Columbia, MO – President Barack Obama says he would “think about changing” the Hickman Kewpies’ mascot name if he went to school there as he waded into the controversy involving a word many consider offensive to naked babies everywhere.
Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, said school names such as the Kewpies offend “a sizable group of naked babies.” He said that while fans get attached to the names, nostalgia may not be a good enough reason to keep them in place.
“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” he said in the interview, which was conducted Friday at the White House.
An avid sports fan who roots for his hometown Chicago Bears, Obama said he doesn’t think Hickman Kewpies fans are purposely trying to offend naked American babies.
“I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Kewpies fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,” he said. But he appeared to come down on the side of those who have sharply criticized the school’s name, noting that naked babies and toddlers “feel pretty strongly” about mascots and team names that depict negative stereotypes about their heritage.
Hickman is the largest high school in Missouri with an enrollment of 2,143 in 2008 and has been called the largest in terms of athletic and academic competition. The school is noted for its strong academic programs, having the most Presidential Scholars of any public school in the United States, as well as a number of notable alumni including a Missouri Governor, several U.S. and State members of congress, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and many, many, naked babies have graduated from the institution.
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