Reena Gupta

South Point High School Student 2007-2009

 

North Carolina School of Science and Math Class of 2011

Kody Kubbs

South Point High School Teacher

 

South Point High School Boys Varsity Basketball Coach

 

South Point High School Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach

"I have been very involved in the Belmont community for the past 13 years and am proud to call South Point home. At South Point, we have strong traditions of academic excellence, outstanding arts programs, renowned athletics, and many other notable student clubs and extracurriculars. Like so many people who are associated with South Point, I have great memories and experiences from my time at the school. Changing the mascot will not diminish or tarnish any of these past memories or alter any future achievements. In fact, changing the mascot will only foster more pride in my school. While I do not believe that the mascot was originally designed to be offensive or exclusive of certain people, unfortunately, it is. At its most innocent, the mascot is in poor taste and culturally insensitive of Indigenous peoples. At its worst, it's racist. Using a stereotypical caricature of Indigenous people and native symbolism is offensive and should not represent who we are. As a history teacher, I teach my students about our country's troubling history with Indigenous populations and where the term "red" is derived from. It is a very dark, divisive and sad part of American history. The South Point community is better than this. We are known for our leadership, however, concerning this matter, we are lagging far behind. Using Native imagery not only reduces Indigenous people and their culture to mere symbols, it completely misconstrues history. This type of imagery is not only harmful to Native students but it is also misleading and harmful to all students. My hope is that we all grow and learn through this process and come together as a more united and inclusive community."

Eliana Burgin

South Point High School Class of 2021

 

South Point Chamber Choir

"I share this today, without much support or encouragement from my classmates, in advocation of removing the Red Raider mascot in association to a Native American. As a student at South Point High School, I feel deeply uncomfortable with showing pride for my school with a racial slur. Even though I am not directly offended by this mascot, the sheer fact someone could possibility feel hurt, exclusion, or ridicule from the school I hold dear to my heart speaks volumes on what it truly stands for. A maybe outweighs this pride for such racist “tradition”. My peers will denounce any qualms with this mascot by explaining these individuals were once proud to be a “Red Raider”, however as we grow within our knowledge, communities, and morality, individuals can recognize a past mistake or a past wrongdoing by educating themselves and then recognizing the need for change. My peers and community justify the usage of this mascot as a symbol for tradition and pride, but I ask: how you can feel pride in knowing so many people disagree or feel discomfort in what we associate ourselves with? Just because we have always done something one way does not mean it is necessarily the right way to be doing it. Are we going to bring back confederate flags, a symbol for racism and slavery, just because our state once believed in such? Are we going to bring back a reminder of how our state, in cooperation from the federal government, forcibly removed Cherokee Indians, in addition to other tribes, from their ancestral lands leading to countless deaths, illnessness, injuries, etc. from this removal? I ask, is this something our state should take pride in? I’m not suggesting we whitewash history, however it is disgusting that we see it as “okay” so much so that we take pride in such symbolism when our ancestors were on the wrong side of history. The labeling of Native Americans as “Red” was a racial identifier that came about during the same time period where people identified themselves as “white” and their slaves as “black” as a form of white superiority. People in history such as President Madison used the term “red” or “red skin” as a form of identification for Native Americans, but not simply in identification, but as a means to further denounce, demean, and separate Native Americans as a form of blatant racism. We all know or should know how this form of labeling came to be used as a racial slur and insult to Native Americans. The usage of this slur as our mascot does nothing but associate the school we are all proud to go to, the town we are all proud to grow up in, and the state we are all proud to live in, with the promotion of racism. At the end of the day, the students and past students rallying against mascot removal are not Native Americans. They do not see this mascot as something derogatory because they themselves are not offended by it. However, looking at other schools, sports teams, etc. with association to any form of Native American symbolization with “Red” have some group, whether small or large, in protest of such mascot, just recently seen with the removal of the Washington Redskins mascot. Native Americans are not mascots, they are human beings. Even if 9 out of 10 Native Americans are not offended by our Red Raiders mascot, just the fact that some are should be enough motivation to change it. A mascot should be something everyone can associate with pride, and when we exclude someone from it, we diminish the pride and inclusion a mascot should exhibit. I ask: why we are all so proud of our tradition when it stands for a racial slur with the sheer purpose of exclusion and prejudice? Are you proud to stand for something so offensive? Are you proud to be associated with a mascot that does and can potentially can harm people solely based on their race and culture? The mascot associated with Red Raider is an insult and a slur as defined by its historical use. It is not a symbol I see as prideful. It does not represent the values I believe South Point stands for. It’s time we as a school, town, and state reform our beliefs of former racism to growth, encouragement, and inclusion. Thank you."

Mars Kelly

South Point High Alumna

 

Member of the Marching Band - Saxophone Section Leader 2015-2017

Member of Theatre Club

"As a marching band member, aptly named "Pride of the Tribe", a name problematic in itself, I was meant to represent our school. I always knew that the mascot was extremely problematic, and I was always a minority in thinking that. I remember the only teacher being on my side was Mr. Kubbs. I dearly loved the other teachers I had at SP, even when they held so tightly to the Red Raider. I felt their pride was a bit too strong for me to stand up to. I now know I'm definitely not alone in thinking, rather KNOWING that the Red Raider MUST be retired. Our community is better than this. If Belmont is such a sweet, charming southern town, they need to be open to change that positively affects those hurt by history. We can all move forward together to a brighter, kinder future! To honor Indigenous culture is to take reparative action."

Sidney Logan Echevarria

South Point High School Class of 1995

 

Current Belmont Resident

Stephen Lehman

South Point High School History Teacher

"The United States of America was built on the promises of freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. We have changed ourselves for the better in numerous ways over the course of our history. This progress has helped create a more inclusive and welcoming country. We still have a long way to go, but this progress has helped create a better world.

It is my belief that we have an opportunity to progress, in this case, at a local level as a South Point community. By retiring an inherently discriminatory name, the Red Raider, we will become a more inclusive community in which everyone can rally around the name together, the school, and the community.

People will say that the Red Raider represents brotherhood, our local identity, and decades of tradition. With all due respect, I think that is incorrect. The people of our community, our values, our beliefs, our convictions, our pride, our accomplishments, our actions, and our sacrifices. Our willingness to make tough choices and right wrongs are what make our community stand out. That is our true identity.

The retirement of the Red Raider will not take away from or sully our identity. It will not undo all of the amazing things that have taken place in the community over the years. It will not erase our past.

We have a chance to show that we can retain and cherish the past while moving forward towards an exciting future."

Savannah Stringer

South Point High School Class of 2015

"I think South Point High School should change the mascot from the racial slur "Red Raider," along with any Native American imagery. Coming from someone who graduated a few years ago, seeing this mascot with fresh eyes is a bit unsettling. The bright red face along with the name is racist. I don't know if the people who chose the mascot had racist intent, but basing a mascot on stereotypical ideas of Native Americans creates culture insensitivity and ignorance about Native culture. I came from a school that loves sports, community, and family - changing the mascot isn't trying to take away any of that."

Isabella Lanford

Gaston County Resident

Enrolled Member of the Lumbee Tribe

"My name is Isabella Lanford and I am an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, as well as a resident of Gaston County. In the spring of 2016, I was planning to leave Belmont Middle School for my intended feeder school, South Point High School. To begin acclimating myself to the culture and layout of my new school, I attended a few of South Point’s football games and other school-sanctioned activities. I recall seeing people I had previously considered friends put on embarrassing mimics of Native face paint and re-enact what they thought were the sounds of Native warcry, all to show support for their own school— a school represented by the “Red Raider.” These kinds of displays push my heritage into a box of performance and allow Indigenous people's culture to be manipulated into a mockery that encourages developing students’ minds to not only make it their own but completely separate an image from a community of Native people. My mother, Toni Henderson, realized this before I was able to and immediately took action against this harmful stereotype. As she and the Metrolina Native American Association began requesting for a change in mascots, threatening messages, even death threats, began pouring in from our community. After a private meeting with representatives of the Diversity Department of GCS, I was approved for a transfer to any other public high school in the county. Fortunately for me, I was accepted to Highland School of Technology before I had to make that decision. I attended Highland for two years before I was accepted to the NC School of Science and Mathematics, from where I have recently graduated. I am now on course to attend American University in Washington D.C. Having been privileged to attend NCSSM, I now have a far deeper understanding of the harmful effects of Native mascots and it is my sincere hope that my community recognizes them as well."

Anonymous

Member of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe

"I have several friends that go to South Point High School. They always told me about how great the football team was and there’s a lot of school spirit. I was invited to a game, and you can imagine my surprise when I see students imitating my people (or how they thought we acted). Students were chopping the air, patting their mouth like a war cry, and a couple had some extremely stereotypical graphic tees on. I was disappointed, I just wanted to watch a football game and see my friends in peace. It probably wasn’t the best idea to wear a shirt that was from one of my tribes events. I felt people staring at me and a little kid even asked me if I was a “real life Red Raider”. I’m grateful that people are standing with us and trying to fight against this harmful stereotype, but I’ve had several people tell me my feeling are invalid or wrong. I’ve heard people say the red is meant to represent face paint, but why is it on the mascots entire face? A Raider doesn’t mean Native American but by adding red it does mean Native American. We are not your mascot and we’re not here for you to culturally appropriate. Hearing names like Red Raider are very hurtful to me. I just wish people would understand the name is doing more harm than good. Your accomplishments and achievements are not erased because the name is taken away. You will still be South Point High School that is good at sports."

Ray Francis

South Point High School Class of 2007

Captain of the Cross County Team, All-Conference

Member of Track Team and Model UN

Avid South Point Football Fan

Jan Miller

South Point High School Calculus Teacher

"I love teaching at South Point High School. I love the enthusiasm of the students for their school. But I am troubled by its mascot and the cheers and images associated with it. While I am not an alum, I have happily taught at South Point for 18 years and love the people who work and study here. I want our school to send a positive, welcoming message to all people."

Vy

South Point High School Class of 2021

"The first time I stepped foot into South Point High School, I was a freshman and I was completely taken aback by the school's mascot. The school seemed so proud to display it but it never sat right with me. The idea of using a caricature of an ethnicity as a school mascot is distasteful. As an Asian American, I would imagine that if a school or sports team used my culture as a mascot, I would be disgusted. I'm hesitant to wear South Point t-shirts that have the mascot on it or the name. I want to be able to have school pride, but how can I knowing that my school tolerates this? It needs to change."

Monique Floyd

South Point High School Class of 2012

Member of the Dance Team, Theatre Club, Chorus

Miss South Point Contestant, Peer Helper, Class Secretary

"I agree that we should listen to the voices of indigenous groups and not use their culture as a symbol for what a vastly non-Native American community believes the 'Red Raider' stands for. Belmont holds a history of Native American mascots. Even the youth optimist team was formerly the Belmont Braves, and later in my youth made the change to match SP's Red Raider. From what I gather, those who want to hold on to the mascot believe the Raider is a symbol of pride and feel like tradition is being stripped away from them. Native Americans  are being stripped away from their own land because, as a collective, they are not treated with the respect they deserve. I would like to ask of those in opposition of retiring the mascot, why is a high school 'tradition' more important to you than truly honoring the Native American culture? Your alma mater's mascot should not determine of your level of pride. We must take a step back from our individual connection to what the Red Raider means to us and give our Native American community the respect they deserve."

Kaelan Forbes

Forestview High School Class of 2015

Valedictorian

Seeded #1 on the Women's Tennis Team 2011-2015

"As a woman of color, I dreaded having to play South Point every year while seeded #1 for Forestview's tennis team. It was extremely dehumanizing to see a school embrace such an unequivocally racist mascot name and symbol in my own community. After I graduated high school as valedictorian, I endeavored to fight racial injustices however and wherever I could. I believe it is evermore important to address the perpetuations of racial stereotypes that this mascot invokes to ultimately harm and demean a community of people. This gross and blatant disrespect of Indigenous communities can be easily fixed if the South Point community decides to embrace a mascot that is just, respectful, and a symbol everyone can support."

Luis Perez

South Point High School Class of 2012

 

Former Gaston County Teacher

Ava Valentin

South Point Class of 2022

"For us to celebrate the culture of Native Americans at sports events, academic events, and in every day school, after pushing them out of their land and forcing them into small reserves is incredibly hypocritical and insensitive. There is no reason for us to continue the use of the Red Raider mascot, while Native Americans are struggling to keep their population alive."

Rachel Toelkes

Forestview Class of 2015

 

Athletic Training Student

"I did not go to South Point nor did I live in Belmont. I was a student at Forestview who was a student aid with various athletic teams (football, basketball, track and field, softball, etc.). I would travel to South Point with different teams for away games throughout my high school years. South Point was one of the most school spirited schools we played against. Unfortunately, along with all of the school spirit was a lot of cultural appropriation. Groups of students would have on feathered headwear, paint on their face, while doing Native American “chants or calls,” some in full costumes. One year their students even tried to do a “Trail of Tears” reference for when the other school lost to them. I always found it demeaning and disrespectful since most of their students had no relation to Native American culture other than it being their mascot. Especially being a minority, I could only imagine what they’d do if their mascot was Chinese.

Later In college I had the opportunity to work with Cherokee High School as an Athletic Training Student. This is where I got to see and learn about different cultural beliefs and rituals of real Native Americans, which only confirmed how misleading and false the mascot was of South Point and the way it is portrayed at athletic events. I would hate for the kids of Cherokee High School or any Native American to experience this type of discrimination when the purpose is to just support the school’s team. I believe it is important to respect all cultures and ethnicities. South Point can still be South Point with its pride, without an offensive mascot."

Scott Frady

Belmont Community Member

Father of SPHS Graduates

Belmont Minister

"When I was a kid, we played cowboys and Indians. Nobody wanted to be an Indian. They were the perpetual losers of the game with their obsolete weapons and ineffectual fighting skills. The cowboy was always the hero. It was the way of things. All the movies and TV shows said so.
Though it was never explicitly stated, the implicit opinion was that white people were superior. Somehow, we deserved everything the Indians had because they were s*vages and didn’t know any better. It was so embedded in our culture; we didn’t think anything of it. We thought it was normal.
White was normal. Anything else was an aberration and therefore fair game for mockery and ridicule. So, of course it was appropriate for us to name our teams, R*dsk*ns, Red Raiders, Indians, Braves, Chiefs, etc. It was perfectly all right to appropriate Native regalia. It was ok for us to have fake rain dances, put on war paint and whoop and holler like “wild s*vages.” It didn’t matter. As far as we knew, they weren’t around to defend themselves. For most of us, Indians were about as relevant as dinosaurs.
When my family and I moved back to Gaston County in 2005, we settled in Belmont. When my son was old enough, we signed him up for pee wee football. He played for the Optimist Raiders. We cheered him on and didn’t think much of it. We also went to Friday Night football games at Lineberger Stadium and did the “tomahawk chop” with the rest of the town. It was good, clean family fun. The players were local heroes going out to do battle in the name of Belmont and proudly wearing the Red Raider on their helmets.
All things Native served the purpose of the team. Nobody ever questioned whether it was appropriate to take cultural traditions and use them in this way. Nobody ever thought to question whether the red mascot was an offensive caricature. These were ancient symbols that were not in use and ours for the taking. It’s what we do.
But why? The short answer is privilege. We’re the “winners.” We “deserve” the spoils of war. It doesn’t matter what the “conquered” think when the winners write history. So, we go to the pep rally in red face. Why not? What’s to stop us? 
But ask yourself, how is this any different than a minstrel show? Short answer, it’s not. There are living, breathing human beings whose culture we appropriate who do not view what we do as a joke or good, clean fun. They are not honored when they are parodied. I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this. I participated. It didn’t affect me. It wasn’t my heritage. I was with the “winners” after all.
Is this level of self-awareness the best we can do? Is this lie sufficient for our children to learn and then pass to their children as generations have before us? Or can we do better?
We need to do better. We know it’s not okay to mock and demean others because of the color of their skin whether that color is black or brown. It is not okay to take sacred rituals and turn them into pep rally fodder. Ask yourself how you would feel if your religion were mocked. How would you feel if sacred Christian symbols were used for profane purposes?
We can do better. We can tell the truth about our history. We can give our children the education they need in order for them to behave respectfully and honor all cultures even if that culture is not their own. We can love our neighbor as ourselves.
Muhammed Ali said, 'The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.' We can and we must change for the betterment of our world. It’s within our power to do so. Changing a mascot may seem small, but it sets an outsized example. Righting historical wrongs is never trivial. It can make all the difference."

Natalie O'Connor

South Point High School Class of 2021

 

President of the National Honor Society

 

Member of South Point Tennis Team

Bao Phan

South Point High School Class of 2020

 

Miss South Point 2020

 

Member of the Colorguard and Swim Team

"My name is Bao Phan, Class of 2020, and I wholeheartedly support retiring the Red Raider mascot. Four years at South Point have shown me the incredible love and pride that we have for our school. We are proud to cheer on our athletics, proud to wear red and black in the Christmas parades, proud to be a part of the Raider Nation. Yet for a community that takes so much pride in our mascot, in “honoring” the indigenous culture, we are quick to shut down indigenous voices when they rightfully criticize our offensive mascot. An argument I’ve seen in favor of leaving the mascot is that it is our tradition. Is our tradition at South Point really so fragile, that it hinges on an offensive caricature of a Native American? To say that the South Point tradition is our Red Raider mascot is to do a disservice to the traditions we should be proud of. We are proud to uphold traditions of excellent athleticism, of outstanding academics, of accomplished fine arts, of community unity. And we SHOULD be proud of challenging a racist mascot that represents none of these values. We SHOULD be proud to stand against racism and bigotry. We SHOULD be proud to say, “This is not what our home stands for.”

Rodd Williams

South Point High School Class of 2011

 

Red Raider Football Player

"To emphatically state: The ''Red Raider' mascot IS without a doubt racially and culturally insensitive and ethically unacceptable given the history of our nation and our current racial climate.

 

When I was in HS I proudly wore the SP emblem - at that time I believed it was a noble and very honorable thing to be apart of - traditionally speaking.

 

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11 'When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.' Because I do not think, nor reason as a child, I’m able to accept the fact this behavior and conduct is  inappropriate and unacceptable.

 

I am not Native, however I am able to empathize because throughout American history, my race, ethnicity, and culture has also been used as caricatures and cartoons to jeer and mock Black people and our culture.

 

These mascots, cartoons, and caricatures are a damnable reduction of Native American history and culture. If you’re from Belmont, NC, these are the only images of Native Americans that students are taught and raised on. In fact, I didn’t learn of Native culture and history until I went to college at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, which is a school that was historically founded to train Native American teachers (because racist wypipo refused to educate them,) and is located on Lumbee Indian Tribal Land.

 

The mascot and similar imagery presented by South Point High School (tribal calls, tomahawk airchops, & a yt man painted in red face riding a horse, etc. negatively affects how non-Natives view Native Americans. It’s also a reflection of how the vast American culture treats Native American culture as if they are not real people, but rather a mascot.

 

So yes, the mascot should go because it’s not a proper nor honorable tribute to Native people or their heritage. It’s actually offensive and disrespectful- and to provide biblical insight to offense, Jesus said 'Woe to the one through whom offense comes, it’d be better to tie a millstone around your neck than to offend one of his little ones.' (Luke 17:1-2)"

Tony Tran Trotmann

South Point High School Class of 2018

 

Summa Cum Laude

Voted Most Original Style

"South Point High School was established in 1964 and has paraded around its poorly designed caricature of a Native American male as a logo for more than half a century. The 'Red Raider' name and mascot for South Point has no clear origins to what it's honoring, but the common belief is that South Point adopted Colgate University's mascot and name.

Even in 2001, the same name, 'Red Raider' was recognized as racially insensitive and was removed from Colgate. Ever since, Colgate has simply just called their mascot, 'Raider'. South Point may have not intended to adopt the name and logo out of hate, but the continuation of ignoring the negative connotations of the 'Red Raider' logo and name is a slap in the face to all Native American alumni and the currently enrolled students at South Point.

 

The usage of "red" to refer to Native Americans became widespread with James Fenimore Cooper's "The Pioneer" where he notes in the book, "there will soon be no red-skin in the country". The author of the Wizard of Oz, Lyman Frank Baum celebrated the massacre at Wounded Knee and even called for the extermination of all remaining "redskins". In 1898, Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defined a "redskin" to be "often contemptuous".

 

The Chicago Blackhawks' name and logo displays and recognizes Native Americans, but does it depict them as 'red'? Does it stereotypically mock them with excessive cheek bones and large buck teeth like the Cleveland Indians did with Chief Wahoo? The Blackhawks honor Chief Black Hawk, who fought against European-American colonial settlements in Illinois and Wisconsin. Does South Point's logo and name honor any specific Native American notable figures?

 

Texas Tech University's football program is referred to as the 'Red Raiders' but doesn't scorn Native Americans. The Washington Redskins have reviewed their name and logo, they have finally decided to make change. Does South Point really want to wait longer, for a chance to get negative national media coverage?
 

Every time South Point has come under scrutiny, the movement to retire the 'Red Raider' has grown larger. In 2015, a Native American tribal leader delivered a letter to the school board for change, they got minimal support. This time, there are 2,268 and counting signatures on the petition in a town of around 12,000 people. Does South Point High School's school board want to continue a battle where they will eventually lose? It's not a Republican or Democratic issue, it's a right or wrong issue."

Mary Nesbit Bell

South Point High School Class of 2011

Sarah

Belmont Resident

Parent of Belmont students

"We moved to Belmont in 2014. Avoiding the South Point High School district assignment was a deciding factor in selecting our neighborhood and future school assignment. Our children would not attend South Point High School which boasted the "Red Raider" mascot. We were shocked that this type of stereotype would be perpetuated and celebrated."

Jamey Boiter

South Point High School Class of 1979

Red Raider Football Player

South Point Senior Class President

Charlotte Resident

"I did not grow up in Belmont. I came here the summer before my Junior year. I loved my time at South Point and cherish the memories to this day. I had a choice but chose South Point over Ashbrook because of the football program. The program. Not the mascot. The pride and love I have for my school, coaches, teachers, and fellow students are pride and love I have for, and in them, not the mascot. Deep down, I believe most of our collective pride comes from those personal relationships, experiences and memories, not a symbol. If a symbol is inappropriate or hurtful, it can be changed, and not take away from the relationships, experiences, and memories. Bobby Kennedy said, 'All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.' I believe this to be our challenge. And our opportunity."

Anonymous

South Point Class of 2022

"I understand that in a world that is rapidly changing that people are fearful of letting go of something that is so special to them. However, changing the South Point mascot doesn’t mean we lose our pride and sense of community. Our history will not be erased because we are more than a mascot. Our community will become stronger by doing away with offensive and outdated symbols that could potentially be hurtful to members of the school and surrounding area."

Kimber Fowler

South Point High School Class of 2010

 

Member of South Point Track Team, Volleyball Team

South Point Band Member

Lacy

South Point Class of 2013

Belmont Resident

Member of the Yearbook Staff

 

Member of the Volleyball Team

"I went to South Point. A parent went to South Point. A grandparent went to South Point. I am a product of the Belmont Community. I now live in Belmont. I hope for the best for the town that raised me. I want Belmont to be a community that no longer has ties to painful and oppressive history. At the very least, a community that works to remove images that make anyone feel ostracized from our growing community. I want to be a part of a community that works towards having positive images that represent a community that learns and grows together. I want our community, of majority white people, to be conscious of ways we have used Native Americans as a caricature and as an excuse for appropriation and not for education. I can not remember the ways we honored the Indigenous group represented by our mascot by learning about them; they were simply used as an emblem for the community's entertainment. I hope we can come to the conclusion that we can not continue to use any (people of color) as our entertainment. I hope for a community that is known for welcoming extravagantly. And I hope we remove anything in our community that communicates anything differently."

Rachel Ann Rankin

South Point Class of 2011

Member of the South Point Colorguard and Winterguard, Women's Soccer Team, Theatre Club, National Honors Society, International Thespian Society, Teacher Cadet, and Peer Helper

"We need to retire the mascot to honor the wishes of Native American tribes and organizations. They have been working towards the removal of these images and logos for years and it’s time to strike while the iron of change is hot. Many people think that the Red Raider is honoring Native people, but it is impossible to honor a group that you know nothing about. The lack of education on the matter proves how much work needs to be done and how our curriculum needs to be changed to implement historically accurate courses on Native Americans."

Caroline Boyce

South Point High School Class of 2011

 

Member of South Point Women's Soccer Team, Cross Country Team, and Model UN

Anonymous

South Point Class of 2021

Member of the National Honors Society, French Club, and Host Club

"As someone who is Native American, it upsets me that so many people are defending such a racist, degrading, and stereotypical mascot. People need to realize that Native Americans are people. We are not a mascot and we are not a costume. The mascot is nowhere near uplifting to Natives, or showing strength towards Natives. Just look at the name “RED RAIDER.” Even the name is derogatory and racist. It poses false depictions of what Native Americans are. Non-Natives that are complaining about keeping the mascot need to acknowledge their privilege and simply educate themselves on Native culture so that they see how harmful mascots are, rather than sticking with their stubborn ignorance and crippling racism."

Sara Whitted

South Point Class of 2021

Choir Student, Previous Member of Theatre Club

"I strongly believe we need to retire the SPHS mascot. Not only is the mascot culturally inappropriate, but the way our school staff has decided to portray the mascot is extremely racist. The clothes, the tomahawk, the chants: They're inappropriate and racist."

Anonymous

Belmont Resident

South Point Class of 2023

"I agree with retiring the raider because I believe that someone else’s culture should not be a costume or a school mascot. Native American culture should not be exploited, especially by those who are descendants of the very people who oppressed and wiped out almost 90% of their population. It’s also not right to exploit their culture for ‘fun’ or for profit. It’s time to address the problematic past that this country has and that this “mascot” has. If you feel offended by wanting to get rid of a very blatantly racist mascot, you need to look deep within yourself and see that you’re part of the problem."

Richard Meeker

South Point High School Class of 2003

 

As a varsity football player, Richard says he gave his "blood, sweat, and tears for the Red Raider team," but he supports changing the name.

Alyssa Buchanan

South Point Class of 2012

Member of the Marching Band

Flute Section Leader Junior Year

"My name is Alyssa Buchanan and I graduated from South Point in 2012. I was involved in several organizations throughout my time at South Point, which included being a member of the marching band and being the flute section leader my junior year. I absolutely loved cheering on my team and supporting the school, a school that I still love, but one with a mascot that must be changed. Having a “Red Raider” as a mascot is racist and perpetuates an untrue and negative characteristic of Native Americans, indigenous groups, and their cultures. Continuing to use the “raider” as a mascot takes away from the realities of Native Americans currently living in the US and NC and leads to others seeing them as a type of character or something to be imagined. We have used this mascot for much too long and now is the time to retire the “Red Raider,” so that friends and neighbors in our community can feel seen and respected in regards to both their history and culture."

Cindy Scruggs

Parent of South Point High School Alumni, Classes of 2010, 2015, and 2017

"I am the proud parent of four girls who are graduates of SPHS. They attended SPHS between 2006-2017. While they were all successful students involved in various activities, two of them were on the dance team. It was horrific to watch as they built teepees, dressed in stereotypical costume and choreographed rain dances, knowing nothing about the actual culture, customs or practices they imitated. In hindsight, I regret remaining silent during these activities, but it is not unusual for white people to sit in comfort during difficult racially unjust times. Fortunately, in hindsight my girls also understand these are racist and regrettable acts. Change is difficult. In this situation, it may not be as difficult if public schools taught accurate, age appropriate US history. If that were the case we would all better understand why it is time to retire the Red Raider. Actually, it is way past time! The American Psychological Association has been calling for the removal of Native American mascots since 2005 because of the harm this causes. I would like to add: I graduated in 1984 as a proud Monroe High School Rebel. But today I am an even prouder MHS alumni because since 1984, the people in my home community recognized the Rebel as divisive and inappropriate and changed the mascot to a bird: the Red Hawk! Because when you know better, you do better!"

Anonymous

Belmont Resident

Student in Gaston County Schools

"The opinions and feelings of Native Americans and Indigenous people should ultimately outweigh the ones of non-Natives. We, as a community, should listen to the voices of Indigenous people and Natives instead of trying to outweigh their voices with white ones. South Point is predominantly white. I would like to see Superintendent Jeff Booker sit down with Native students, parents, and faculty in Gaston County to hear their opinions and feelings. I think we, as a community, all know what the correct thing to do is. Gaston County needs to right its wrongs and make a change."

Emilie Bruchon

South Point High School Class of 1993