Distressing stories like this trickle in every day, but this one hit home because of my assistant’s interest in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The staff of the school’s newspaper, The Rebel Yell, has decided to change its name to something more PC. Presumably the athletic teams will continue to be known as the Rebels. For now.
Next in the crosshairs is the school’s mascot, Hey Reb! From the Las Vegas Sun: “The mascot, created … by a local cartoonist, was based on 19th-century mountain men who explored western states like Nevada and California. Some students say the mascot more closely resembles a Confederate general.” (Never mind that the previous mascot, deposed in 1997, was a cartoon Confederate general.)
The school’s Rebel nickname has nothing to do with the Civil War, during which Nevada was ushered into statehood on the Union side. It instead addresses politics and how a distant outpost of the state’s first university, Nevada-Reno, claimed its independence after a long battle. The nickname was put up to a student vote in the early 1970s and passed muster by a wide margin.
From the school website: “UNLV acknowledges that its first generation of students opted for a great name in Rebels but chose to surround it with imagery and symbols that fell short of giving that name the honor it deserved. UNLV also acknowledges the persistent and courageous students of a later generation who decided to keep the great Rebels name and to create a mascot that was representative of Nevada and could be embraced by all!”
Sweetheart, get me rewrite. Can you even be called a rebel if you are PC whipped?