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ACLU Letter Asks Michigan Walmart To Stop Stocking “Redskins” Merchandise

Walmart Sign
Walmart Supercenter Paw Paw

The ACLU of Michigan wants a Michigan Walmart store to stop selling merchandise using the word “Redskins.”

The organization sent a letter on Wednesday to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. It says the store in Paw Paw, Michigan stocks items using the local high school’s mascot – the Redskins -- and requests that the store pull those items from shelves.

ACLU civil rights attorney Mark Fancher says doing so would make a statement “that the corporation does not stand behind that type of racism and would not participate in it.” 

“This will, in our view, help to bring home the fact that most people of goodwill do not support the use of a racial slur to identify the athletic team of a high school,” he said.

Fancher says the sale of those items contributes to a hostile racial environment in Paw Paw.

“If Walmart does take a stand,” he said, “then we think that will help to communicate to the people who live in Paw Paw that not everyone shares the belief that this type of racism is acceptable.”

Fancher says his organization is not considering taking legal action against Walmart. But he says the ACLU has documented numerous incidents in Paw Paw’s school district that indicate a hostile racial atmosphere. Those could be used to build federal and state civil rights cases against the district.

Walmart has not returned a request for comment.

Jake Neher is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He covers the State Legislature and other political events in Lansing.
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