Friday, February 16, 2007

The Chief Has Left the Building

Well, it finally happened. UIUC is finally getting rid of Chief Illiniwek as their mascot.

And it's about time, I say. Native Americans will never have the dignity and respect they deserve until we can completely forget that they ever existed.

10 comments:

Nicole said...

So what is the new proposed mascot? An animal? That's so stupid. I like chief and he will remain the mascot in my mind. I bet this made Natalie happy. HA. People will complain about anything. Gosh....

David Cintron said...

I'm still upset when I found out Belmont University's mascot used to be the Rebels. How great a mascot would that be, but I'm assuming people found it racially insensitive.

meera said...

here's my question to everyone who thinks this is super dumb: what if the mascot were something super personal to you? i will use an example dear to your heart, hal:what if a school's mascot was the "jumping jesus"? would you be offended seeing someone dressed up as jesus performing during halftime at basketball games? if you say no, then go for it and be as snide as you want about the removal of the chief. but if you are put off in the least, perhaps you should reconsider your snide remarks.

Hal said...

Offended? I might be offended.

Thankfully, whether or not something is offensive is not the limit of what is allowed. I may or may not be thrilled at some school known as the "Fightin' Jesuses," but there's nothing that legally says they can't.

And let's make sure we're careful about citing "offensiveness." How many people have to be offended for something to be removed? Even though the Native tribes now make a very small portion of the population, I think surveys said somewhere around 80% of them didn't find it offensive and didn't care. So, who are we catering to? White people who are being offended for the native americans? (Yes, you're not white, but I think my point still stands)

Hal said...

As an addendum, most of this stuff is done "for" the native americans. Giving them back dignity, doing something for their sake, such and such. Rhetoric.

If you really want to do something for native americans, try doing something about the rampant unemployment and alcoholism in their communities. College mascots are the least of their worries.

Anonymous said...

What if they kept the Chief mascot and just dropped the half time dance?

Then again, everything offends somebody...there has to be lines drawn. It's as bad as everything causes cancer....

meera said...

I may or may not be thrilled at some school known as the "Fightin' Jesuses," but there's nothing that legally says they can't

true. but the ncaa is a private organization and THEY can choose to institute bans on schools with mascots they don't like.


Even though the Native tribes now make a very small portion of the population, I think surveys said somewhere around 80% of them didn't find it offensive and didn't care. So, who are we catering to?

a) numbers without sources are worthless.

b)though relocated to oklahoma, the peoria tribe of indians are now the closest living descendants of the illiniwek confederacy. they have asked that the chief symbol be removed because "the image portrayed by Chief Illiniwek does not accurately represent or honor the heritage of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and is a degrading racial stereotype that reflects negatively on all American Indian people" (http://aistm.org/2000peoria.htm)

c) the chief's regalia was asked to be returned by the tribe who had originally given it to u of i. they feel as if it's being misused and misrepresents their tribe.
(http://www.nah.uiuc.edu/regalia.htm)

and finally d) a survey by indian country today, showed that 81% of respondents, who are all native american themselves, felt that native american mascots are offensive and 69% felt that they should be withdrawn. (http://www.allarm.org/articles/indiancountrytoday.html)


also, your addendum, while true, is entirely irrelevant to the discussion. it's not one or the other; you are presenting a false dilemma.

Hal said...

Hm . . . I'll have to figure out where I read that figure.

Still, I think my general reaction to the "OMG that's offensive!" portion is still, "so what?" Even if they do find it offensive, I'm not entirely certain why that should matter. But I'm a little more thick-skinned than most and rather detached from the situation, so I doubt that attitude is worth much.

However, I don't think my addendum is a false dilemma; one is clearly more important than the other, especially given the divergent levels of attention and energy given to the two issues. I'd liken it to giving a homeless man a makeover; he could probably use it, but it doesn't really address his biggest issues.

meera said...

till, I think my general reaction to the "OMG that's offensive!" portion is still, "so what?" Even if they do find it offensive, I'm not entirely certain why that should matter.

what's your view on blackface?

as far as the false dilemma, the point is not the weighted importance of each. it's just that there is no reason you can't both retire the mascot for sensitivity reasons AND set up an AA program on a reservation. you don't have to choose one of the other.

Hal said...

what's your view on blackface?

Well, back in the day, I think it was just used because they wouldn't hire black actors. Now, it's just something people use for racist humor. Although, I don't hear much about blackface anymore. Did you ever see "White Chicks"?

In any case, my general approach to offensive speech is to ignore it. Generally.

And going back to the false dilemma, I'll agree that there's no reason a person can't do both, but which one receives more attention? Just because both can be done doesn't mean both are being done, or at least done with the effort they deserve.