It occured to me as I was calling the Essex/South Burlington boy’s hockey game the other night that I might well be sitting in on a bit of history. As our game was wrapping up at Cairns Arena, up the street the SB school board was putting the kahbosh on over 50 years of history.
Good Bye Rebels!
The school board in their infinite wisdom has sided with the ever sensitive minority and decided that “Rebels” constitutes some kind of racist throwback to the Civil War. Since the “Rebels” in the south were supporters and defenders of slavery that means the term was racist. And so it must still be seen as racist.
Has there been a connection to the old south in the Rebel’s athletic history in South Burlington? Yes there has. They used to have a “Colonel Sanders” type colonel as a mascot and at one time when SB scored a touchdown the sounds of “Dixie” rang through the air. Those features, though, have long since disappeared. Only the name and school colors remained, but now the name, too will be vacated.
Why? What possible difference will changing the nickname of a Vermont high school’s athletic programs make in race relations? Will it change racist attitudes? Will it make people of all races and ethnic origins feel more a part of the South Burlington community? If it would I’d probably fall on the side of removing it.
But it won’t change a thing! It is just a name. Is Chittenden County any more or less racist today because Rice Memorial calls it’s teams Green Knights now rather than Little Indians? Are Hinesburg, Williston, Shelburne or Charlotte any more or less racist today because their teams are now known as Redhawks instead of Crusaders? Is Danville a racist community because they still call their teams the Indians?
But South Burlington has made its decision. The name will be gone come this fall and the new name will be the South Burlington whatevers … hey wait! They are still going to be called the SOUTH Burlington whatevers? SOUTH ??? Hey the Civil War! The SOUTH was racist! You can’t call them SOUTH Burlington!