Trees Are Now Racist? School Worries 'Evergreen' Mascot May Be Linked to Lynching


A high school in Portland, Oregon, was set to adopt a new mascot, but voting was paused and the entire process is on hold after someone said trees might be racist.

That is not hyperbole.

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School in Portland was known as Woodrow Wilson High School until just a few months ago, KGW-TV reported. The school’s name was changed as part of the left’s push to purge white historical figures from the public square after George Floyd died in Minneapolis last year while in police custody.

Apparently, former President Wilson wasn’t enlightened enough during his tenure in the White House a century ago to please the city’s social justice activists in this day and age. The school board decided to rename the high school after Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who co-founded the NAACP.

The newly minted Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School’s mascot, a Trojan, is also being canceled. Evidently, Homer’s “Iliad” and the mythical and fierce defenders of Troy are also problematic.

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Only things have gotten so “woke” in Oregon’s largest city that there is now infighting about what will replace it, which was slated to be trees.

The Portland Tribune reported Friday that the school was set to adopt “the Evergreens” as its new mascot.

“Evergreens are characterized by the life-giving force of their foliage, the strength of their massive trunk, and the depth of their roots — in an individual tree and as a forest of trees,” teacher Ellen Whatmore, who is on the mascot renaming committee at the school, said as she read the resolution. “They provide shelter and sustenance. They have histories that preclude us and will continue in perpetuity after we are no more.”

The Pacific Northwest is associated with its vast and beautiful forests. As challenging as it might be to imagine an “Evergreen” striking fear into the hearts of sports opponents in the field of play, at least this school would no longer be without an identity.

Do you associate "Evergreens" with lynching?

That was until someone pointed out that trees raised “concerns about potential connotations of lynching,” the Tribune’s Courtney Vaughn reported.

“But just before the Portland Public Schools Board of Education’s vote to approve the new mascot Tuesday, March 30, Director Michelle DePass shared community concerns of an unwanted correlation between Ida B. Wells — the historic Black activist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who documented and crusaded against lynching — and a tree which could conjure up reminders of hanging people with ropes from branches,” Vaughn wrote.

DePass said trees might be connected to racism, and others shared her view.

“Lynching trees typically are not evergreens,” Martin Osborne, an African-American member of the mascot renaming committee, pointed out.

Osborne, as if anyone with a serious bone in their body had gone there, felt compelled to make sure everyone knew that the Evergreens mascot “had nothing to do with the horrible history of lynching in the United States.”

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The board delayed its mascot vote until the next meeting.

Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell reacted to the “Evergreens” during an appearance Monday on Fox News.

“I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 30 years,” Terrell said on “America Reports.” “I taught U.S. history for seven years. I’ve never had a client complain that a tree is racist. I’ve never had a case that deals with a tree being racist. It devalues true racism in this country.”

“The idea of a tree having some participation in racist activity — there’s no data, there’s no analogy, there’s no historical, analytical approach to such a conclusion,” he added.


It would be easy to sit back and laugh, or to shake one’s head, at the absurdity of those crazy people in Portland. But the problem is not isolated to Oregon — or to the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Chicago, New York or New England.

We’re no longer a serious country.

Those who came before the evergreens built dams, bridges, tunnels and railroads. They tamed the wilderness, and out of forested mountains grew beautiful cities. Wonderful American communities once stood in the above-named areas and others — Portland among them.

But America, culturally speaking, is a shell of its former self. We’ve become an international laughingstock, and cities such as Portland are falling apart in ways no behemoth infrastructure bill could ever fix.

No amount of road resurfacing or bridge beam replacements can ever make a morally bankrupt nation whole — not as long as good-willed Americans and the spineless politicians we elect continue to let the left wage war on our values and our dignity.

The Evergreens might or might not become the mascot of a high school in Portland. That city’s leaders must first decide if trees are racist, which apparently they’re doing.

We might see a campaign in favor of deforestation should trees be deemed culturally insensitive.

But this story is nothing if not a sign of the troubled times we’re living in. The insanity behind what led Portland’s s0-called educators to their current predicament is spreading to an urban center near you, if it isn’t already there.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.