Mukwonago An Incubator of Racial Stereotyping


Yes we have no research, we have no research today-ay, we have ignorance, intolerance, and racial bigotry. . . and we won’t tell the community. Yes, we have no research, we have no research today-ay. It’s out there, available, and ready to be known, but we hold back because our minds are closed. Yes, we have no research, we have no research today. . .

To the Tune of Yes We Have No Bananas

300 peer-reviewed scientific psychological research studies tell us that the use of the name “Indian” and a logo featuring a man wearing a headdress precisely like that in Mukwonago High School is patently race-based and promotes racial stereotyping that is damaging psychologically to every single person who is exposed to it. That includes all of the students at Mukwonago High School and the broader community it serves.

The very latest research study conducted by Chu Kim Prieto, Lizabeth A. Goldstein, Sumie Okazaki, and Blake Kirshner entitled “Effect of Exposure to an American Indian Mascot on the Tendency to Stereotype a Different Minority Group” published in March 2010 in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology documents the fact that racial stereotyping outside the racial group being stereotyped by the Indian nickname and logo does occur. This means that an Asian-American student could develop a more stereotypical view of African-Americans and vice versa. It means that the dominant white Euro-American group could increase their racial stereotyping thought processes and perhaps related behaviors toward racial minority groups other than Native-Americans at one and the same time they retain the racial stereotyping of Native-Americans too. As they used to say, “this is a revoltin’ development.” Previous research studies linked to this line of research conclusively demonstrate that the dominant white Euro-American group have their racial stereotypes confirmed and they receive an inflated view of their relative importance toward other minority groups.

This makes Mukwonago High School and the larger community itself where the “hegemonic space” of the dominant group exists, according to research done by Dr. Ezra Zeitler, an incubator for racial stereotyping which is such a contributor to racial intolerance.

It must be supposed that the Mukwonago Area Schools respects research in the field of psychology. They have said to the public in their statement of 8 October 2010 that they accept the research on this subject and they made no qualification to that portion of their statement. The Mukwonago Area Schools maintains a rigorous educational curriculum in the all the major sciences K-12 and with courses and instructors and labs at the High School being prominently featured and utilized. And most of all, they have a record number of students taking both their Psychology and Advanced Placement Psychology courses at the High School. It cannot be argued that the school district or the community refuses to accept the validity of scientific research.

But the community as well as the District has kept the research that should be so disturbing to them at arm’s length. They have hidden it away much as a man or woman does who has a cancer and who knows that the piper must be paid. This refusal to accept the bald fact that every student in the District is affected by exposure to the logo and nickname, as is the entire community, raises up the yawning contradiction between their statement and their behavior to date. Has the community read and studied and become educated on this body of research? Of course they have not, and local officials of all levels and classifications are not stepping forward (with the exception of Superintendent Strobel and Principal McNulty) to lead and educate their community members on the nature of the research, what it says, and what that means for their children and quite candidly for all of us who have contact with the greater Mukwonago community.

Plans may be afoot to rectify this situation but it has been almost three weeks since the 8 October statement of the School District and little or nothing has been done to explain why school officials accept the research and how that will and is informing their decision-making in dealing with the DPI ruling and the racial stereotyping which that governmental body found to be taking place at this very hour in Mukwonago.

Oh yes, we have no research, we have no research today-ay. . .

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2 thoughts on “Mukwonago An Incubator of Racial Stereotyping

  1. Mukwanago should be judged on the quality of education they provide the children. After all, isn’t that what it is all about. If the education they provide is sub-standard, then fire the bad teachers.

    Only after Mukwanago’s children lead the nation, and there is nothing else to do, then let’s start by changing the name of the city which we all know is Indian for bears den. If Mukwanago had a non Indian name, then we could expect that other less inflammatory mascot’s would be in favor. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. If we change the name of Mukwanago to something the would reflect the German and Irish that settled this area, (as in the streets named after the city’s founders) then true healing from the racial bigotry will occur.

    Also, be glad you don’t live in Hurley Wisconsin, home of the Hurley Midgets!

  2. Hey Bro:

    Got your point loud and clear. Quality education is the first thing. But if a student is being harmed, school officials, and the State of Wisconsin, cannot under our law here be indifferent to it.

    It may be different in the State of Illinois where you live. Perhaps there Illinois law puts the quality of education received first and makes the psychologcial and physical safety of students distinctly secondary while they are in the schools receiveing that quality education. One might ask is a quality education available to a student when they feel unwelcome, unsafe, and are being harmed by the environment of the school?

    I agree the Hurley Midgets is a horrible school nickname. I also feel that research or not, having K-12 education use nicknames and symbols of racial or ethnic groups is not a good idea.

    And there is a ton of research in the field of social psychology to back this up. This has developed in just the past eight years but even the two major psychological associations have passed resolutions supporting the research I write of.

    Thanks for your comment. It is well received but I guess I just see it differently here in Wisconsin. As a teacher I do know from 25 years of experience in the classroom that a student who is afraid to be in school for fear of bullying and harassment due to their racial background, or if they feel unwelcome in the place, are going to have a more difficult time.

    You and I are lucky. We are part of the dominant white Anglo-Saxon group in the United States. I just don’t know how the world would look if I were a troubled Native-American kid aged 16 or 17 and trying to like a symbol and nickname that appears to me to disrespect who I am.

    Check out the research references from the many posts here. Let me know what you think about them and the research that is connected to them. I give you some great places to find out more so we can keep the horse in front of the cart!

    And hey, give me a phone call guy. Got to find out how my only brother in this world is doing.

    Best, and standing with you always, Your brother,

    Tom.

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