Two Colorado representatives upset fellow lawmakers this week when they presented a slideshow filled with racist images and slurs at a House Education Committee meeting. Democratic Reps. Joe Salazar and Jovan Melton presented the images in an effort to convince others to vote for a bill that restricts the use of Native American mascots in schools, according to The Denver Post.
The lawmakers projected the slideshow onto statehouse walls. Their aim was to point out the hypocrisy of allowing Native American mascots in schools when other racist images are considered unacceptable, the outlet said.
Below is the slideshow presented by the lawmakers, according to the The Colorado Independent.
WARNING: Video below contains offensive imagery and language.
Not all fellow lawmakers approved of Salazar and Melton’s tactics. Democratic Representative Rhonda Fields told The Huffington Post that she asked them to stop the slideshow because she found it offensive.
“I was offended by how they used the N-word to describe people that look like me,” Fields told HuffPost. “I don’t think those terms have a place in the capitol.”
She continued, “One of my colleagues actually used the actual N-word … with an image of what an ‘N’ would look like, I guess."
At the time, Melton, who is also black, told Fields that he was just as offended by the imagery.
“The point is there’s students who have to go every single day to school and see ‘savages’ or ‘redskins’ or to see some type image that degrades them,” Felton said, according to The Associated Press.
The bill, which passed the committee in a 6-5 vote, would require Native American leaders to give their approval before a school could use a Native American mascot, reports the outlet. If schools do not get approval but continue to use Native mascots, after two years they could face fines of $25,000 a month.
Between 6 and 8 percent of Colorado high schools have Native American mascots, according to a September analysis from FiveThirtyEight.
“The purpose of the bill is to empower the American Indian community in Colorado and let them decide what is and what is not offensive,” Salazar said during the meeting, according to the Colorado Independent.
Representatives who opposed the measure said it was unnecessary.
"It's political correctness gone amuck," Republican Rep. Tim Dore said, according to The Denver Post. "We're talking about schools struggling to make payroll and buy supplies, and this bill would fine schools, which ultimately penalizes the kids."
The bill faces one more vote before another panel before it could be voted on by Colorado’s full house.
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