Should team mascots be culturally sensitive? Yes! Of course! But let's get serious! Does anyone really think that school mascots are selected with the desire to mock or ridicule an individual or a particular group? Among the reasons schools sue in the selection of a mascot, you will find characteristics that emulate loyalty, pride, bravery, courage, honor and respect. You will not find the schools looking for some group or individual they would like to debase, demean, or deride.
If a school should be using its mascot in a demeaning manner, then it should be asked to discontinue. However, to honor a great individual or group should not be viewed as insensitivity.
-- WILLIAM FRANK, Kennewick
Let them stay
I respond to whether mascots like Richland and Kamiakin high schools should be changed to "culturally friendly" symbols. I disagree that their mascots are offensive in any way whatsoever. Most school districts in this country honor Native American culture by adopting mascots based on aboriginal people and culture, not to offend them. As for these high schools' symbols, let them stay.
Is the Richland Bombers' symbol offensive? It isn't, nor even threatening, of course.
-- ERICK DIETRICH, Walla Walla
Ask the tribes
Knowing that the "Bombers" refers to the airplane paid for by workers at the Hanford words that helped end the war with Japan, I have no problem with Bombers. "Braves" recognize brave people of the Native Americans who attempted to save their lands from invaders. I do not think that that is offensive in any way.
If the tribes involved want it changed, by all means change it, but if they have no problem with it, then leave it alone. It's their call.
-- DONNA BRISTOL, Kennewick
Taking things too far
I'm probably one of the most liberal guys in the Tri-Cities, but I think that the notion of political correctness with respect to the nicknames of sports teams can be carried a little too far. If a sports nickname is not pejorative, leave it alone. Nicknames like "Braves" and "Bombers" are not derogatory and should not be dropped on that account. Pretty soon, "Yankees," "Vikings," "Rebels," and the like will be on the hit list because they reference some identifiable cultural group. Even the Kiona-Benton High School "Bears," (my favorite high school football team) will be under attack by animal-rights activists.
We have bigger problems to absorb our energy folks, like creating affordable public higher education for our kids and ensuring that everyone has access to decent health care. Focus on those issues, and leave the nicknames alone.
-- ERIC NORDLOF, Kennewick
Change for the better
"Change is the order of the Universe." (John Robinson)
While public school systems address societal changes, we must keep in mind that we are not in business to attack, belittle or demean our constituents, and this is true whether those constituents are from majority groups or from minority groups.
"Should team mascots be culturally sensitive?"
Well, of course they should.
If we educators are not culturally sensitive, we risk becoming irrelevant tyrants, forcing our own belief systems upon the rest of the population.
One problem with doing that, of course, is that ultimately, we are all minorities. Or at the least, we all could become minorities rather quickly.
Consider the dynamics of shifting power centers: Religions, political parties and competing philosophical movements do become the purveyors of the popular myths and opinions that, if unchecked, could undermine individual freedoms -- yours and mine. Schools have an obligation to maintain proper perspectives and balance, and to distinguish between protecting freedoms and projecting a cultural bias against legitimate minorities.
This means that school mascots should be reviewed, along with all the other aspects of education that are being upgraded as a part of ongoing "school reforms."
My former biology teacher John Robinson used to say, "Change is the order of the universe."
Let's make certain that the changes we make are positive, and that we show others the same degree of respect as we expect for ourselves and for our own children.
-- FRANK E. LOCKWOOD (Senior), Richland
Let the teams decide
I don't think those names are culturally insensitive. I seriously doubt there was any harm intended when the names were selected. Some professional sports have changed -- some have not. So, no, they should certainly not have to change names, unless the school students and faculty want to change. Kind of like a girl getting married -- should she change? Totally up to her and her spouse. Lots more important things to spend time and money on.
-- FRED BARTSCH, Richland
I believe this culturally sensitive business (or whatever you call it), is just another control instigated by some bodies that seems to have been shorted on oxygen a little too long at some time in there life. I have had no problem with these mascot names -- why change the squaw fish to a pike minnow? Somebody must stay up late trying to figure out how they can mess over the many by a few. Like I said, short on oxygen at some time.
It's just like our government to get rid of our history in schools again. It must be so we can reinvent the wheel. Anyway, I feel it's way too much government controls.
-- FELIX ANDERSON, Connell
A show of honor
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
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
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.
-- FREDERICK HINGST,Benton City
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
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
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