Column: No room for racist nicknames in schools
"Tradition. Honor. Pride. These are the terms used by those who are attempting to overturn the Natick School Committee's decision last February to eliminate ``Redmen'' as the nickname of Natick athletic teams. But a consideration of tradition, honor, and pride should instead convince all of us in Natick to put the ``Redmen'' name, and the debate over it, to a final and conclusive death.

Supporters of retaining the Redmen nickname are correct in asserting that there is a long tradition associated with this term. That tradition is one of racism in this nation, accompanied by the uses of derogatory racial slurs. There is simply no questioning the fact that Redmen is a racial slur that is, and has been for years, offensive to Native Americans.

No one doubts that those of us in Natick who have used this term as a team mascot and nickname do not intend the term to be taken in a derogatory way. But there is no escaping the fact that this is what the term means and this is how it is being interpreted by Native Americans and by many others.

Perhaps prior to knowing how local Native Americans in our community feel about the term, one could make the argument that no harm is intended and no harm is done by calling our teams the Redmen. But our local Native American Community has spoken out unequivocally on this matter. The term is insensitive, derogatory, offensive, and hurtful to them."

Get the Story:
Michael Siegel: There's no room for racist nicknames in Natick (GateHouse News Service 2/12)