California Becomes First State to Ban the Derogatory R-Word for Sports Teams Names in Sports

California Gov. Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Published October 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO— California, the nation’s most populated state, became the first state in the United States to ban the usage of the “R-word” slur as a mascot from all of the state’s public schools. The ban signed today by Governor Jerry Brown goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

Contrary to what some choose to believe, the R-word is detested by the vast majority of American Indians across Indian Country and is likened to the “N-word” among African Americans.

Anti washington NFL logoGovernor Brown signed Assembly Bill 30 (AB30) into law. By signing the AB30, California made civil rights history. The bill, known as the California Racial Mascots Act, will prohibit public schools from using the term R*dskins as a school or athletic team name, mascot, or nickname.

Brown’s action drew immediate praise from the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest American Indian in the United States. The National Congress of American Indians will hold its annual conference in San Diego beginning next Sunday, October 18, 2015.

In addition to praise from the National Congress of American Indians, the grassroots group Change the Mascot also commended Governor Brown for signing AB30.

Both organizations released the following statement on Sunday praising Brown’s signature:

“We applaud and extend our deepest gratitude to AB-30 author Assemblyman Luis Alejo, Governor Jerry Brown, and California’s lawmakers for standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools. They 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.

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 most populous state in the country has now taken a stand against the use of this insidious slur in its schools, and Change the Mascot expects more states to follow. This landmark legislation eliminating the R-word in California schools clearly demonstrates that this issue is not going away, and that opposition to the Washington team on this issue is only intensifying. The NFL should act immediately to press the team to change the name.”

All across the country, school boards, administrators and students themselves are also making the decision to give up this offensive term. Students at Cooperstown High School in New York voted to drop the R-word slur as their school’s nickname in 2013. They served as an inspiration to the Change the Mascot campaign and also led the way for many others who have taken steps to remove the R-word from their schools, including Northern Indiana’s Goshen Community School Board, the Lancaster Central School District of New York, the Oregon Board of Education, Madison (WI) School Board, Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma, The Houston Independent School District and Conrad Schools of Science in Delaware.

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