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Sunday, August 07, 2005

No more mocking 'honouring' Aboriginals 

Steve Gilliard points to this Driftglass post which discusses the Illinois reaction to a recent NCAA ruling barring the use of Aboriginal stereotypes in mascots and team nicknames at NCAA championship events.
It is the best reply I have ever read to all the whining we hear whenever anyone suggests that an Aboriginal team name or mascot should be changed -- and just about every Canadian city has at least one.
"But we can still mock the Coloreds, right? Sorry, not 'mock'. Didn't mean 'mock'. What's that other word? 'Honor'! Yeah...that's it.
. . . the University of Illinois ' the Fighting Illini ' has a mascot, 'Chief' Illiniwek, who gambols festively around in fake war paint and fake headdress to get the kinder fired up at football games . . . Various members of the alumni and student body cannot understand why anyone would find having a fake Chief offensive. The love their lil' mascot. He dances so damned purdy and delights the children with his funny, Injun antics. Various other members of the human race cannot understand how alumni, students and the Board of Trustees - degree-holders all - can possibly be such fucking, racist morons. Petitions were filed. Protests were staged. Embarrassing local and national stories were written...and it didn't matter one little bit . . .
And there is nothing quite so bile-churning as seeing a fat-assed, pasty-white Archie Bunker with a diploma and an ill-fitting suit lecture Native Americans on what they should and should not find offensive. After all, ordering brown people around, and killing as many of them as necessary to get the job done when they forget their place and start getting uppity...this is the White Man's Burden. We've got a hundred million ungrateful sand niggers to kill or 'democratize' or Manifest Cuisinart or 'globally struggle against' or whateverthefuck brand name we’re using to market our Saint Petro’s Crusade to the rubes this week...so where the Hell do these red devils get off screwing with the White Man’s Privilege of making them dance by proxy for the White Man’s amusement.
. . . I swear, these people are just hopeless. A different and impregnably ignorant species. From flying the American Swastika as a sign of Southern Pride to shit like this, they burn with a bright, white flame for the good, old Antebellum days of Caucasian License to do whatever they damned well please. Like the water empires of a different age – these self-contained racist niche-ecologies, large and small, never ever change without a boot in the ass. As long as bigots are free to keep handing down the reigns to the Sons of Bigots unmolested, simple appeals to conscience and humanity will always fail. Their consciences are damaged – perhaps irreparably -- and in their hierarchy of humanity, they believe that God or Evolution or Daddy (who is a little bit of both) has placed them at the very tippy-top of the apex, and that "good”, “bad” and “hateful” are whatever they decide they are.

Yes, we've seen the same arguments and excuses across Canada when anyone dared to suggest that a team's Aboriginal-based name might be just a bit, well, insulting? demeaning? unacceptable? dare I say, racist? - unless its a team representing a reserve school or an Aboriginal organization or the team is more than half Aboriginal kids.
And don't tell me "well, then we have to change all the names because maybe the Irish are upset about the "fighting Irish" type of names, too." Yes, so go ahead and change these names too, if you want. But that other ethnic groups may also be upset about other derisive nicknames is hardly an argument against changing the Aboriginal names.
And don't tell me "well, the [Aboriginal organization/students] said they didn't mind!" Oh yeah, I'm sure they don't feel any pressure at all when the local radio talk show host or the mayor or the school board chair calls them up and says "Everybody wants to keep the name XXX and it would cost a lot to change it now and people would be really pissed off, so you don't mind us keeping it, do you?"
It takes leadership just to go ahead and change it, just because its the right thing to do.

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