This will have zero impact on actual racism.
Did anyone think that the term “civil war” (or “Civil War” or “Civil war,” as the article capitalizes it three different ways) carries anti-Black sentiment? This is the event that liberated the slaves and beat back the treasonous rebellion that fought to maintain that institution. The war was a tragedy, but certainly not the Northern victory.
But that’s beside the point. No one is making this association anyway. Merriam-Webster defines “civil war” thusly:
a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country
It’s a sporting event, and yes, “civil war” is hyperbolic but sports marketing typically is. (“Fight of the Century!”) No one is pondering which side, the Ducks or the Beavers, represents the North or the South when they get together to play football every year. I’ve been aware of the Civil War, Ducks v. Beavers, since about 1975. Did I or anyone I know every think that this had anything whatsoever with the actual US Civil War?
God, I hope the answer is obvious.
“Changing this name is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “While not intended as reference to the actual Civil War…
Right. No thinking person took it that way.
…OSU sports competition should not provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history.
Translation: We are changing the name because some stupid people might think we’re being racist.
…That we did not act before to change the name was a mistake.
Translation: I do not want to be in the crosshairs of the Woke Language Police.
We do so now, along with other important actions to advance equal opportunity and justice for all and in recognition that Black Lives Matter.”
Translation: I really do not want to be in the crosshairs of the Woke Language Police.
This is the sort thing that does nothing to stop racism. People will accept it as positive step, but it’s not. It’s a meaningless step in combating racism and a step backwards in the inhibition of language—something far more serious that a football game. The schools can call their get-together whatever they like. One just wishes they wouldn’t pretend this change offers any benefit to society.