine sentiment.

"While a public hearing would attract speakers, a public hearing would not be a very useful means by which to quantify community opinion compared with the cumulative votes of the electorate," Millman said.

Trustee Frederick Perry, elected to the board last year as a supporter of the Indian mascot, said he considered the decision not to interfere with the Onteora election to be a victory. He said the referendum would show whether there has been a change in sentiment since several state and federal agencies have issued opinions about the use of racial images in school district symbols.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the people feel different, that we should move on and go in different directions," he said.

-- Anonymous, May 01, 2001

The 2PM local newsbriefs on WAMC announced that the Fonda- Fultonville (?) school district will be putting their mascot issue to the students.

Charles (or anyone else) -- do we have any figures as to how many actual Native American children are in the Onteora district? I was doing a little extrapolating from some US census and state educational breakdowns, but I don't know if I am working with apples and oranges. I came up with only about 8 children, and I'm assuming that this would be those who are self-identified as Native American for census and school registration (is that where they get the racial breakdowns?) purposes, not those who are actually registered members of tribes.

-- Anonymous, May 01, 2001

"Just tell me your real name " by Jon Carroll Thursday, May 3, 2001 2001 San Francisco Chronicle

HERE'S AN ISSUE that won't go away: The naming of sports teams, both collegeand professional, with words that refer to American Indians, e.g.: the Redskins, the Indians, the Braves.

Sometimes the controversy widens to include the nature of the mascots, the associated rooting gestures (like the annoying "tomahawk chop"), memorabilia,logos, all that. Indian groups have said, at various times and in various ways, that they find the names demeaning, ethnic slurs no less egregious than any of the more familiar epithets.

Naturally, lots of people are against changing the names. People hate change, for one thing, so any proposal to change anything (a street name, an area code, the formulation of a popular brand of snack cracker) brings protests.

I have often thought of forming an organization called People Against Change -- we'd always have plenty of battles to fight, and our revenue stream would be like a rolling river. Our motto: If it's different, we're against it. We'd still be fight-ing rearguard actions against push-button telephones and automatic transmissions.

The opponents of sundry name-change proposals are always drawing up lists of counter-examples. Hey, Notre Dame is the Fighting Irish -- is it supposed to change? How about the Trojans and the Spartans -- do they not promote unhealthy stereotypes? Those Minnesota Vikings; is that not an unjust depiction of the sensitive native people of Scandinavia?

Such rants usually end with a common invocation: "Where will this political correctness end?"

("Political correctness" is the great bludgeon that we at People Against Change will always keep ready to batter our opponents with no matter what the issue. If the term had been around in the 1840s, the movement against slavery - - with its pious pamphlets and geeky speechmakers -- would have been mocked as politically correct. "I'd like to see those fancy liberals do without their fine cotton shirts," someone would remark to thunderous applause.)

ALWAYS WISHING TO be helpful, I have created a formula that will draw a definitive line beyond which the dread tentacles of political correctness cannot go. Whenever a significant number of people identified with a subsection of the human species objects to a name, then the name gets changed.

Otherwise, nothing. The bulwark is maintained. The Fighting Irish may go on fighting; the Trojans may go on being the men of Troy, which is to say: the losers in the most famous battle of the ancient world.

I believe that people have the right to be called by the names they choose. I am uninterested in being called Spike or Martha; I am opposed to being described as a mick. (I would not be crazy about the Notre Dame Fighting Micks, either.) I don't think about it much, because I am a white guy, and the number of cultural insults I have to bear is small.

I mean, it is unfairly assumed that I can neither jump high nor dance; on the other hand, every president of the United States since the beginning has been a white guy. Power is a wonderful balm for ruffled feelings.

THE BATTLE AGAINST Indian nicknames has been going on for quite some time. It is not three cranks with a Web site; it's a major movement of people who believe that policy follows culture and that the sooner "Redskins" becomes as unacceptable a nickname as "Jewboys" or "Ragheads," the closer this nation will get to dealing with the poverty, disease and alienation among the Indian population.

Defenders say, "Oh, it's a term of respect; it refers to the bravery of the Indian warriors." Hey, it's not a term of respect if the people referenced don't feel respected. If you want to show real respect, change the name.

It's not "politically correct"; it's just good manners.


How about snakes instead? The Cleveland Cobras! The Atlanta Mambas!

And I look to find a reason to believe, someone like jcarroll@s...

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2001

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