Time for school’s mascot, colors to go


Photo by Tyler Buzy

The senior class shows their colors during a Friday night football game.

The school’s mascot — a patriot — and colors — red, white and blue — are meant to be symbols of American pride. The patriot represents the soldiers who fought for the army of the colonies in the Revolutionary War. It’s even a mascot for a professional sports team: the New England Patriots, who play right outside of Boston, a key city in America’s earliest days. The colors are on the American flag and staples of the Fourth of July, a celebration of America’s victory in the Revolutionary War.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud of the country you live in. However, ignoring the faults of some of the most famous patriots such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson is not OK. There is a reason why MCPS is considering changing the name of our school, despite Thomas Wootton’s role in the founding of Montgomery County: he was a slave owner just like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many other patriots.

Yes, Wootton’s contribution to our county can be remembered, but his name should not be plastered on the school’s building as a reminder of his cruelty. Similarly, the soldiers who fought for the colonies in the Revolutionary War should be remembered for their positive (and negative) contributions, but a school’s mascot and colors are not the right way of doing so.

Instead of having a divisive mascot, the school should consider changing the mascot to something that is more universally loved — or at least not hated — such as an animal. And while the school colors are not as obviously divisive, they implicitly reference the Revolutionary War and, therefore, slavery.

While the school’s colors may be aesthetically pleasing, there is an underlying meaning and reference — similar to that of a patriot — behind them that society and our school seems to ignore. However, the colors do more than just reference the past; they reference the present, including the injustices that people of color in America are still faced with today.

It may not happen often in liberal Montgomery County, but in other parts of the country, the American flag and patriotism are used to justify racism and intolerance toward refugees and immigrants. The American flag — and therefore the colors red, white and blue — isn’t just a unifying symbol as it may seem to some people. It is a reminder of the unfair and inhumane treatment that people of color have faced in this country ever since its founding.

In Washington, Eastlake High School canceled their 9/11 tribute featuring students dressing up in red, white and blue because of the ceremony’s offense toward some members of their community. If schools in other states are acknowledging the possible offensiveness of the patriotic colors, why hasn’t the school seriously considered altering the school’s colors and mascot to be inclusive and inoffensive for everyone?