Sports teams in the Washington D.C. area seem to be following a trend of changing their “offensive” nicknames. The Washington Commanders - formerly the Redskins - were the first to do so, now George Washington University (GWU) is following suit.
GWU’s sports teams will no longer be referred to as the “Colonials.” Instead, all teams will boast the nickname “Revolutionaries.”
The change comes on the heels of a five-year conflict with the student body regarding the school’s name. In 2018, roughly 530 students found the name disturbing and pleaded with the school to change it. That might seem like a lot of students, but it’s still a relatively small portion of the student body.
In 2018-2019, the student enrollment at GWU was 12,546. That means that only 1 in every 23 students found the nickname to be a problem. Nevertheless, in 2019, the student body voted to remove it completely.
“Colonials were active purveyors of colonialism and were complicit in militarized and racialized violence, oppression and hierarchy,” a 2019 petition read. “Colonialism has been historically and contemporaneously built upon usurping land, labor and autonomy from racialized communities through dehumanizing violence and suppression.”
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That view of colonialism only accounts for one cherry-picked and slightly overblown aspect of history and makes the colonials seem no better than terrorists. This assessment leaves out the fact that the colonials were themselves oppressed by a tyrannical British government and fought bravely to gain independence - an independence these students take for granted and want to destroy. But what group of woke social justice warriors would care about viewing history accurately?
Thus, the change to the “Revolutionaries” came about, with that name getting more support than the other finalists: “Blue Fog,” “Sentinels,” and “Ambassadors.” Mind you, the change comes after most of the students who made this an issue have graduated.
The name change is somewhat ironic, because the school is still recognizing and celebrating the same group of people they just got demonized, but by a different name. This was certainly a masterclass in creating an imaginary problem, and then doing nothing to fix it.
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