Black and Gold needs change


By Sabrina Williams

The cheerleaders lead the students in Black and Gold with their routine at one of the assemblies this year.

The Black and Gold has been McKinley High School’s fight song for years. This song is sung just as much as, if not more than our alma mater and can be heard during football games, bus rides and assemblies. Considering Black and Gold is sung by the whole school, it would make sense for the lyrics to acknowledge this diversity. The lyrics to this song, however, leave out almost half our school population, stating, “boys we’re back of you” and “fight boys to the last.” In order to accommodate all who sing this school song, “boys” should be changed to a term that includes all our students and alumni at McKinley.

Some may believe that changing the words in the song would be breaking tradition or altering the meaning of the lyrics. The Black and Gold’s message, which shows support of our athletes, would be preserved and improved if we changed one word to be more inclusive.

The football team sings both the alma mater and the fight song every day at practice. In order to include the females on the squad, the team decided to change the lyrics in 2017  from “boys” to “team.” This change was decided by the coaching staff and players to acknowledge the whole team, making sure nobody was left out.

Principal Ron Okamura said he believes there is no problem with altering “boys” in the Black and Gold if it kept the song’s message intact. However, he expressed concern that it would cause a domino effect of other changes. I believe if the changes are necessary, we should never hesitate out of fear to make them.

One example of a change made at MHS was McKinley’s Code of Honor. Previously, it was sung during graduation. However, the song included the word “God,” which violated the separation between church and state causing a family to challenge this tradition in court. The court ruled in favor of the family, and the Code of Honor is no longer an official part of the school. 

Not all changes are negative. We have the power to speak up when we believe something is not right, and we must use that power. The Black and Gold is an important, traditional song at McKinley. In order for us to include all who sing it, we should change “boys” to a more inclusive term.