Mas­cot change: Progress or plain, sim­ple pop­py­cock?

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE - LAURA HUBER Fayet­teville

I grew up in Fayet­teville. It was a small town back in 1966 when I started first grade at Root El­e­men­tary School. I re­mem­ber my mother telling me that by the time I started high school, we would have two in Fayet­teville. Ob­vi­ously, that never hap­pened. Fayet­teville wasn’t and still isn’t ready to di­vide our city, mak­ing half of our teenagers Bull­dogs and the other half some­thing else. In­stead, what we have is one huge high school as large as some small col­leges. Progress?

Last week, I heard a Ra­may stu­dent had filed a com­plaint stat­ing that the school’s mas­cot was of­fen­sive to her. Later, I heard that the school board was go­ing to set up a com­mit­tee to de­cide whether to change the mas­cots of our two beloved ju­nior high schools and a 50-year-plus tra­di­tion of (in­no­cent) ri­valry be­tween the Wood­land Cow­boys and the Ra­may In­di­ans. I wasn’t con­cerned: I knew the cit­i­zens of Fayet­teville weren’t will­ing to have any stu­dent at­tend­ing high school in our city be­come any­thing but a Fayet­teville Bull­dog. The idea that the Fayet­teville school board would even con­sider do­ing away with our beloved Cow­boys and In­di­ans was un­fath­omable to me. Po­lit­i­cal Cor­rect­ness?

As a stu­dent of Amer­i­can his­tory, I am not in­sen­si­tive or un­aware of the his­tory of west­ward ex­pan­sion or the de­struc­tion of na­tive peo­ples and their cul­tures in the United States. I also un­der­stand that his­tory shapes cul­ture. Ra­may and Wood­land were given mas­cots that re­flected the the cul­ture of the day. It was a good cul­ture. A cul­ture of Satur­days spent watch­ing Dis­ney movies and west­erns at the Ozark Theater, evenings spent with our fam­i­lies watch­ing “Bo­nanza,” “Gun­smoke” and “Andy Grif­fith” and sum­mer days play­ing Kick the Can, Cops and Rob­bers, and Cow­boys and In­di­ans with the neigh­bor­hood kids. Life was sim­ple then. Some­how, we un­der­stood that we were more the same than dif­fer­ent. We knew that not ev­ery­one makes the team, that teach­ers were to be re­spected and our par­ents were to be obeyed.

I can’t think of any­thing wrong with con­tin­u­ing a tra­di­tion that re­flects a purer, sim­pler time. To me, de­stroy­ing more than 50 years of Fayet­teville’s his­tory and tra­di­tion is not pro­gres­sive or in­clu­sive. It’s pop­py­cock!

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