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Friday, August 05, 2005

I don't respect you - so I make you my mascot?

I understand (but do not necessarily agree with) the desire to sanitize all of life, to ensure that no one is insulted in life. This has been the case with Native American mascots in highschool, college, and professional sports. Because one or a few folks will be insulted that a school uses a native american symbol as their mascot, the mascot must be changed.

This, of course, only holds for Native Americans - not Irish, people from Troy, Sparta, farmers, patriots, or state militia (although some are insulted by state militia).

The NCAA is not so subtely sending the message to its member schools. Change your mascot or lose the opportunity to host post season events, and perhaps eventually lose out on the ability to participate in post season events. Story here.

Does anyone even know that Illinois is the French (yes, French!) name for the native tribes of the area? That the Fighting Illini mascot represents a native American tribe that is extinct? When the name is changed to the Illinois Eagles, we will have lost at least the tenuous connection and historical reminder the mascot provided. Perhaps we should have a society that would remember the Illini without the connection to a sports team, but we know that it will never happen - so ban the mascots, remove the Native American even more from the public mind - sounds like a plan to me.

Is a mascot something to be jeered or revered?

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