The school’s current mascot is the Trojans, but a committee consisting of students, staff, and community members arrived at the evergreens as the new mascot of what’s now called Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, the Portland Tribune reported.
“Evergreens are characterized by the life-giving force of their foliage, the strength of their massive trunk, and the depth of their roots — in an individual tree and as a forest of trees,” Ellen Whatmore, a teacher at the high school and mascot committee member, read from a resolution, according to the Tribune. “They provide shelter and sustenance. They have histories that preclude us and will continue in perpetuity after we are no more.”
But the outlet said that just prior to last Tuesday’s vote by the Portland Public Schools Board of Education to approve the new mascot, Director Michelle DePass shared community concerns that evergreens could connote lynching — particularly since new namesake Wells-Barnett was a black activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote about and spoke against lynching.
“I’m wondering if there was any concern with the imagery there, in using a tree … as our mascot?” DePass asked the renaming and mascot committee, the Tribune noted. “I think everyone comes with blind spots, and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot.”
School Principal Filip Hristic told the board that “we take this seriously, and I definitely want to follow that commitment to protect, preserve, and promote the legacy of Ida B. Wells,” adding that the committee hadn’t spoken to the Wells-Barnett family specifically about the mascot, the outlet reported.
“The focus and opportunity was really to marry this sentiment that we heard from a lot of our stakeholders during our naming process, which was the desire for a local connection,” Hristic said, according to the Tribune. “Ida B. Wells was somebody who stood strong and stood proud against what Woodrow Wilson and many others promoted.”
Martin Osborne — who is black and is one of the committee members — said the group discussed the potential lynching connection between Wells-Barnett and evergreen trees “but we were looking at the symbolism more as a tree of life than a tree of death. You could certainly take it either way, depending upon your position,” the outlet reported.
Osborne added that the evergreen choice “had nothing to do with the horrible history of lynching in the United States,” the Tribune noted.
“Lynching trees typically are not evergreens,” he also said, according to the outlet.
I have obtained a copy of all the materials regarding the sudden new threat of “Extremism” used for training in the United States military. Throughout the services, service members have been shocked at the Biden blitz to root out ideas and people who stand in the way of the administration’s transformative agenda.
One individual in the training told me, “The military is one of the last institutions left that hasn’t been radicalized by the progressives. That’s why it is being targeted now.”
All personnel are being subjected to a PowerPoint presentation packed with progressive ideology and misstatements of the Constitution. Designated officers are conducting the training on bases, stations, and ships at sea. The slides contain misstatements of the law and warped characterizations of fellow citizens who believe in constitutional principles.
The document crafted by the Pentagon for the Navy is called “Extremism Stand Down – Commander Engagements With All Service Members. Discussion Guide 19FEB21.” I have obtained both the slides shown to service members and the training guide for the officers presenting the training.
“Extremism in the Ranks” is a capitalized proper noun in the document.
“The Navy’s leadership plays a significant role in preventing Extremism in the Ranks, particularly in the creation and sustainment of command climates which discourage and hold accountable such behavior and promote a culture of respect, trust and professionalism in the Force.”
Alexi McCammond, the newly hired and already fired editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, a publication that teaches teenage women about the joys of promiscuous lifestyles and anal sex, was forced to resign after “racist” tweets she wrote in 2011 resurfaced. McCammond, a woman of color, made allegedly racist statements against Asians in the decade old tweets.
In one 2011 tweet, McCammond wrote, “Outdone by Asian. #Whatsnew.” In another, she wrote, “Now Googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes…” In a third, McCammond mused, “Give me a 2/10 on my chem problem, cross out all of my work and don’t explain what I did wrong… thanks a lot stupid Asian TA [teaching assistant]. You’re great.”
Despite the tweets being a decade old, and despite McCammond herself being a black woman, this warranted a media frenzy that ultimately resulted in her early departure from Teen Vogue, despite a public apology from McCammond.
“I should not have tweeted what I did and I have taken full responsibility for that,” wrote McCammond. “I wish the talented team at Teen Vogue the absolute best moving forward. Their work has never been more important, and I will be rooting for them.”
Bill Maher made an interesting point on his show last Friday, arguing that America’s obsession with political correctness is crippling its institutions, leaving the country hobbled in the geopolitical race with China. That’s an accurate assessment, one that also tasks the defenders of cultural sanity with resisting wokeness while not getting bogged down by trivialities at the cost of basic efficiency.
That’s an impossible balance to strike. Despite the left’s false but emergent narrative that conservatives are foolishly and disproportionately obsessed with the culture war, I’d contend the response is largely proportionate. That isn’t to say flashpoints like the fight over Dr. Seuss are never milked or depicted inaccurately by some. Of course they are.
But it’s clear that ignoring and conceding perceivably small battles like, for instance, six Dr. Seuss books or Mr. Potato Head is what empowers the left’s culture warriors to take control of everything. By dismissing flare-ups of insanity on college campuses or in the legacy media, leftists normalized their radical new standards before the public even saw it coming. It’s like the metaphor of the boiling frog. Death by a thousand cuts.
Standards are set in the small dust-ups. The legacy press covers them from the left, then corporations and government institutions respond to the pressure, sometimes convinced the cost-benefit analysis suggests it’s easier to roll over. But rolling over sets the standards, and the standards are unjust.
But those standards are also now the ones by which we’re forced to live, lest we face social and professional consequences for alleged bigotry. Bear in mind that workers without the financial means of a canceled celebrity or journalist are hurt most by those rigid strictures of cancel culture, forced to violate their consciences or suffer financial consequences for perceived transgressions.