Fast Focus: Should mascots be culturally sensitive? A show of honor

August 25, 2013 

When a school selects a mascot it is intended to be a symbol representing the best qualities of the school or team. Using Native American names is meant to honor and respect that people and for the students to try and emulate those qualities. Warriors and braves represent those who would fight fiercely and not surrender in battle. Bombers represent a time when we came together to help protect our country. Banning such names is the worst of being politically correct.

-- DON SEBELIEN, Richland

Future choices

I am all in favor of schools being "culturally sensitive" when picking a mascot in the future. But when it comes to changing the team mascot for a school that has had that mascot for 10, 15 or even 50 years? I think that is carrying the sensitivity issue too far. I believe that the public, in general, has carried the political correctness to an extreme and that it is time to call a spade what it is, a shovel.

For future schools, if they wish to use animals as the mascots, I think that is fine. Chiawana Riverhawks, Pasco Bulldogs, Kennewick Lions -- all of those make an excellent mascots. But what if PETA took offense to the use of animals for mascots. What are you going to wind up with. The Pasco Bricks? Kennewick Plastics? Some inanimate object that won't offend anyone. Culturally sensitive? Enough is enough.

-- ED KENNELLY, Richland

Sensible, not sensitive

I ran some sports teams through my head:

Pirates, Blue Devils, Chiefs, Celtics, Vikings, Braves, Irish, Indians, Cowboys, Padres, Saints, Angels, and on and on.

I found none I would consider "culturally" relevant. They were just names.

If someone or some group is offended by the name of a sports team, of course we should be sensitive. We should be sensitive to everything.

Mascots have no ability to be sensitive or insensitive. People do.

If PETA folks are offended by the Bulldogs, Huskies, Cougars, or ... Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my.) I suppose we should be sensitive to that as well. But not enough to change the names.

I noticed a while ago that a local school changed from the Chiefs to the Eagles. I don't know when or why. It's still Chief Joseph school.

Certain logos and fan behavior do occasionally offend me. Not a big deal.

I would be honored if someone used me or mine as a mascot, (unless they were always losing,)

I guess maybe I'll get it when I read some other opinions on this page.

-- FRED FLEMING, Richland

Simply, no

The name were not chosen to be disrespectful to anyone in any way. Those who take offense should not be so thin-skinned as to think it is intended to be harmful or disrespectful to any creed, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation. It is a name, that is all.

The names are entrenched in the community and should not be changed. I think we, as a society, have placed too much emphasis on being sure we are politically correct so as to not offend anyone. Get a grip!

Just like the little old lady from Richland that has decided due to her beliefs and values that she and her shop will not provide flower service to a gay wedding. Get over yourself and go buy flowers elsewhere. Don't become a martyr for your beliefs and sue her or force her to follow your belief. Get over it!

-- DON TAYLOR, Kennewick

Why the fuss

I believe there is too much sensitivity in general going around these days. The schools mentioned have had their particular mascots for some time. One might ask, who is now asking if the mascot's names are sensitive and why after so long?

As long as the mascot's name is not derogatory, then it should be allowed. In the case of Richland Bombers and Kamiakin Braves, neither is derogatory.

-- DOUG MACABRE, Kennewick

Worry about real problems

Life's journey has taught me through bumps and bruises what Mom advised me as a kid, "Don't criticize someone until you have walked a mile in his shoes." I have tried that on occasion and ended up with sore feet. I couldn'' even try to walk in those stilt walkers the ladies force their feet into these days.

However, as an old, fat, bald, white guy that has been blamed for many of society's ills, I have become about as sensitive as a toilet seat when I hear complaints about things like team mascots.

When I see evidence that my sensibilities over where the nation's tax dollars are going, is resolved, I may be able to spend a bit more time renaming the mascots as the "Feather Dusters" or the "Water Balloons." Or, animal names like the "Richland Rodents" or the "Kamiakin Clams." Go Clams!

-- DONN SCHELL, Kennewick

Proud to be a Bomber

This question isn't about school mascots being culturally sensitive, it's about our society as a whole being sensitive or culturally sensitive about anything and everything that crosses a person's mind or eyesight. I am proud to be a Richland Bomber alumni. Many of my friends growing up were of Asian descent ... including Japanese ... and I can attest to this day that not one of them or their families ever had a problem with attending or supporting the Bombers.

I'm hesitant to express the forthcoming opinion, but here it goes. Watch out fellow Americans, the day will come when the question of "should we continue to proudly fly the American flag because of cultural sensitivity" will be raised.

As a proud veteran and a proud American, I will be damned if I am forced to stop being who I am because of cultural sensitivity. I have the utmost respect for other races, cultures and religions, but why should I change my ways or right to display my beliefs because of cultural sensitivity?

In closing, think about this fellow Tri-Cities, if we ban mascots such as Bombers or Braves then I ask that religious churches not be allowed to turn our public schools into worship halls or churches on the weekends. Who is footing the bill to run that school on the weekends? Did our school leadership rent out our children's school for religious purposes? Hello separation-of-church-and-state people. Schools can't say the Pledge of Allegiance and if they do, God must be left out but on the flip side we rent out (or however that works) to believers of God.

Our country is in shambles and I hope someday I'll know what it's truly like to live the American Dream, but one thing is for certain, I always have and always will be a Richland Bomber!

-- EVAN GOLDSMITH, Richland/Kennewick

Let's be reasonable

No. A reasonable person understands that team mascots were selected to honor the past and represent the future in a very positive way. They were selected as a source of pride to represent schools and teams, by providing a unique identity that students and community members could rally around during spirited competition and events. There was no ill intent when selecting mascots and therefore, here should be no reason to change. In fact, I would think that Chief Kamiakin would likely be on the sidelines rooting on the Braves if he were still around. I think he would be proud to know his spirit and the heritage of his people was still going strong.

-- ED YOUNG, Kennewick

Continue the tradition

Let's just allow well-established high schools to continue with their traditions. A professional sport has made this argument before. Will taxpayers have to pay for new uniforms and equipment?

Considering the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins in years past, we have resisted going down that road on a national level.


Promoting the good

It seems to me that people are so busy looking for something that offends them that they overlook the historic and cultural value of the use of names like these in the community. "Bombers" can be used to have more than one meaning and it certainly has meaning for the many people in Richland the contributed to ending WWII. Braves pay homage to the local tribes: to the activities of the native peoples and also is a symbol of steadfastness that is an asset to one's life. So, why discontinue their use as a teams name.

-- ERNIE TODD, Pasco

Too PC

People are getting too sensitive. Everyone is trying to be politically correct and it's all a pile of dirty rotten papers.

-- EARLEENE PERKINS, College Place

Trivial matter

I think today's society is getting so political correct that it is about to shut us down! I went to a high school in Oregon that were the Indians. Both the town and school were named for an Indian tribe and had never had any complaints from the Indians, we had to wait for white politicians to hear a complaint. It seems to me that the paper said that before Kamiakin started that they talked to the Indians and were assured it was OK so why are we so worried now?

It is so silly that our state that is having money problems is now going through all of our laws and taking any trace of human gender out such as penMANship! When will we stop trying to find new things to complain about and try to fix the real problems we have?

-- GENE WALLACE, Richland

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