Wyoming's Cowboy Slogan Called ‘Racist’

“The world needs more cowboys,” the new slogan at the University of Wyoming, is drawing criticism as racist, sexist and counterproductive to recruiting out-of-state students. ( University of Wyoming )

A new slogan at the University of Wyoming – “The world needs more cowboys” – is drawing criticism as racist, sexist and counterproductive to recruiting out-of-state students.

Associate professor Christine Porter told The Laramie Boomerang the new slogan evokes images of stereotypical western icons in the minds of some faculty and misrepresents UW’s research and educational goals.

“I care most about our university having a slogan that makes all people feel welcome here,” Porter said. “That’s what I care most about. I also care about us not embarrassing ourselves as an institution across the nation. However proud this state is of our cowboy tradition, it just does not translate outside the Rocky Mountain West.”

The objections are two-fold. Porter said the slogan both fails to be inclusive and fails to accurately represent UW to those outside Wyoming.

“For me, the clearest reason it’s unacceptable is the word ‘boy,’ excluding anyone who identifies as female,” she said.

The UW Committee on Women and People of Color also object to the new slogan. The organization wrote a letter to UW Director of Communications Chad Baldwin and University president Laurie Nichols, asking them to “shelve that slogan and find another one that represents the diversity of people and cultures that we have, and want to have, at UW.”

Faculty Senate Chair Donald O’Toole told The Boomerang he shared Porter’s concern about the baggage that so often comes with the term “cowboy” thanks to media depictions.

“It means someone who just kind of takes risks and can sometimes be a knucklehead,” he said. “Now, that’s not how cowboys are seen here, but the university really needs to balance the positive image that cowboys have here with the possibly negative image that cowboys may have elsewhere in the country, especially if they’re interested in bringing in a higher proportion of out-of-state students.”

The slogan is part of a $1.4 million investment to advertise to prospective students in and outside Wyoming. The university paid a Colorado marketing firm $500,000 to develop the campaign.

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Submitted by Graybull on Mon, 07/09/2018 - 16:19

Pray tell what this story has to do with the beef industry?

Submitted by TeddyWayne on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:49

If you don't know, you wouldn't understand.

In reply to by Graybull (not verified)

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Submitted by American on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:34

What heck is wrong with this country? More whiners being produced by so called educators.

Submitted by Robert on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:40

As I am sure you know, they aren't educators but propogandists taht are producing these whiners.

In reply to by American (not verified)

Submitted by Michelle on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:40

Ridiculous! My parents graduated from there after my Father served in the Armed Forces and my Grandparents worked hard every day in oilfields, with no ACA, no entitlements, and no passes for unemployment! If that is what they consider 'racist', then those saying that need to go. There will be no rest with these folks until there is one world order - theirs! Monument removal, Columbus Day, American History - is there no end to it!

Submitted by Michelle on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:42

...and my Grandfather took two rounds of fire in the 'Lost Battalion' of WW1. Let's see those taking the knee during the national anthem and complaining and whining about what they don't have, go into live battle to earn their freedom of speech, regardless of how ridiculous it is! Leave Wyoming and Cowboys alone.

In reply to by Michelle (not verified)

Submitted by Cory on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:45

Apparently someone thinks an alternate slogan like, “the world needs more University of Wyoming advanced degree holders,” will attract more people than the catchy slogan based on the University of Wyoming mascot. If the University of West Virginia used a similar slogan based on the university mascot, “the world needs more mountaineers,” would there be an outcry of offended people that live in cities and flatlands??? Probably. Unfortunately, in today’s world, someone is going to find a reason to be upset with just about anything. Pathetic.

Submitted by craigermt on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:49

This is what happens when you hire East Coast bigots.

Submitted by Bill on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:31

Liberalism is destroying this great country.

Submitted by TeddyWayne on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:48

Such a simple slogan based on a simple mascot. Proof positive that anyone can be offended by absolutely anything in this day and age......

Submitted by Christine on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:54

I am from Wyoming and I am a girl. What happened to the fact that it is a way of life and a code of ethics that is associated with "Cowboys". Why are we as a nation so worried about gender and race but not living up to the standards of the cowboy's. Be kind to your neighbor and animals, say please and thank you and above all be thankful for the each and every day you are on this great earth. Quit taking things so literal people.

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:54

Racist?? I don't understand. Guess I'm not touchy- feely enough to understand. Or maybe some over think how every word might offend others. Right is right, what others think doesn't change the that.

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:59

I’m sick and tried of people whining about having their feelings hurt over words that describe our history. Cowboys are ones that built the West. Cowboys are the ones that brings dinner to the table. Cowboys are the ones that work 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week in rain, sun, snow, freezing weather. Cowboys are the ones that are the caretakers of the livestock and yes even the wildlife. It takes a certain person to be a cowboy and I would be proud to have my son or daughter take the nickname cowboy.

By the way I graduated a CSU ram.

Submitted by Wes Klett on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:03

To me there is so much wrong with this objection to UW's advertising slogan, "the world needs more cowboys". While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I think some go too far in their aversion to using any term which can constitute gender. Porter is offended by the word "boy" in "cowboy" and one would assume she would similarly be offended by "girl" in cowgirl or "son" in "cowperson". Her objection to this word would then apply to the nickname "cowboy" in general for UW. Where does it stop and what alternatives are we left with to describe this icon of the American West which happens to be where Laramie is? Now to Donald O'Toole's comment, "It means someone who just kind of takes risks and can sometimes be a knucklehead". This is personally offensive to me and would be to most "cowboys" I know. Stereotyping an entire genre of people with this type of comment as he alludes to in his next quote, "Now, that’s not how cowboys are seen here, but the university really needs to balance the positive image that cowboys have here with the possibly negative image that cowboys may have elsewhere in the country", is particularly offensive. It implies that you will slide on your opinion of the "cowboys" at UW, but not the hundreds of thousands across the country. This young man (hopefully it is ok to use that term without offending Porter) should be asked by the UW administration to apologize to all cowboys across the country.

Submitted by Roy Williams on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:44

Hopefully the University will stand up to the whining. No, there is not a lot of demand for 19th century cowboys, but we desperately need the tough spirit, can overcome any obstacle attitude associated with the iconic American Cowboy. University of Wyoming, please stand firm against this nonsense! The whining political correctness crowd needs show a little literacy and expand their outlook beyond the literal meaning of words.

Submitted by Al on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:45

We really need more cowboy logic, keep it simple and solve it

Submitted by Fedup on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:53

I can see how all of the students that were going to transfer from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, etc. won't be going there now because of the slogan!

Submitted by Chet on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:02

It sounds like UW needs to get rid of a pile of commies who have taken over the faculty. There is nothing wrong with the slogan. If there are any PC snowflakes who get their panties in a bunch over the slogan, they need to leave Wyoming and return to their safe place.

Submitted by Byron on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:08

Christine Porter needs to go down the hall to a history class. The "boy" in cowboy doesn't exclusively refer to a male. Its also a verb, and many women that work on ranches identify as cowboys, based on the job they are doing, and look upon cowgirl as an inappropriate description of their work duties. So Christine, its time to learn a little about historic western heritage and perhaps go out and meet the very men AND women that spend their lives cowboying every day.

Submitted by Byron on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:08

Christine Porter needs to go down the hall to a history class. The "boy" in cowboy doesn't exclusively refer to a male. Its also a verb, and many women that work on ranches identify as cowboys, based on the job they are doing, and look upon cowgirl as an inappropriate description of their work duties. So Christine, its time to learn a little about historic western heritage and perhaps go out and meet the very men AND women that spend their lives cowboying every day.

Submitted by Matt on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:46

Omg get a Life. If they don't like the slogan, probably don't need to go to college there.

Submitted by Cindy Ridenour on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:38

I am from Wyoming, and proud of our cowboy heritage. What I want to know is why our great state paid a marketing firm from Colorado to develop our slogan and strategy for us? Ridiculous!!

Submitted by Lee Greninger on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:58

Who would want to be associated with anyone so stupid and hung-up that they view this slogan as racist? Can this country get any more divided over this B.S?

Submitted by John on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 13:17

Weak. Absolutely weak.

Submitted by John on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 13:17

Weak. Absolutely weak.

Submitted by Scott on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:30

U of Wy, your administration has been infiltrated by the PC liberal culture. Stay true to yourselves. Time to let go of this 'President'.

Submitted by Oginga on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:51

Not being inclusive is not necessarily racist. Knucklehead slogan if meant for folks outside Wyoming!

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:21

Wow, can people please just get over themselves and quit inventing things to get worked up over.

Submitted by American on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:31

Are they going to hand out diplomas or just give everyone certificates of participation? I get so disgusted with the politically correct weasels in this country. Built on hard work and sweat. I can hear what my grandfather would've said to me working fence in this heat if I started whining. I would have been out there an hour longer. Kept my mouth shut..

Submitted by Kate on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 14:43

Here is the winner from an annual contest, the entry of which arises from another "cowboy" state - Texas.

Political Correctness.

Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

In reply to by American (not verified)

Submitted by Gary on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:40

I for one like the slogan, agree that the world needs more Cowboys and less academic derelicts like these 2.

Submitted by Roberto on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 19:37

When I think about cowboys the first things that come to my mind are loyalty, hard work, commitment, freedom and honor.
I don't understand what the problem is if some other parts of the country don't agree with this principles.

Submitted by Jake on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:23

I have been saying it for the last 20 years. there is 2 countries in the USA, the East and west coasts are one and the land between the Rockies and Appalachians is another. The sooner the coastal areas either succeed or are booted out of our great the republic the better. This being offended at every little thing is a product of "coast idiocy"! Enough is enough.

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:55

As long as people pay attention and give credibility to people who are this childish and ignorant then we will keep getting complaints and protests that are this childish and ignorant.....

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:55

As long as people pay attention and give credibility to people who are this childish and ignorant then we will keep getting complaints and protests that are this childish and ignorant.....

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:55

As long as people pay attention and give credibility to people who are this childish and ignorant then we will keep getting complaints and protests that are this childish and ignorant.....

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:55

As long as people pay attention and give credibility to people who are this childish and ignorant then we will keep getting complaints and protests that are this childish and ignorant.....

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 21:01

I just posted once, by the way......don't know what is wrong...but I do know this woman(the associate professor) is not intelligent enough to be what she is supposed to be!

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 21:01

I just posted once, by the way......don't know what is wrong...but I do know this woman(the associate professor) is not intelligent enough to be what she is supposed to be!

Submitted by common tater on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 21:01

I just posted once, by the way......don't know what is wrong...but I do know this woman(the associate professor) is not intelligent enough to be what she is supposed to be!

Submitted by Cowboy on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 23:20

What in the cockadoodle is wrong with these liberal complainers today. Did someone steal your star for attention. Boo hoo!!! UW stick to you roots and morales and you'll be training the type of people smart enough to know crap when they are stepping in it. If the others don' t like it go work somewhere in candy land.

Submitted by bob on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 00:28

had no idea that cowboy was a race.
Secondly if this person knew their history they would know that a large number of cowboys were black. Marginalizing the term cowboy therefor would be defamatory towards black heritage.

Submitted by Claudia on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:43

Believe me the world would be much better if there were MORE COWBOYS and a whole lot less of these whiny whimps who are teaching in our public institutions!
GO COWBOYS!!
By the way, I am a Wyoming resident and a taxpayer and if you don't appreciate our way of life please leave and take your discriminatory ideas with you.

Submitted by Sharon Karpinski on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:03

Outside cowboy country, the "cowboy" concept is 'way different than it is to those of us who live in the mountain west. My only objection to the slogan is that most of the cowboys I know are female---women with decades spent on a horse who run ranches after they outlived their husbands. However---"cowperson country" sounds ridiculous.

Submitted by Kate on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 14:32

My family has been in Wyoming since it became a state. We do not need this "inclusive" "you hurt my feelings" BS in Wyoming. Only in Wyoming do the women also have 'nads. Wyoming women are strong, not easily bullied - if you are, get out - and are not so overly sensitive that people have to watch what they say. Women in Wyoming "cowboy" (that would be a verb to all you academics) right along side men to get the job done. The fact that "Wyoming Equality" has hijacked our "Equality State" motto shows that "these" people are not going to stop until everyone is a sissy, unable to care for or defend themselves - a liberal agenda. DO NOT come here and try to change MY state. This is the problem with bringing outsiders in to run our only university. This is an election year, Wyoming. Make sure you are voting for those who will preserve our "live and let live" tradition without unnecessary, unwanted interference from people who have come here and claim to know what needs to be done to make Wyoming a better place. If Wyoming is so bad, why did they all come? All of the roads that come into Wyoming go out as well. If someone does not like Wyoming JUST THE WAY SHE IS, please leave. We are the last bastion against the liberalism that is strangling this country.

Submitted by Kate on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 15:04

Ms Porter should also "ruminate" (get it, all you academics?) on this. Cowboys understand that there are two genders; and rightly so. It would be really difficult to put food on Ms. Porter's table if cattle, chicken, hogs, etc. only "identified" as female.

Submitted by Kate on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 15:09

Last post. I did not mean to dominate this forum. However, being a Wyoming cowboy and female I know crap when I step in it and it angers me when I have to scrape it off my boots! Ms. Porter needs to pack her bags and go back where she came from, taking the other PC liberals that have infiltrated the University with her.
I do not want another dime of my tax money going to the University until it has been purged of this disease and I will be contacting my elected officials about that . . .

Submitted by Robert Knight on Thu, 07/12/2018 - 07:10

This woman is sexist and simply pushing a feminist agenda. Oh wait, sexism can only be directed towards women. Right? LMFAO