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Racist mascot review has merit

Sandusky Register |

Rick Lewis, CEO of the Ohio School Boards Association won’t say that using Native Americans as mascots is racist. “As an association, we have had several conversations about this topic. It’s not an easy topic to address,” he said.

When asked if Ohio school board members should feel obligated to conduct research into racism and how their district’s insensitive mascots and team names can negatively impact people, Lewis told the Register there’s nothing wrong with examining them.

“But I would discourage you from starting with the premise that every mascot negatively impacts individuals and society just because it is rooted in Native American history,” he said.

Even during the pandemic, some Ohio schools see value in reviewing mascots and images depicting Native Americans. It’s likely they were influenced by the Washington NFL football team, which, in July, decided to retire its racist mascot after corporate sponsors and Native American groups lobbied for reform for years.

Of the 79 Ohio high schools, as of June, that have such mascots, some have made changes, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Cincinnati Forest Hills, Country Day and Winton Woods schools have stopped using racist mascots and images and about 20 others are considering changes and/or are open to community input.