One Portland high school is saddled with a dilemma over whether trees are racist.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, named after the prominent black activist and journalist who chronicled lynching in the post-Civil War era, was supposed to vote on a new mascot Tuesday of last week, according to the Portland Tribune. The vote was postponed, however, following complaints from a board director that a change from the Trojan mascot to the evergreens was racist.
Director Michelle DePass, the local Portland paper reported, said the tree mascot would invoke images of lynching.
“I’m wondering if there was any concern with the imagery here, in using a tree … as our mascot?” DePass pressed the committee tasked with finding a new mascot. “I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot.”
The school’s principal, Filip Hristic, reportedly told the board he shared DePass’s concern that evergreen trees are racist.