What Steve Harvey says.
It is time for the Lamar High School Redskins to change their nickname.
It actually is past time.
A good time would have been 15 years ago. According to a 1999 article in the Houston Press, Kenyon Weaver, a Lamar senior, began a campaign the year before to change the nickname.
His impetus was a vacation he took the previous summer to Santa Fe, N.M. When he started to don his Redskins sweatshirt, his mother, a University of Houston professor, counseled him against it, warning him the name would offend many of the city’s American Indian residents.
Upon returning to school, Weaver used his position as a member of the Lamar student senate to place a referendum before students.
“The only decent thing to do – the only worthy cause – was the Lamar Redskins,” Weaver told the Press.
After heated debate, students overwhelmingly voted to remain Redskins, although Weaver said his effort was sabotaged by school officials when students were told they would have to pay for the expense of changing the lo
To an extent, Lamar officials have acknowledged the nickname is wrong by disassociating the school from virtually everything about it except the nickname itself.
There is little evidence at Lamar that the school mascot remains Redskins, starting with the elimination of the mascot. It was a big-toothed, big-nosed, diaper-clad artificial statue called Big Red that was trotted out at sports events.
Any new teams, groups or awards will be known simply as Lamar. Drill team members are known as Rangerettes.
Give the school credit for doing a lot to right its wrong. But it hasn’t done as much as some. According to Capital News Service, 62 high schools in 22 states are known as Redskins while 28 high schools in 18 states dropped the nickname within the last 25 years.
Principal James McSwain, who was in the same role when Kenyon Weaver was a student, said recently if Lamar were a new school choosing a nickname that it wouldn’t be Redskins.
So why not take the obvious next step and officially drop the nickname? There’s no dispute that it’s offensive. The school isn’t using it anyway. I’m sure there will be some fuss among alumni if this were to be proposed, but I’m not saying the historical record needs to be rewritten. Past teams that won memorable games as the “Lamar Redskins” can and should remain such. But going forward, the path is clear. If the school hasn’t been using the nickname anyway in recent years, I doubt the current students will care very much. Just put out a statement saying that Lamar High School will no longer employ the nickname “Redskins” and be done with it. If the principal won’t do it, then HISD ought to consider getting involved, as surely this is not in line with the district’s non-discrimination policies. This should not be a dilemma for anyone. Just do what’s right.