Redmen, seminoles, and savages: The scourges of academe

Published 5 years ago -  - 5y ago 38


Image courtesy of Tom Woodward under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Honchos with the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced last week a rather bold, yet strange step to eliminate “hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery” by banning such public displays at all of its 88 NCAA championships.

Bold, because the Executive Committee named names and pointed fingers. Strange, because the NCAA did not ban the practice during the regular season.

The policy prohibiting the 18 schools from hosting NCAA championship competitions becomes effective February 1, 2006. The new policy also requires the institutions to take reasonable steps to hide the offending references at the predetermined NCAA championship sites already awarded, effective the same date.

The committee also strongly suggested the schools follow the best practices of institutions, such as the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin, that do not support the use of Native American mascots or imagery. Those schools refuse to play opponents deemed politically incorrect.

And, just who are these scourges of academe? According to the NCAA, the Gang of 18 comprises the Alcorn State University Braves; the Central Michigan University Chippewas; the Catawba College Indians; the Florida State University Seminoles; the Midwestern State University Indians; the University of Utah Utes; the Indiana University-Pennsylvania Indians; the Carthage College Redmen; the Bradley University Braves; the Arkansas State University Indians; the Chowan College Braves; the University of Illinois-Champaign Illini; the University of Louisiana-Monroe Indians; the McMurry University Indians; the Mississippi College Choctaws; the Newberry College Indians; the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux; and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savages.

Meantime, Florida State University president T. K. Wetherell is out for someone’s scalp, saying FSU is “stunned” by the NCAA’s “complete lack of appreciation for cultural diversity.”  In a news releaseissued by the university, Wetherell noted the NCAA suggestion that FSU is hostile and abusive toward the Seminole Tribe of Florida “is both outrageous and insulting.” Citing the June 17 Tribal Council support for FSU’s use of the Seminole name and related symbols, the school’s chief said he will pursue all legal avenues to overturn the policy.

“The rules as we understand them would have us cover the Seminole name and symbol as if we were embarrassed, and any committee that would think that is a proper and respectful treatment of Native Americans should be ashamed,” Wetherell said.

I have some Native-American blood pulsing through my veins, yet I pitch my tent with the overwhelming majority of Native Americans cited by FSU who are not offended by the use of Native-American names and symbols.

Well, except for that goofy logo used by the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team.

I also have quite a bit of Chinese blood, and I admit to being a bit miffed at the folks in Pekin, Ill. This little Central Illinois town used to call its high school the Pekin Chinks. That’s right. Chinks. Because some nutcase told them Pekin (short for Peking) is directly opposite the earth from the former Peking, China, now Beijing.

Of course, that begs the question of why town leaders don’t changed the name to Beijin.

The Chinks changed their mascot to the Dragons about 20 years ago. That move led to a thriving underground economy dealing in all kinds of contraband, from Chink t-shirts to Chink letter jackets, proudly worn by former Chinks and Chinklettes.

But enough of this. What inquiring minds want to know is: who’s next? Will folks demand schools stop exploiting ancient Jewish patriots (Yeshiva Maccabees); pickles (North Carolina School of Arts Fighting Pickles); Lutherans (Pacific Lutheran Lutes); Methodists (Ohio Weslyan Battling Bishops); nads (Rhode Island School of Design Nads, whose fans delight in chanting “Go Nads!”); obscure alloys (St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectic); stupid people who can’t spell (Sam Houston State Bearkats); long-haired biblical strongmen (Gogebic Samsons, whose female athletes are the Lady Samsons); Teutonic opera characters (Heidelberg Student Princes); ancient sackers of Rome (Idaho Vandals); lawless, feuding families (Iowa Western Reivers); and prestidigitators (Lemoyne-Owen Magicians)?

Or, condoms, as my golf pro Phil Lactic, reminded me. “That’s right, rascal wrappers,” he told me today over some cold Shiner Bocks at Sparky’s Diner. “As in the University of Southern California Trojans, who are very sensitive about this issue. Especially when they go up against the South Carolina Gamecocks.”

You must forgive him. After all, he was lubed.

Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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