A number of years ago, I gave a pair of speeches to the City Council and the School Board on the topic of ending offensive names at centers of public education. Originally, this complaint was limited to schools named after Confederates. However, after a suggestion from then-City Councilmember Sue Lovell, I began campaigning for HISD to rename offensive mascot names. The most infamous of these names is the athletic mascot of Lamar High School, the “redskins.”
The tremendously offensive slur for Native Americans has added insult since the namesake of the school, Mirabeau Lamar (a former President of the Republic of Texas), who made a point of working towards the “extinction” of Indians during his tenure as President. It is like having a disparaging term for African-Americans be the mascot name of Jefferson Davis High School.
Anyways, the School Board ultimately took no action on the subject, and sent me back one of the most patronizing letters I think I have ever read. Among the many unsubstantiated claims in the letter was that the term “Redskin” was chosen with “honor and respect.” The allegation is so preposterous that it does not deserve a response.
That is why it gladdened me to see Houston Chronicle columnist Randy Harvey come out in favor of changing the name to something –anything– less offensive.