Racist names, mascots are harmful to American Indian and Alaska Native youth, says Center for American Progress

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Racist names and mascots can have harmful, negative effects on young American Indian and Alaska Native children, says a new report by the Center for American Progress.

Mascots and names, according to research by the center, help create an “unwelcome and hostile learning environment for American Indian and Alaska Native students” by reinforcing racial stereotypes, give youths low self-esteem and contribute to poor mental health, and divert focus from issues such poverty in those communities.

The report emphasizes the effect the mascots and names have on U.S. students who attend K-12 and postsecondary schools where racist mascots still exist. However, the report also references the recent controversy over the Washington Redskins names.

U.S. representatives and federal judges have lent their voice and names to the backlash over the Redskins name, calling for owner Dan Snyder to change the team's name.

The center recommends local government and federal agencies do more to counter the effects of racist mascots and names such as developing a complaint system or programs to help enforce civil rights protections for American Indian and Alaska Native students.