To follow-up on my post Monday on high school mascots, I have now assembled a fairly comprehensive national data set of high school mascot names. In total I have 19,786 high school mascot names from a school athletics site called MaxPreps. According the the US Dept of Ed’s Digest of Education Statistics there 23,800 secondary schools, not all of which have a mascot.
It will take me a little while to analyze it, but here are some things that stand out right away:
For good or bad, political correctness has not overtaken high school mascot names There are still 430 schools whose mascot is the “Indians,” 72 still called “Redskins,” and 209 still called “Crusaders.” There are 348 “Devil” mascots compared to only 18 “Angels.”
The national names, like those that I examined more closely in Texas, appear to be mostly animal mascots. Among those predator birds and big cats predominate. Among human mascots, the most common are Indian names (of some sort), Raiders, Pirates, Warriors, etc… Whether animal or human, mascots tends to have a fierce and intimidating quality.
One of the more frightening is the Marshall High School “Lawyers” from Cleveland, Ohio. Just imagine chants of “Go Lawyers” as the football team charges down the field.
The question that I have not yet been able to explore is whether newly selected mascots differ from ones selected many years ago. It may well be that new mascots are much more PC, while the non-PC names atrophy over time as those schools close.