A local university professor and psychologist applauded the Lancaster School District's decision to change its mascot name, dropping the controversial "Redskins" moniker.
Wendy Quinton, a University at Buffalo clinical assistant professor of psychology, says the research is clear: When people are exposed to Native American mascots, studies show the effects are only negative.
Among Native Americans in high school and college, it is associated with lowered self-esteem, lowered sense of community and makes them believe they have less options in the future, and among white students, she says it is related to negative and not positive stereotyping of Native Americans.
Moreso she says the research shows students exposed to Native American mascots are more likely to stereotype all people.
"I think what we want to put forward is the idea that we're going to see people and see diversity and value diversity and these macots unfortunately don't do it. No matter how well-intended they are, they have negative effects for Native Americans and for everyone else as well," Quinton said.
Quinton says Lancaster set a wonderful example for their students holding public forums and involving both sides.
She says allowing the students to drive the decision for a new mascot should help the entire community heal, but she cautions against the district choosing any other kind of Native American imagery, adding this is an opportunity for the name to reflect the community.