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"We know that it's more helpful to propose solutions than it is to simply complain about problems," says Samantha Serious, community organizer for Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams (RACIST). That's why we here at RACIST are not merely complaining about the fact that San Diego's professional baseball team [the Padres] is named after a notorious patriarchal oppressor/exploiter. We're proposing what we consider to be a viable alternative."


"In selecting our name suggestion," continues Serious, "we looked to the NBA — an organization that has taken the lead when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Unlike Major League Baseball with its Atlanta Braves or the National Football League with its Washington Redskins, the National Basketball Association has no teams named after historically oppressed minorities, with the possible exception of the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. Instead, there is a heavy reliance on wild animals — totems, if you will, representing power and prowess. Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Raptors, Bobcats, Bulls, Bucks, and Hawks. Unfortunately, the animals most commonly associated with San Diego in the public imagination are the Killer Whales held in captivity at SeaWorld. They are indeed splendid predators, but their oppressed status makes them entirely unsuitable."

RACIST didn't go for this black-and-white option.

"So we asked ourselves: 'What do people always talk about when they talk about San Diego?' Answer: the weather. Remarkably, there are two teams in the NBA — the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder — that have already adopted this naming strategy. Plus maybe the Phoenix Suns. Now of course, the San Diego Mild does not make for a very compelling team name, no matter how appealing the climate may be otherwise. We needed something with more drama, but still relatable to San Diego. And then we saw the news."

Devastation, inspiration; tomato, tomahto.

"The San Diego wildfires provided a perfect weather-related name, fueled as they are by high temperatures and strong winds. Wildfires are powerful, fast, difficult to contain, and often riveting to watch. And San Diego has had plenty of them in recent years: 2003, 2007, 2009…the list goes on. We have a fire season like New Orleans has a hurricane season. Which is why we are proud to suggest renaming the San Diego Padres as the San Diego Wildfire."

Serious grants that "some people may feel that wildfires are too destructive and dangerous to serve as team mascots. But Grizzlies and Raptors are also dangerous. The Chicago Bulls logo features an animal with blood-tipped horns: clearly, he has just gored some hapless bullfighter. Heatwaves kill more Americans every year than wildfires do in an average decade. Even the thunderstorms in Oklahoma have proven deadly. It's all about how you look at it."

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dwbat May 18, 2014 @ 8:20 a.m.

That's close, but no cigar. I vote instead for San Diego Firenadoes!


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