Friday, May 18, 2012

Speaking of offensive names, drop "The Civil War"

Now that the Oregon Board of Education has demonstrated ethnic sensitivity by ordering the dropping of high school sports mascots variously representing stereotypes of Native Americans, isn't it time the Oregon Board of (allegedly) Higher Education showed the same sensitivity about "The Civil War," the pathetic name of the overheated and much hyped rivalry between Oregon State and the University of Oregon.

If we can mandate the end of the 'Braves," the "Warriors" and the "Indians," we can certainly end "The Civil War," a name which celebrates death, destruction and internal strife without regard to skin color, ethnicity, gender or combat status.

It should offend us all.

Consider the view of Tom Ball, an assistant vice president at the University of Oregon’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, regarding the Native American names.

In a March 8 Oregonian article, Ball, who is a member of the Klamath Tribes, recalled a 1978 incident at Siletz Valley High School, whose mascot is the Warrior. A coach loudly yelled to his players to “kill” their opponents, using an expletive and a pejorative term for Native Americans.

“That’s what this kind of stuff allows,” Ball said. “It builds up over time. Little cuts and big ones. They build up and build up.”

Likewise, this is the kind of "stuff" "Civil Wars" allow. And they too build over time.

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