I have told more racial jokes than I should have, but some of them were funny at the time. That is what I like to tell myself, anyway. You still hear off-color jokes, but not that often. Racial jokes still exist, and the problem is that some are funny because they group a whole race of people into the behavior of a few miscreants. Jokes make fun of Italians, Mexicans, Irishmen, many other minorities and disabled people. Lawyer jokes are still fair game because most are true of the majority of lawyers, which makes them timeless.
When I hear someone called an Okie, I take offense. I have never lived in Oklahoma, but my roots are there and other Midwest states. When someone uses the word Okie, it isn’t in a positive manner and is used to put someone else down. I speak up with I hear it, but not always for other slurs. That is a problem that I’m working on and I need to speak up when I hear someone say something offensive.
I heard nigger used the other day and just turned away from the conversation. The guy who said it laughed and said he used the word just to watch my reaction. I told him it wasn’t funny, but I don’t think it will be the last time I hear the word spoken in Winters. Maybe less now that we have a white president.
Some racial slurs are more subtle, like a Mexican wearing a sombrero resting under a cactus. You used to see that logo on Mexican restaurants, but I hope the logo is no longer being used in advertisements. When you think of people with Mexican heritage do you think of teachers, politicians, neighbors, friends and family members, or farm workers, drunks with tequila bottles and lazy people resting under a cactus. You would think in a town that has a mixed population that those stereotypes would be long gone, but I’m afraid we aren’t there yet.
The Winters Warriors will always be the Warriors. What is changing is the use of a Plains Indian as a mascot and old west Indian images of feathers and arrows. The image of an American Indian as our team logo has to go. I thought we decided years ago to phase out the logo and adopt other signage. I even remember sending a past school superintendent samples of logos for his approval. But I guess we aren’t there yet, either. There are only a couple of old logos left at the high school: the sign out front and on the gym floor. They are being replaced, soon.
Old Winters Express pages used to shout out, “Scalp ‘em,” and “Warriors massacre (Colusa) Redskins.” I believe Colusa became the Redhawks somewhere along the way. We have refrained from using those kind of headlines for several years now, but I’m sometimes tempted to use them again to help sell papers, but times change and so do social morals, hopefully.
There were times when I thought people are a little too sensitive and needed to toughen up and turn the other cheek when it came to race, but I have not walked in their shoes, lived their lives or experienced their discrimination. Their perception is their reality and I should learn to accept their hurt feeling as my reality and my responsibility. If I can change my way of thinking to make life less hurtful, then that is what I will try to do. It may not be easy, but it is achievable
I can understand those that want to keep the past alive, but using offensive language and images isn’t in best interest. A few years ago the Winters High School slogan was “Proud past, promising future.” I like that mindset. We could call the football team the galloping walnuts and I don’t think the quality of our students would change. But remember, the name Warriors isn’t being changed, just the imagery of a Plains Indian.
I’m tempted to say to those who don’t agree with me: don’t go on the warpath, but that may offend someone. I said I’m working on my sensitivity.
A couple Irish jokes. Two Irishmen leave a bar early. It could happen. Irish Wedding. At the wedding reception, someone yelled, “Would all the married men, please stand next to the one person who has made your life worth living?” The bartender was almost crushed to death.
If you are of Irish heritage, you should be offended by the reference that all Irish are drunkards. If you aren’t Irish you should think about repeating offensive jokes. Laughing at other people’s expense shouldn’t make you fell better about yourself.
A few last lines.
The Warrior’s logo is changing and there is no going back.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Express your ideas by writing a letter to the editor.
Always a Winters Warrior and have a good week.