Friday, October 18, 2013

Do the debate, not the ban.

Let’s begin by saying that having a team called the Redskins is phenomenally stupid.  I’m not going to say that it bothered me when I was younger or that I lose sleep over it now.  But age and wisdom have shown me that besides being a horrid football organization, the Washington Redskins pretty much take the cake on having an offensive name.  I mean, where in the hell can someone flaunt something so disgusting and have absolutely no social repercussions at all?

Oh yeah.  Silly me.   A league that promotes murderers, thugs, and profits off of traumatic brain injury isn’t really going to care about a name.  But whatever.  So it’s offensive.  The league is stupid for putting up with it and all that.

Yeah that.

Ok, now that that’s been cleared up, what’s the problem?

The principal of Woodrow Wilson High School, Pete Cahall, told The Washington Post that he was going to ask the student government to debate a possible ban, after a student told him she found Redskins apparel offensive to Native Americans.

It’s nice that the principal has brought the issue to student government for debate.  These are the kinds of controversial issues that are good for high school students to discuss since their next step is heading out into society and discussing them there.  But a ban?  “Hey that’s offensive, let’s ban it” approaches are not practical in any logical sense (they don’t really exist off campus) and probably have some constitutional problems as well.

I teach primarily Seniors, so I believe that high school should be as close to real world as we possibly can get while promoting an effective learning environment.  This includes the ability to not ban everything that is deemed “offensive” because then you have a “school” that is isn’t like the real world; a school that doesn’t allow people to contribute to the marketplace of ideas that free speech and critical thinking allow.  Good for the principal to create the debate.  But hopefully he really makes the situation a teachable moment by modeling the Constitution. 

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