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08.04.2020 0

Cowboys latest victim of leftist cancel culture at local New Jersey school district

By Valmore J. Forgett III

The leftist cancel culture scolds have brought their prejudice to my old high school, Pascack Hills, erasing over fifty years of school tradition in a blink by voting to eliminate our school mascot, the Cowboys, in a vote of the Board of Education on June 22, 2020.  The admitted predicate by those who advocated for the change is the conclusion that the term “Cowboy” is racist and sexist. Board member, math teacher and incoming Assistant Principal Charleen Schwartzman stated after the vote: “The cowboy is in no way free of bias as it excludes women and people of color,” demonstrating the all-too-common prejudice of the radical left.

Prejudice.  It literally means something.  To pre-judge.   It is universally accepted in the sane world that prejudice is wrong.   By definition, prejudice is un-just for it renders a conclusion based not on facts, but on negative stereotypes.   Sadly that is exactly the activity cancel-culture leftists regularly engage in.

Even a cursory examination of the history of the Cowboy reveals a remarkably diverse and inclusive culture and way of life.    Historians agree that approximately 25 percent of cowboys in the American West were black, and that as many as one in three cowboys were Mexican vaqueros.  I’m no math teacher turned Assistant Principal, but those percentages make Cowboys as diverse an identifiable group as there is in America.

While Cowboys of color no doubt faced discrimination, according to William Loren Katz, a scholar of African-American history and the author of 40 books on the topic, including The Black West:  “Cowboys had to depend on one another. They couldn’t stop in the middle of some crisis like a stampede or an attack by rustlers and sort out who’s black and who’s white. Black people operated “on a level of equality with the white cowboys,”

As to Cowboys being exclusionary of women, I’m pretty sure legendary Western icons “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Belle Starr, Calamity Jane and especially longtime New Jersey resident Annie Oakley, would be surprised at that view.  The term “Cowboy” is akin to terms like “Freshman” or “Craftsman” and is, in fact, gender neutral.  By this standard, an endless number of mascots like Tigers and Lions, are just as “exclusionary”.

As someone who has lived his life closely associating with cowboy culture, I know firsthand that Cowboys are as inclusionary, diverse and tolerant a society as there is.   Cowboys believe in the same things that have built our great nation:  Hard work, honesty and respect of others.

But, cancel-culture leftists are not interested in historical facts, nor are they interested in worthy American traditions.   Anything, and anyone, that does not comport to their ideological bend are ‘racist’ and ‘exclusionary’ and are to be eradicated without regard to an objective analysis of the actual history.  The violent mobs defacing and tearing down statues of American patriots, emancipators and abolitionists demonstrates the level of ignorance at play.

The self-examination of our society and its norms is something that has been done throughout the existence of the United States, and often has yielded remarkably positive results.   Our founding fathers built into our system of governance the mechanism by which those changes could be implemented into our Constitutional structure, a method that has been used successfully to correct and eradicate wrongs, abuses and shortcomings throughout our nation’s history.

Have Cowboys been portrayed as virtually all white and male in our popular culture?  Absolutely.   Rather than eradicate the Cowboy as a symbol due to this false exclusionary perception, Pascack Hills could serve as a leader in representing the true ideals of tolerance and inclusiveness inherent in the cowboy code and to educate others on the historic multi-cultural nature of Cowboys.    To do that would take the acknowledgement of actual facts and actual history into account, something that cancel-culture leftists will not do when those facts and history do not conform to their prejudiced mindset.

I care deeply about this issue not just because this is the High School I proudly graduated from over thirty years ago.  I care, and worry, because it is this level of ignorance and hatred of America by cancel-culture leftists that is resulting in their clear desire for the removal of solid venerable traditions cherished by Americans, of all races and genders.

Ignorance and prejudice do not produce a better society for all, and that is what cancel-culture leftists peddle at an alarmingly increasing rate.   It’s going to take the grit and determination of a Cowboy to stop it.

Valmore J. Forgett III is the President & C.E.O. of Navy Arms, LLC, Midland Arms Co., LLC and OWS, LLC.


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