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Friday, March 31, 2023

Pine trees classed as part of racist history

By: V4 Agency

A high school has porponed a vote to change its mascot to an evergreen tree over concerns about its potential ties to the lynching of black people.

A high school in Portland has delayed a vote to change its mascot over concerns regarding the symbol. The school was contemplating to choose an evergreen tree as its new symbol, until a board member has called attention to its potential ties to lynching.

The victims of lynching were mostly black people in the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States, and they were hanged on trees in many cases. The Portland school was renamed in January for black activist and journalist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, who reported on the lynching cases.

“I’m wondering if there was any concern with the imagery there, in using a tree… as our mascot?” Portland Public Schools Board of Education Director Michelle DePass asked at the meeting. “I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot.”

Another committee member said the group did discuss the  potentially worrying aspect of the mascot. “But we were looking at the symbolism more as a tree of life, than a tree of death,”Martin Osborne said. He also pointed out that the evergreen mascot “had nothing to do with the horrible history of lynching in the United States.” “Lynching trees typically are not evergreens,” he added.

At this stage, the school has decided to reach out to the namesake Wells-Barnett’s family to make sure they saw no issue with the potential mascot. The mascot vote has been postponed until then.

Many users commented on the mascot issue on social media, pointing out that even evergreen trees have become racist, intent on killing black people. Thus, defenseless trees have joined the ranks of classical music and cheese, which all have been branded as racist.


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