Sunday, August 12, 2018
Lee Pitts: He/She Cowpeoples
If I may be permitted to do so, I'd like to come to the defense of one of my favorite places on earth: the wonderful state of Wyoming.
The busy-bodies with nothing better to do, who always go around looking for something to be offended by, have now targeted the University of Wyoming in particular, and The Cowboy Sate in general. You may not be aware of this but universities don't just compete on the gridiron, they compete year round in trying to attract the best and brightest students to attend their college. Part of that effort in Wyoming included coming up with a new a catchy slogan that might snare a future President, an NFL quarterback or a Rhodes scholar. Naturally, I loved their new slogan: "The world needs more cowboys."
Oh, but you should have heard the critics, left wingers, women's libbers and liberal professors cry! They said the phrase is racist, does not make potential students feel welcome and is sexist. They were quick to portray Wyoming as some backwater hick state that needs to enter the 21st century. I say these professors should study their history. If they did so they'd learn that Wyoming was the first state in the nation to give women the right to vote, serve on juries or hold public office. Along with Texas, Wyoming was the first state to have a lady governor. And they did it decades before the hip and cool states on both coasts that produce most women's libbers. Wyoming's motto was "Equal rights" long before Martin Luther King had a dream.
Critics also called the phrase racist because the word "cowboy" would offend Indians. If those bellering critics went to any Indian reservation in the southwest they'd see a lively cowboy culture. A listing of the top team ropers in the country includes many Indian names and Indian rodeos on the Fourth of July are a staple of reservation life. I've known many Indians who aspired to one day be called "World Champion Cowboy." So I don't see Indians going on the warpath over the university's new slogan.
The same critics who hate the University of Wyoming's new slogan are the same folks who contend the state's official logo, a rider on a bucking bronc, is sexist and racist. They must have better eyes than I do because from my vantage point I can't tell the race or the sex of the person on the bucking bronc.
They are just looking at it through the Hollywood prism that has brainwashed us all into thinking that the American cowboy was a white male heathen who went around beating animals. Again they should study their history. In the 1870s, one in six cowboys in Texas was black and one third of the cowboys who went up the trail were either black or Hispanic. But their books or movies never told us that, did they? So who's being "non-inclusive?" The truth is, cowboys come from every race, sex and background and the only qualifications to be a cowboy are courage, a strong work ethic, the ability to out-think a cow and to always put women on a pedestal.