Will fans see major changes to high school teams as a result of growing awareness on racist images?
During a time of racial injustice and a call for social reform and a growing awareness of racist images and mascots, professional teams are being asked to reconsider their insensitive team names and mascots. Most prominently, the Washington Redskins are finally considering changing their name after years of pushback against the franchise. Additionally, the Cleveland Indians’ manager spoke out publicly calling for a name change. With these changes, will we see a trickle down effect causing college and even high schools to look deeper into their own history? I believe that movement has already begun in Texas high school football.
In the 2019 season, the Refugio Bobcats were called out for having a racist fight song causing the song to be pulled as the fight song early in the new year. However, this wasn’t the first time a Texas high school fight song was called into question as Midland Lee High School’s “Dixie” was removed in 2017.
Early this summer, Courtney Ratliff began a petition to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Midland. “The world is really opening their eyes to the idea of racial inequality and institutional racism,” Ratliff said. “People are demanding change.”
In June, the Birdville ISD’s board of trustees voted unanimously to remove the Richland High School’s “Rebels” mascot. With this change, the name and all associated images are to be removed. “Our school’s history should be based on people and not divisive symbols,” said board president and 1980 Richland graduate Jack McCarty. They did not say when a new mascot would be announced.
With an increased awareness, could we be seeing more major changes in songs, names, and mascots ahead of or during the 100th season of UIL football?