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October 17, 2013

Cooperstown girls go to Washington to speak on 'R word'

Oneida's 'Change the Mascot' event aimed at NFL team

(Continued)

“The R word is a racial slur,” Borgstrom said. “You can’t get around it.”

At the event, which was held about a mile away from the NFL’s fall meetings, the girls were treated as guests of honor for their efforts at CCS. They acknowledge that they are not always treated that way here.

“There’s been some negativity, but it is not direct,” Borgstrom said. “It is grumbling or behind the scenes stuff. It’s like at games, people still cheer using the R-word. Do they do it a little more often when they see I am near by? Yeah, I feel like they do.”

Added Greenberg, “sometimes it seems like people who I used to be friendly with, don’t smile at me as much, but nobody has been mean to us.”

Contrary to the some early opinions, it was Greenberg and not Borgstrom who initially brought the nickname matter to CCS officials. After a trip in the summer of 2012 to New Mexico, she noticed the reaction of friends of hers who belonged to the Navajo tribe to the school’s nickname. She mentioned it to another Cooperstown friend, Hope Dohner. Dohner, who graduated from CCS in June and is now a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Greenberg then decided to talk to CCS superintendent C. J. Hebert and the Board of Education.

“When they started it, I was not with them,” Borgstrom said. “I was for the change, but I wasn’t involved in it. My father and Mr. Hebert told Emily and Hope that there was going to be a lot of backlash on this. They suggested that Emily and Hope really not say anything so that people didn’t take it out on them.

“I felt like I didn’t have that option,” she continued. “Everyone just assumed it was me, and my father, who started this even though it wasn’t. So for me, my name was already involved. I felt like I could not speak up and have everyone just think I was speaking anyway, or I could go ahead and speak for myself.”

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