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It's been an interesting week in the nation's ongoing debate over inappropriate mascots and whether public buildings named for people with checkered histories should be renamed.

On the no-brainer side of the scale, the Cleveland Indians baseball team announced this week that the team would stop using the clearly offensive Chief Wahoo logo on its uniforms beginning with the 2019 season. (The logo will be around for this season, for some reason, in a weird farewell tour of sorts.)

Reportedly, the commissioner of baseball, Rob Manfred, pressured Indians' executives into making the change. But this only required 60 years to sort out.

Which says something about the difficulties involved in these discussions about mascots and building names.

In Oregon, we're still working through the process in which state schools that used Native American imagery or names as mascots or nicknames either had to phase them out or strike deals with nearby tribes to continue using them. (It still strikes us as a shame that more schools didn't use the process carved out by state Rep. Sherrie Sprenger to work with those nearby tribes.)

Oregon State University, of course, is going through a process to find new names for buildings whose namesakes had held racist views. The same thing happened at the University of Oregon.

South Albany High School is continuing a deliberate and careful process to determine if, or how, it wants to maintain its Rebels nickname.

Most recently, in Portland, debate has erupted again about whether Thomas Jefferson High School should be renamed. 

Critics of these efforts say they amount to attempts to erase history, but that argument isn't exactly on point: The issue is not whether we can sweep the unsavory parts of our history under the carpet by renaming these structures or eliminating the use of mascots inspired by Native Americans. This is history we need to remember, especially as the nation begins to come to terms with all of it, the bad and the good. (To that end, OSU has said that it will place educational materials in each of the buildings that will be considered for renaming.)

No, the questions here are somewhat different. Who deserves to be honored by having their names emblazoned on our public monuments and schools? On what grounds should they be honored? When we use a name with historical resonance to serve as mascots for our school, what responsibility do we have to that history? (In this light, it really seems like a missed opportunity that more schools didn't take advantage of that opportunity Rep. Sprenger carved out to work with nearby tribes to explore those very questions.)

But we can understand why some of the schools simply elected to do away with the mascots rather than grappling with these questions. As we saw again this week, this is hard work. (mm)

Cloudy eclipse

As we expected might happen, clouds early Wednesday morning obscured the mid-valley's view of the total lunar eclipse. Judging from photos we saw from areas with less cloud cover, it was a memorable sight. 

Of course, you had to get up early to see it — some sources suggested that the best time to see the eclipse on the West Coast was around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The smart money stayed in bed, thinking (correctly) that clouds had covered the sky.

If you were an optimist, though, you might have thought something like this: "Well, we were able to see glimpse of the super moon the previous evening, so maybe the lunar eclipse is visible now." 

Those hopes, of course, were dashed in the wee hours of Wednesday. But we have a soft spot for the optimists, which is a way of saying that, yes, we climbed out of bed early on Wednesday morning, zipped outside, peered into the skies and saw ... clouds. Next time, we are sure, the skies will be clear. (mm)


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