Walker Says Racist Public School Mascots Protected by... "Free Speech" | WisCommunity

Walker Says Racist Public School Mascots Protected by... "Free Speech"

In a recent interview with Governor Scott Walker, he was asked about a bill that seeks to weaken Wisconsin's already weak law on racist school mascots, he indicated he would sign the bill, , "where do you draw the line on free speech?"   While it is true that racist mascots such as the NFL's Washington Redskins (or any other private business) are broadly protected under the Constitution's free speech protections, the "we can name our business anything we want" argument doesn't apply to Wisconsin's public schools.    Wisconsin public schools aren't businesses-- at least not yet.  Public schools don't have any First Amendment rights-- they're part of a larger statewide school system and can be regulated the same way the state can dictate statewide standards such as the number of hours per week of physical education. As Milwaukee attorney Brian Pierson correctly points out,  "A school district doesn't have a First Amendment right to adopt an Indian mascot any more than it has a First Amendment right to adopt the swastika as school symbol or 'white supremacy' as school slogan."   Even if individual school districts did have First Amendment rights, the state could exert control as it usually does:  By limiting state funding to schools that have racist mascots.    But, of course, the issue for Walker isn't really the First Amendment; it's that he is running for President in 2016 and doesn't want to appear to the knuckle-draggers that vote in the GOP primaries as someone who is bullied by those concerned about racism... err, political correctness.   In Walker's Wisconsin, there is a for the Pekin Chinks, Dickinson Savages and the Frisco Coons, which have all gone extinct in other states.   Perhaps a clever school district with an enlightened school board will create a mascot that will get under the skin of Republicans that insist ethnic mascots are a compliment and not an insult.  How about a team called the "Tea Partiers" with a pot-bellied, bald middle aged white guy mascot roaming the sidelines at football games yelling "Don't tread on me!" or how about the "Crackers," with an albino as a mascot, performing yoga during halftime shows, and stopping every once in a while for a sip of Starbucks.   The possabilities are endless!    

Published

December 18, 2013 - 9:46am

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