In the Washington Redskins' fight agains the perception that their mascot, a racist caricature and slur, is a racist caricature and slur, they have enlisted the aid of various high schools around the nation who use the same mascot, mostly to act as a shield. This has been the defense for about a week, and it keeps getting dumber and dumber. Previously, we've noted a commonality between the articles on the Redskins website about the Redskins mascot: they tend to use the word pride a lot, as if repeating it will, ahem, ward off bad spirits. Well, here's another commonality: They quote coaches, ADs, and principals, but never students.
There may just be a reason for that (aside from the fact that this sort PR pablum is likely thrown together with quotes from a lone phone interview): Kids, the ones at these schools wearing the name on their chest, might be less inclined to support the name than older generations. That's the case at Cooperstown High in New York, where a student vote banished the Redskins name earlier this month, and the complaints of the alumni assocation couldn't bring it back.
The Oneota Daily Star reports that both school administrators and students had called for the change.
[District Board of Ed. President David] Borgstrom said students have come forward to relate specific conversations with people unfamiliar with the school. When the issue of the school mascot nickname came up, he said, the students said they felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.
The students voted to drop the name, and the district's board of education called an open meeting to discuss the change and potential replacement names.
More than 100 people attended the meeting, including more than a dozen students. Many alumni also attended, and several spoke out against the name change. Some alumni said they felt like they had not been consulted on the issue.
"This needs to be a discussion," Cooperstown alumni association president Ryan Miosek said. "Speaking for the alumni association, we feel this has not been discussed with us, but this has been dictated to us."
The Daily Star reports that the only current students to speak at the forum were in favor of changing the mascot. So why get your back up about the change if the current students are for it? Pride, baby. Inchoate, wounded pride:
"I want to show you this," Kate Evans said as she walked around to the board members while holding a Redskin flag and showing them buttons from Cooperstown sports teams that featured pictures of her sons Ryan, Grant and Jay Davine. "These are my Redskins. My pride in being a Redskin is intact, and my pride in my children is intact."
Now that the name is changing, Evans has announced plans to no longer be proud of her children. Sad.
Some of the proposed alternatives, among which the school board will decide shortly: Coyotes, Deer Slayers, Hawkeyes, Hawks, Hunters, Leatherstockings, Pioneers, Red Hawks and Wolves. Deer Slayers is good, but we vote Leatherstockings. The uniforms pretty much design themselves.