California State Assembly Passes Bill to Ban ‘Redskins’

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

On Monday, the California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 30, which, beginning in 2017, bans California high schools from using the nickname “Redskins.”

Introduced by State Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, the bill states, “This bill would establish the California Racial Mascots Act, which would prohibit public schools from using the term Redskins as a school or athletic team name, mascot, or nickname, beginning January 1, 2017, subject to specified exceptions.

The bill would also provide that this prohibition may not be waived by the State Board of Education.” Alejo boasted to The Sacramento Bee,“This historic measure is part of a national movement. For far too long we’ve allowed stereotypes and derogatory terms to become normalized to our younger generations.”

Roughly 40,000 students who self-identify as Native Americans attend California schools; California has the highest number of Native Americans in the United States. Four California high schools use the nickname Redskins: Gustine High School in Merced County, Calaveras High School in Calaveras County, Chowchilla Union High School in Madera County, and Tulare Union High School in Tulare County.

The bill passed 57-9 in the Assembly. Some Republicans voted against it and were joined by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, whose district has a high school with the nickname. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill similar to AB 30 in 2004.

Last year, the federal government ruled that the Washington Redskins’ trademark should be banned, but that decision is being appealed.