Are the Cooperstown Redskins behind times for not having changed their nickname? Some might think so.
The Crier reported in January 2002 that Cooperstown Central School was the only district left in the state still using Redskins as its nickname, according to a list compiled by the state Education Department.
The use of American Indian team names, mascots, logos and other imagery has been a controversial issue for quite some time. Some people view changes to these as a long-overdue response to offensive stereotypes; others view it as political correctness run amok. Either way, the issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon. And Cooperstown will probably not be the last to hold onto its American Indian related moniker.
This is not the first time the issue has come up at CCS. It was reviewed in 2002 with no action taken.
In an address to seventh- through 12th-graders last Thursday, Board of Education President David Borgstrom called for a change in the district’s nickname. He said, “Times are changing. Our culture continues to evolve. Some of you were firsthand witnesses to the second inauguration of the first African-American president in our nation’s history. Locally, we have been through much in the last four years. CCS has made significant efforts to recognize change, diversity, cultural sensitivity, character and leadership.”
Borgstrom said it has troubled him for some time that the school recognizes the importance of this character education, has made a commitment to it, and espoused a need for cultural sensitivity, while supporting a school nickname that is the antithesis of this philosophy.
“What would the board of education response be, if ever asked to justify our commitment to cultural sensitivity education and the nickname ‘Redskins?’” he asked. “If any of you came before the board and asked this of us, I would have no reasonable response.”