Radnor has been struggling with the interpretation of its high school mascot: a Native American warrior called the Radnor Red Raider, writes Dana Thomas for The New York Times.
The mascot was adopted in the mid-1960s to honor a beloved coach, Emerson Metoxen of the Oneida Tribe.
There are alumni who see nothing offensive, considering what it honors, and that the “Red” in its name refers to the school’s colors, red and white.
But many students, and the majority of the school board, find the mascot non-inclusive and racist. The National Congress of American Indians, among others, agree.
“Multiple studies prove that these mascots, which are stereotypes of Native American people, cause real damage,” said Paul Chaat Smith, a curator for the National Museum of the American Indian.
The mascot has since been retired, replaced by the Radnor Raptor.
Susan Stern, president of the school board, pointed out the mascot issue did not create a divide in the community; it revealed it.
Historically, Radnor School District’s student population has been largely white. That’s been changing.
In the 2019-2020 school year, 42 percent of the district’s 2,661 students were BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color), including four classified as American Indian/Alaska Native.
Read more about Radnor School District in The New York Times.