I hadn’t even heard about this particular bit of insanity until I read about it at the Daily Wire. The general description makes it sound like a fairly typical bit of political correctness gone several orders of magnitude too far, but what was even more shocking was the fact that it was taking place in Wyoming. Last summer, a group of professors at the University of Wyoming (UW) were protesting the school’s offensive new slogan. (Trigger warning.) They had adopted the motto “The world needs more cowboys.”
One of the professors pointed out that the term “cowboy” had racist, sexist, homophobic and genocidal undertones. Horrifying, right? I’m sure you can immediately see the problem. Wait… what’s that? You don’t see the problem? Allow the Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien to explain.
Campus Reform noted that at the time of the professors’ protest, associate professor of kinesiology and health Christine Porter ranted, “I am not the only person for whom the word ‘cowboy’ invokes a white, macho, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, U.S.-born person. The history of cowboys, of course, is much more diverse than that racially, and presumably also for sexual orientation. 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.”
The Journal reported that UW’s Committee on Women & People of Color had reacted to the marketing campaign by saying it “risks casting UW as a place where only people who identify with white, male, and able-bodied connotations of ‘cowboy’ belong.”
At this point, we could usually assume that the school has already settled on a new slogan. After all, you don’t want to offend everyone with your genocidal undertones, right? And both the school’s reputation and marketability would suffer. But as it turns out, that wasn’t the case. The school voted to keep the slogan in place and brand it on all of their university merchandise. As the WSJ notes, that turned out to be a smart move. All of their products began selling like hotcakes. (Subscription required)
The university bookstore sold out of “the world needs more cowboys” T-shirts the first week they hit the shelves. Responding to demand, the University of Wyoming put the slogan on other products and sold roughly 5,000 items in the first six months. Between July and December 2018, royalties were up $38,000 over the same period in 2017 as the school licensed 143 different products with the tagline to third-party vendors…
It’s nice to be able to feature a story with a happy ending here once in a while. (No, I’m not talking about the owner of the Patriots. Stop it.) The school has significantly increased its funding and they believe that more students will be applying next semester. And yes… the world probably does need more cowboys, at least in the way they mean it. You don’t have to be out on the range every day busting broncos to embody the spirit of the cowboy which is, as one of their students was quoted as saying, “hard work, determination, self-reliance, and integrity.”