Students across the country have been protesting “culturally insensitive” language and symbolism in recent months. Many campus liberals have resorted to vandalizing statues of America’s Founding Fathers, claiming they’re nothing more than racist, sexist, slave holders who have no place in modern society. Of course, these leftist crusaders have no regard for the sacrifices our founders made to give us the freedoms we now enjoy. At George Washington University, the school mascot is the Colonial. In the GW student newspaper, one columnist claimed the mascot was racist.
Of course, if American colonists hadn’t fought and died for our freedoms, these students wouldn’t even have the freedom of speech to express their beliefs about the colonists. But that irony is lost on the Left.
Don’t miss GW YAF’s Public Relations Director Allie Coukos’ take on the situation below.
Drawing the Line
By Allie Coukos
“Language matters. So does historical context.” On Oct. 22nd, Nate Muramatsu, a writer for the GW Hatchet, wrote an article outlining the reasons why George Washington University should change the name of “Colonials Invasion,” an annual celebration of our sports teams.
According to Muramatsu, the name itself invokes “centuries of traumatic social exclusion and racism.” However, like Mr. Muramatsu said, historical context does matter. Language does matter. In the context of GW’s Colonials Invasion, Colonials Invasion is literally meant to celebrate GW’s basketball team embarking on their upcoming season.
Colonials Invasion is meant to symbolize the Colonial basketball season. It is meant to symbolize GW’s excitement and anticipation for their upcoming games. This is the context that we should be analyzing the name. The context of this is basketball and about our basketball team. It is not being used in connection to anything else, and we need to understand this.
This is where I come to the greater issue. College students as a whole, as illustrated by Mr. Muramatsu in this article, have exposed the problematic nature of our campuses. Students are becoming increasingly politically correct. Any word, in any context can be deemed offensive. At what point do we draw the line? We draw the line when language is explicitly used as hate speech, like using racial slurs. Never is that acceptable.
However, taking a college preseason pump up event and claiming that it is bringing up “centuries of traumatic social exclusion and racism” is not productive. We cannot actively be seeking out issues with every word, every phrase. By doing this we are inadvertently minimizing the real instances where people are racist. College students need to understand this. Making every issue a race issue does not help one’s case; it can actually hurt it.
George Washington University’s students need to understand that there is a time and a place to fight racial injustice and racial prejudice. That said, a college basketball celebration with no relevance to public policy is not it. This is not an example of insensitive language and ignorance; this is an example of overly sensitive students. Fighting this issue does not make us more socially aware; it illustrates the growing problem of being overly politically correct and that is the issue we should be tackling by now.
Allie Coukos serves on GW YAF’s Executive Board and is a sophomore at GW.