Speakers debate removing high school mascot at Gaston County School Board meeting

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The debate over whether a high school mascot should be changed continued Monday evening at the Gaston County School Board meeting.

About 20 people took their turn to speak on the controversial topic.

The South Point High School Red Raiders have a mascot that depicts a Native American with red skin.

Many in attendance at Monday’s school board meeting say they find the mascot offensive, and they want it changed.

“Native Americans have experienced the worst of terrorism, torture, murder and devastation,” one speaker said.

“Changing this mascot is not only the kind thing to do, but it is a decision that is also inevitable,” another speaker said.

Since 1947, the Red Raider has been the mascot of South Point High.

People who spoke at the school board meeting Monday night feel it’s time to retire what they call a divisive and racist epitaph in the school’s history.

“As the world continues to progress, you continue to put off changing this mascot,” another speaker said. “It isn’t a matter of if – it’s a matter of when.”

Uvan Dow used darker imagery to make her point.

“If you had wished to have chosen a national people for a mascot, why not a German Nazi?” Dow asked.

Sharon Hunt called the raider a demonic reminder of the past.

“The red-skinned mascot depicting his red face only dictates as a definite demonic reminder of thousands of murdered lives of men, women, children and infants as their blood spilled upon the Earth,” Hunt added.

However, not everybody who showed up Monday saw the mascot that way.

Dot Martain supports keeping the name the way it is.

“I have never heard any problems about South Point Red Raiders until these cancel-culture people come in and start doing this,” Martain said.

Michael Hoover said it’s not about hate at all.

“What kind of people do they think we are?” Hoover said.

No decision was made at Monday’s meeting, but this won’t be the last time the board will be taking up this topic.

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