Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Chief Illiniwek RIP
Normally, I couldn't care less about what Illinois University decides to do with the mascot they choose to represent them.... They could go by the Illinois University Flying King Weasels as far as I'm concerned.
However, I read this article about the retirement of Chief Illiniwek and the smell of hypocrisy is worse than the smell of a south Chicago landfill on a hot August day.
Where to start. Well, let's start with the NCAA.
The NCAA has threatened all Division I schools with offensive nicknames by not allowing those schools to host NCAA sanctioned tournaments and championships. They've threatened sanctions on the University of North Dakota for their use of the nickname "The Fighting Sioux" despite the fact that Sioux tribal leaders have endorsed the University's use of the nickname as non offensive and a positive promotion of the tribe. The NCAA comes back with "No, It's surely offensive to you folks. You must be too dumb to realize it."
So how does that relate to IU? The NCAA is going to allow IU to keep the Illini nickname despite the obvious naming after a native American tribe because "it's short for Illinois and the school can use the term Fighting Illini, because it's considered a reference to the team's competitive spirit. Yeah, I can now see why tribes are disgusted..... all those references to competitive spirit and all is surely offensive.
Why is it that Illini is not offensive to native Americans when it's clearly derived from the tribal name but Warriors is offensive when it has no reference to a tribe at all. Could it be that Illinois has more pull than Marquette, Hawaii, and UND. Nah... It has to be principal. Right?
Now let's hit the "Activists". The most persuasive argument these people offer is that we don't nickname teams with caricatures of other ethnic groups such as the fighting Jews, or Zulu's etc., Well, have you ever heard of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Western Washington Vikings or the Monmouth College Fighting Scots? I bet all those Northern Europeans are pissed as hell at the disrepect.
If it's so offensive, why is it that schools on the rez all have these nicknames?
By the way, what do we do with all these state names? Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, the Dakotas are all tribal names. We obviously don't have states named after other ethnic groups so let's change those names as well.
For that matter, what about all those streets in the 'hood where I grew up, Shoshonee, Cherokee, Wyandot, Miami, Shawnee, Mohawk etc. Ohhhh, the disrespect is everywhere!
The fact is, there is a country where all the names of minority groups where eliminated just like this. The country? Bosnia. Only there they called it Ethnic Cleansing which is what the Native Americans would be calling it if Anglos were leading the charge on this.
In any event, if my almamater is interested in renaming their nickname I think the $250.00 I've donated over the years warrants changing the name to the "Fighting Gekkos".