Political correctness — gone too far?

The Radnor Red Raider mascot This is an editorial on Radnor High School’s decision to dump their Red Raider mascot. I found it worthwhile food-for-thought, and since this blog has moved beyond just taxes, I thought I would share. The subject is certainly worth talking about.

In the past week the news media has been rife with reports relating to political correctness. More specifically, television chef Paula Deen lost her job for making racial slurs sometime in the past. Radnor High School has lost its Native American mascot. And now we hear that Kate Gosselin (the famous mother of sextuplets) has been criticized because she once imitated a Geisha.

Reminds us of the to-do in Kennett Square years back when the borough had plans for a statue of hometown hero Herb Pennock squashed because of a rumor relating to how he once referred to black Dodger superstar Jackie Robinson.

But now what is immediately close to home for the folks in southern Chester County is that two schools, Unionville and Octorara, have an Indian and a Brave respectively as their mascots.

What’s going on?

Have political activists in these districts been complaining that descendants of the country’s first inhabitants might be offended that teams have adopted their kin as symbols? We have rarely if ever heard anyone make disparaging comments about the Unionville and Octorara mascots or the people who inspired them.

We were happy to hear Octorara Superintendent Thomas Newcome say candidly that not everyone is entirely happy with the Brave symbol. But we were also quite pleased with his wise handling of the situation. 

First, he said the district aims to honor Native Americans, even to the point of teaching its students in the early grades the acronym for BRAVES: bold, responsible, ambitious, virtuous, energetic and selfless.

He also pointed out that the statue of the Brave in front of the high school is holding a diploma, not a weapon.

I don’t feel anyone should react too harshly to either side of the issue, because I can understand both sides. I certainly do not see anything disrespectful about the Octorara’s Brave, the Coatesville Chief Red Raider, or any other local mascot… but I’m also not a Native American. At the end of the day, I think there are more important issues facing the district.

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