Stop the political correctness bullying
Waukesha Freeman, Thursday, October 24, 2013 Page A8 Opinion
On Saturday I was in Mukwonago to see the seventh-grade Mukwonago Braves play football. The boys lost but my son’s friend had a good game.
Some Mukwonago residents received free samples of Penzeys Spices and a letter from Bill Penzey asking the residents to oppose the school district’s effort to keep the Indians nickname for the high school. Judging from the people I spoke to at the football game, it’s going to take a lot more than spices to get them to change their minds.
Along the route to the field I saw a chiropractor’s office advertising a discount to anyone who brought in the free sample spices they received in the mail. The sign declared, “Indians forever!”
Perhaps if Bill Penzey had been a little less condescending in his letter he might have generated a more positive response. In his letter, he described how he was more sensitive than other people to plight of Native Americans because of his travels.
The politically correct love to say how much more enlightened they are than the hoi polloi. We should just trust them to make these decisions because they are so much better, more pure, than us.
Penzey also spun the yarn about how Native Americans were just peace-loving people until Europeans forced them to be warlike. Perhaps Penzey would take a less optimistic view of Native Americans’ supposed immunity from the flaws of human nature if he spent five minutes paying attention to the radio ads concerning a proposed casino in Kenosha.
But regardless of the quality of Penzey’s little campaign, it’s unlikely he would have changed many minds in Mukwonago.
The issue is more than just about the cost of changing the logo and the letterhead stationery. It’s about an attachment of a community to its history, and the history of its school. That’s not something to be lightly disregarded.
There is also a justified amount of resentment at the bullying by the politically correct. There is no rational need to change the name. The name “Indians” is not inherently offensive. So why give in?
Earlier this week, the very liberal Capital Times in Madison mentioned my last column on the controversy. But where I used the term “Native American” they used “Indian” to describe the statewide logo controversy.
While the Capital Times is ready to ban the word “Indian” from our high schools, they’re not ready to ban it from their stylebook. You would think they would be more sympathetic to local school districts.
State Sen. Dale Schultz, whose claim to be a Republican offends many Republicans, has proposed “compromise” legislation on the subject. He proposes that after an investigation by the Department of Public Instruction of all nicknames in the state, the possible offending nicknames would be referred to the local school boards. The school boards would have to negotiate with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council to keep the names.
Supposedly Schultz’s plan would allow more local control over the issue. Instead, it would just guarantee mass extortion of school districts across the state.
If we really want local control, a complete repeal of the Doyle-era law that allows the DPI to compel local school districts to change their logos and nicknames is in order.
Instead, the bill pending before the Senate that allows a reasonable complaint process is a good compromise that effectively deals with the most offensive team nicknames. It allows for a petition process to make a complaint and it allows for a fair hearing.
We often hear about the problem of bullying in schools. How about if we stop the politically correct bullying of school districts?
* * * Boscos Social Club in downtown Waukesha is having a collection for the family of Kelin Olson through the end of this month. A tragic accident cut his life short, and he left behind a wife and four children.
I have written previously in this space about Olson as a local Cub Scout leader. He meant a lot to those boys.
Thursday night is trivia night at Boscos and so far all this month the winners have contributed their prize money to the family. If you would like to help, too, please stop in and contribute.