A Pacific Northwest-based racial equality advocacy group has asked the Cowlitz Black Bears of the West Coast League to change their name on the grounds that it is racially divisive and excludes bears of other colors. 

The Cascade Bear Advocacy Group, also known as CBAG, has sent a letter to the Cowlitz Black Bears organization, as well as the WCL commissioner, requesting that the team consider change their name in the near future. The group states that Cowlitz’s current nickname is exclusionary toward bears of different colors, such as brown bears and white bears, and also perpetuates aggressive stereotypes of black bears. 

“We’ve asked the Cowlitz Baseball Team to reconsidered their name in order to be more welcoming to members of our diverse community,” stated CBAG president Jordan Kermode. “We don’t believe the Cowlitz Baseball Team is meaning any harm with their name selection. However, their name is indirectly dividing the bear community and perpetuating outdated stereotypes that have no place in the modern day.”

Kermode, who resides just outside of Vancouver, states that members of his group have contacted him in the past regarding Cowlitz’s nickname and its effect on them.

“I’ve had a handful of our community members reach out to us recently regarding their name. They all stated it made them uncomfortable and not welcomed at a Cowlitz game because their racial identity does not align with their name. I’ve also had some of my black bear friends, which I have many of, say they don’t like the nickname because it perpetuates an aggressive alpha male stereotype they see as outdated. ”

CBAG have asked Cowlitz to remove “Black” from their name in order for certain members of the community to once again feel welcomed. 

CBAG also stated they are in discussions with the Pacific Northwest Wolf Equality Coalition over whether or not to request the Gresham GreyWolves to change their name on the grounds of racial divisiveness as well.