Cowboys settled the great American West and today are indispensable in running the nation’s cattle ranches — but that’s not stopping one group at the University of Wyoming in Laramie from shunning them.
Opponents of the institution’s new slogan, “The World Needs More Cowboys,” say the word “cowboy” is sexist and non-inclusive.
But the new slogan makes perfect sense, even if the opponents won’t acknowledge it: The University of Wyoming (UW) mascot is a horse called Cowboy Joe, and the university also refers to its students as cowboys. Additionally, UW has several programs that use terms such as “cowboy parents,” “cowboy connect” and “cowboy legacy,” as Campus Reform noted.
The marketing campaign will launch this September in the hopes of attracting new out-of-state students. Yet the UW “Committee on Women and People of Color” wrote a letter in the Laramie Boomerang (a local publication) to university officials demanding they “shelve” the slogan in favor of a new one that “represents the diversity of the people and cultures” at UW.
Perhaps the group should spend less time swapping grievances and more time in the campus library: “Though African-American cowboys don’t play a part in the popular narrative, historians estimate that one in four cowboys were black,” says Smithsonian Magazine.
Little Known Black History Fact: Black Cowboys
Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show
Although the most famous cowboys of the old west were white men like Roy Rogers and Billy the Kid, one in four of America’s… https://t.co/jB16dbUTPI
— RJ Robinson (@Genesis11168) July 6, 2018
And while they might not refer to themselves as “cowgirls,” women hold more than respectable numbers working U.S. ranches and farms. “Today, counting principal operators and secondary operators, women account for 30 percent of all farmers in the United States, or just under 1 million,” noted the Washington Post in 2016.
Nevertheless, “I am not the only person for whom the word ‘cowboy’ invokes a white, macho, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, U.S.-born person,” associate professor of kinesiology and health Christine Porter told the Boomerang.
“The history of cowboys, of course, is much more diverse than that racially, and presumably also for sexual orientation,” she continued. “But the image — what the word ‘cowboy’ means off the top of almost everybody’s head in the U.S. — is the white, heterosexual male.”
Porter wasn’t finished. “I care most about our university having a slogan that makes all people feel welcome here. I …