NPR radio had a report about rightwing weirdos and hate-mongers in Texas wanting to use the government to sponsor their views via special license plates and how the Roberts Court is trying to figure whether the First Amendment applies here to protect the haters. No, First Amendment would unfortunately protect private hate speech from government interference but We The People should not be the ones sponsoring the hate, or insensitivity or whatnot. (14th? Equal Protection?)
At issue is whether a group attempting to honor their ancestors who at the time fought for the Confederacy can issue a special interest license plate via the state. (Meanwhile, blacks, descendants of blacks, descendants of slaves and most decent people would find the Confederate Flag objectionable, including on a license plate).
Meanwhile it had struck me just yesterday when I saw what looked to me like an offensive caricature of a first nation person or indigenous in the form of a mascot of the Florida State University, Tallahasse I guess, the Seminoles. (Jamais Winsten and them, I guess — are there notable non-athletes out of these schools? My cousin married a nice feller who played intercollegiate soccer, maybe FSU probably not the Gatorades, I will have to edit to add other notable alumni, out of fairness. (Hunter S. Thompson, took evening classes; Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a journalist I thought I heard him just today on radio; )
I am saying that just as Stanford and Dartmouth got with it and went to Cardinal and Big Green, and just as the feds cancelled the ability of Dan Snyder to profit of his hateful “Redskin” stereotype, the public universities and high schools who use these things should follow suit. I used to think the private enterprises like NFL or MLB who do these are less offensive because they are what they are, whereas with a college or university part of the problem is that the offensive stereotype seems inconsistent with the educational message.
On the other hand I once argued, in print that Dartmouth Mohegans would be less offensive and a compromise compared to Dartmouth Indians, because Samsom Occum was Mohegan.
I don’t want my tax dollar supporting ethnic stereotypes. If Florida or Floridians or even highly educated Floridians and FSU alumni and leadership want to honor the indigenous forbears I’m sure they can think of something less offensive. Also, if alumni and private individuals (haters — sometimes I get carries away and use 7-letters we all have one — ) want to push the limit of First Amendment, so be it.
But not in my name should we harm our brethren and sisters who find this a slur.
“Why should we as Texans want to be reminded of a legalized system of involuntary servitude, dehumanization, rape, mass murder?” asked state Sen. Royce West at a public hearing about the plates in 2011.
edit to add: there’s more to the story: there’s already nine other states selling this thing.
Meanwhile Dave Zirin chimes in with discussion of FSU as “champions of racist mascots”
I did skim the Sons of Confederate Veterans website and agree there are some defensible goals of their organization, but suggest they stick with bumper stickers not a sneaky buy-in from the rest of us.
andand: I was storing this screen capture of the brilliant “South Park” take on the Washington Football Team issue. I edited it slightly to make it a wee bit less offensive, to respectable standards but does not target ethnic groups, I don’t think. I think the overall effect is that South Park is standing with the people who want the sports logo to disappear, despite the fact they are using it here. Will edit if needs be: