Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Iconoclasm, Redskins, School Board, Lancaster, NY

Iconoclast: a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions; a destroyer of images.

Censorship: the practice of officially examining content and suppressing parts therein.

Offend: cause to feel annoyed, or resentful.
Offended: annoyed as a result of a perceived insult.

Being offended is a choice.
There is no guaranteed right that protects a citizen from being offended.
There are plenty of valuable traditions that certain citizens find offensive, and we should maintain them.

In 1948, the uninspiring name Lancaster Maroons was officially changed to the valiant Lancaster Redskins. 

On March 16, 2015, operating under the guidance of outside "politically correct" iconoclasts at the University of Buffalo, Lancaster, NY school board members voted to eliminate the Redskins mascot name.

By arbitrarily declaring Redskins a "racial slur," supporters of the change can now accuse their opponents of racism. 
Labeling people who disagree with them as "racist" is a misguided attempt at moral equivalency. 

Redskins is a name of honor for the early warriors of this land.
These Indians, proud members of the Iroquois Confederacy, did not have red skin. 
They did coat themselves with fierce red war paint and clay before battle; hence the name.

No school names their athletic teams out of slander or disrespect. 

The thought reform police organized a Two-Minute Hate Cultural Revolution to implement their iconoclasm by distorting the etymological lexicon of the proud word Redskins.   
The Lancaster school board at the behest of district Superintendent Michael Vallely, voted to strike the name in a glaring violation of due process. 
Due process is the bedrock of American law as it deals with representative legislatures. 

Do we really want the State University of New York at Buffalo dictating from central control what is best for our local community without the residents having their say?

Fortitude, character, and knowledge will defeat these elitist iconoclasts. 
Our most effective recourse resides at the ballot box...
Lancaster Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli supports the Redskins name and favors a referendum on the issue.

Two anti-Redskins members, Buchert and Nowak, will be up for re-election on May 19, 2015

Pro-Redskins Lancaster school board candidates:
Brenda Christopher
Kelly Hughes Depczynski

Lancaster, NY school board members and when their term expires:

Kenneth Graber, President
Term Expires: June 30, 2016
"Do you really have to ask?  Because of what happened at the last meeting... It is because of the near riot conditions that happened two meetings ago."
Patrick Uhteg, Vice President
Term Expires: June 30, 2017

“I’m trying to represent a different perspective because yours is informed and based upon history and personal experience and mine is not."

Wendy Buchert
Term Expires: June 30, 2015

Bill Gallagher
Term Expires: June 30, 2016

Marie MacKay
Term Expires: June 30, 2017

Kimberly Nowak
Term Expires: June 30, 2015
“You’ve given me [an example of] a young man who doesn’t want to come to our school...
It’s a bit overwhelming to understand what it [Redskins] means to you when it clearly hasn’t had that impact on the rest of us.”

Michael Sage
Term Expires: June 30, 2017
“There’s children who are native who may not be seen as native because of the images we use.  As we educate, and the stigma of using the ‘r-word’ is [just] as bad in all people’s eyes, people will change. There’s an opportunity cost to continue down the road of using the ‘r-word.’”
There is no such thing as a consequence free environment...


Summer of 2014, Lancaster school board president Kenneth Graber contacted Alvin Parker, Seneca activist, to contribute to the Redskins debate.

UB's undue influence is represented by the five guests invited by Superintendent Vallely to the 1/21/2015 Lancaster Board of Education "work session."
Board President Kenneth Graber noted that he and Vallely did not ask questions during the session because they had spoken with the guests prior to the meeting.

Donald Grinde Jr., Professor of transnational studies:  “Well, I’d like you to call me a Redskin.  [No?]  I’ve talked to the owner [of Washington, D.C.’s NFL team] and asked him to do that, and he refused, actually.”
Board member Uhteg's response: “You think the fact that they won’t is telling and speaks to what’s inside them rather than what is popular opinion or their developed opinion.  I think that’s very interesting, and when you asked me to call you that, I wouldn’t call you that. Why do you think that is the case? Do you think there’s something inside me that’s saying this is wrong?”

Hillary Weaver, co-director of the Immigrant and Refugee Research Institute:  “I would say it’s more than an offensive term. I would say it’s a racist term.  This is racist, this is wrong and as an educational leader, I think this is an opportunity to stand up and say no.”

John Kane, First Voices Indigenous Radio Network:  “I suspect that there are students here that are thinking, how is the ‘r-word’ different than the ‘n-word’?  It isn’t.  When you boil it down to something like skin, that’s where both words come from.”

John Kane is a convicted arsonist who spent two years in jail.
Vallely and Graber knew this before they invited him...

Alvin Parker, Six Nations committee chairman:  “Supporting oppressive rituals and practices because they are traditional and popular is no more appropriate than supporting slavery, sexual harassment and discriminatory hiring practices.  Stereotyping assaults the principles of justice.”
Board member MacKay's response:  "We need to as a community, as a board, as a school district be educated so we can make the right decision."

Al Jamieson, heads Nekanęhsakt, an organization of Indigenous allies and Neto, an organization of Indigenous artists.
[[Jamieson has been actively fighting the city of Buffalo to change the name of Squaw Island (Squ*w as she types it - the "s" word) and on 2/20/2015 Mayor Brown announced that indeed, "Squ*w" Island's name will be changed to Ga'nigö:i:yoh (ga-knee-GO-ee-yoh). 
This is who UB/Vallely brought to pressure the Lancaster board of education.]]

January 2015, published in the Lancaster Bee:
Kenneth Graber of the Lancaster School Board will soon occupy a seat on the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency.
Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli was seeking to remove the appointment of Graber.
Fudoli argued that Graber’s educational background did not make him well-equipped to serve on the IDA.
“I see it as rather disturbing that we are putting in people who are underqualified or not qualified,” said Fudoli, who also serves on the IDA.

February 26, 2015:
"Because blood would pour from the scalps of the slaughtered Native men, women and children, and drench their faces and now lifeless bodies, thus turning their skin red, early United States citizens began embracing the term “redskin” for all Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. The term implied that, eventually, all living Native peoples would be nothing but a “redskin” – a lifeless, blood covered, piece of bounty.
This all too common piece of hate speech now “inspires pride” in alumni and current students of Lancaster High School, whose slogan, “Once a Redskin, Always a Redskin”, says it all."
-Jody Lynn Maracle, PhD graduate student of the University at Buffalo's Transnational Studies Department, acts as a facilitator for Nekanehsakt: Friends of Ekwehewe, and is a contributor to Two Row Times.  Jody believes Columbus Day is a celebration of racist genocide.

March 3, 2015, Vallely/UB/BOE work session...

March 9, 2015, BOE public meeting...

March 11, 2015, Jody Lynn Maracle, PhD Student at the UB, facilitator for Nekanehsakt:
"In his response to Christopher’s questions regarding the uneven table numbers, Dr. Vallely, the Lancaster Superintendent of schools, quickly rattled off statistics of the evening’s registrants included the fact that only 28% of registrants were “pro-mascot” while 58% were “anti-mascot,” the rest being undecided. While 100% of those marked “undecided” or “anti-mascot” appeared at last week’s working group, up to 30% of those in support of the mascot did not attend resulting in lopsided numbers at the working group tables."
[Many Redskins supporters were not permitted access to the event.] 
Jody Maracle: Lancaster is the last outpost of outdated racism... "save the tradition" paints Lancaster residents as dangerously fanatical.


April 1, 2015 The Buffalo News:
Beth Kwiatek, adjunct instructor for the Women’s Studies program at the University at Buffalo, where she taught a course titled “Radical Whiteness: Invitation to Responsibility.”
Not a single article in The Buffalo News addressed the real story behind the “Redskins” debacle.  While several were insightful – oppressors seeing themselves as victims, the need for educational forums, voter and economic backlash, insensitive and out-of-touch suburbanites – not one article wrote about the power that comes with being white (1).
Instead of teaching our students “the other side of the story” or “the right thing to do,” let’s teach our kids the real story – the story of whiteness (2).  To be white and have white privilege (3) is to stand up in a room full of people, look directly into the eyes of brown-skinned people and tell them what is and what is not racism. White people (4) can ignore history. White people (5) can ignore experts. White people (6) can ignore their neighbors.
Using cultural sensitivity training as a means to address racism is misguided and does not work.  Just ask Al Parker, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation representative who addressed mascot supporters and stated, “It is not an honor.”  Or News columnist Rod Watson; he repeatedly gets criticized when he writes anything about race.  The problem with multiculturalism and pluralism is that they present all cultures as equal. Whiteness (7) is then seen as ethnicity.
This is a distortion. Whiteness (8) is not a culture or an ethnicity. People who are white (9)do not identify as white (10), unless they are in front of someone who is not white (11). It exists only in the presence of non-whiteness (12).  Whiteness (13) is a relationship. And it is a relationship of power.
Multiculturalism has taught the students of Lancaster (and Fox News) to believe that when they are asked to stop using racist language, they can argue, “What about our culture or our history?”
The power of privilege allows the supporters of “Redskins” to argue that the word can be a racial slur, but in this moment it is not.  In other words, to be white (14) is to assert that ugly, insulting and racist slurs can be separated from their intention, history or definition.
Everyone agrees that racism exists, but no one admits to being the offender.  Well, what is racism but that practice of white power and privilege (15)?  To be white (16) is to believe that you have the right to speak, be heard and be counted at all times.  To be white (17) is to believe that you can hide behind your ethnicity, gender or poverty to dismiss the voice of non-whites (18), disparage political correctness and even distort reality with claims of reverse racism.
It is time to educate our youth and community about how we all use, take advantage of, benefit and even encourage and promote the mantle of white power and privilege (19).

April 4, 2015, published in The Lancaster Sun:
 "...the committee has decided to honor the entire Lancaster Board of Education for the courage and wisdom it displayed in determining that the current mascot was harmful to the Native American population.  At a time in our society when few organizations actually stand up for what is right, the Lancaster Board of Education stood out in its resolve.
What the Lancaster Board of Education has done under your leadership and that of your outstanding superintendent, Michael Vallely, is to reinforce the dignity of all humans regardless of their backgrounds..."
-Robert W. Christmann, WNYSE executive director in a letter to Board President Kenneth Graber


On April 30 at Salvatore's Italian Garden the Western New York Educational Service Council WNYESC will present the entire Lancaster School Board with a 2015 Award of Excellence.

WNYESC is part of and located at the University of Buffalo's Graduate School of Education.  
WNYESC is a chartered institution under the Regents of the State of New York.


Lancaster School District Policy #7552 is now being cited as reason for Redskins retaliation...
Students are expected to behave, and to treat all students, teachers, school staff and others, with honesty, tolerance, respect, courtesy and dignity as per the LCSD Policy #7552 — Bullying in the Schools. Students should respect their peers, teachers, and school staff. Individual behavior should not interfere with the rights of others. Students are expected to use language that is appropriate in demonstrating respect for self and others. Profanity, vulgar language including, but not limited to, racial comments, and/or obscene gestures toward others will not be tolerated. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
What disciplinary action will be taken if a student wears a Washington Redskins shirt under #7552?
Would a student organized field trip to the December 20 Buffalo Bills game be violation of #7552?
Is a school celebration of Columbus Day a violation of #7552?


May 11 Meet the Candidates forum.

I have resided in Lancaster for 47 years and know what it is to pay taxes. The Superintendent of our schools brought in John Kane, a convicted felon. He was surprised as were the board members were with certified copies of his conviction and how much time he did in jail. Are you running for the board right now strong enough to stand up and say that it is not appropriate to bring in a convicted criminal to our schools?

Mrs. Buchert:
Yes, we (BOE) did receive that information.
A felon as an activist…what he did 25 years ago is not relevant now. No child was involved (in the felony) and there’s no reason for him not to come to the school. He did not have any involvement with the children here. It was an adult forum and to bring up something that happened 25 years, he did the crime and he did the time. It was in the past and is irrelevant today.

Mrs. Nowak:
Am I strong enough? That is n interesting question because after what I have been through since March I can take on anything. Dr. Vallely does not intimidate me in any way. If I have to tell him hands down what I think, I don’t have an issue with that. I stood up to 18,000 households; he’s just one of them.


May 19, 2015: Nowak and Buchert defeated...