A group of students at Western Washington University say they want an animal or plant mascot instead of the Viking.

They are lauding the University of Washington's choice of Huskies and would like to suggest the "fern" as a possible substitute.

Personally, I think this is really, really silly.

In full disclosures allow me to say I support Kamiakin High School keeping the "Braves." Kamiakin fought against the white settlers, so honoring him or his braves is not insulting to Native Americans. He is remembered as a worthy adversary who represented his people well. To call oneself a Kamiakin Brave is to honor the Nez Perce, not mock or make caricatures of them.

And likewise, the communities that name themselves Vikings are not doing so because of their Scandinavian heritage. Indeed, most Scandinavians are not proud of the Vikings. Aside from the Norse Sagas, they too view them as the ancient equivalent of motorcycle gangs.

Mascots like "Vandals," "Vikings," "Raiders," and "Warriors" are depicting enemies of the people who chose them. They are not intended to be representative, they're supposed to be scary. Ferns aren't scary.

Gareth Copley, Getty Images