Snowball fight a success, should not be ended
To the Daily:
While there are reasonable complaints to be made about the annual South Quad-West Quad snowball fight, it was refreshing to see the police take a hands-off approach (A tradition turns violent, 02/22/07). Compare this to the severe measures taken to shut down the Naked Mile. Now many of the younger undergraduates have no idea that it ever even existed. It is sad to see traditions die. Please do not shut this one down.
Illini Chief a victim of NCAA double standard
To the Daily:
I’m going to say up front that I have a bias on the subject of this letter. My father is an alum of the University of Illinois, and I’ve grown up around numerous people who love the Chief. I would like to commend the Daily for giving a very balanced account of the retirement of the Chief (Last Dance for Chief Illiniwek, 02/22/07). I would also like to point out something that kind of bugs me about this whole ordeal.
There are plenty of offensive team names and mascots based on Native Americans (the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians come to mind), but they are out of the NCAA’s jurisdiction. But where are all the protesters when it comes to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who feature a diminutive leprechaun with raised fists as their mascot? I’m not Native American, so I can’t give any valid reason for why the Chief isn’t offensive. But I am Irish, and I don’t see how this double standard has gone unchecked for so long.
Personally, I am not offended by Notre Dame’s mascot. I think it looks silly, but I’m not going to protest. But I can see a few parallels between the arguments for the removal of Chief Illiniwek and arguments that could be made for protesting Notre Dame’s mascot. The leprechaun perpetuates the idea that all Irish people are short and violent, for one.
So why is Chief Illiniwek being retired while the Fighting Irish go on without any problem? If we are going to get rid of insensitive mascots, we need to get rid of all of them. The one explanation I could come up with is that Notre Dame is a private Catholic university, which I’m sure accepts many Irish students. Schools like Illinois, however, don’t have high numbers of Native American students, and thus their mascots aren’t representative of the student body. But that’s still a poor reason to allow some racially insensitive mascots, but not others.
Chief’s retirement necessary step in quest for progress
To the Daily:
In regards to the story about Chief Illiniwek (Last dance for Chief Illiniwek, 02/22/07), the reporter did a good job at not choosing a side on the issue. I only wish that there had been an explanation as to why this issue is such a big deal to the Native American community.
A Native Chief is more than someone with a large headdress who jumps around senseless like Illinois’s interpretation. He is a community and spiritual leader. As a Christian, I would have an problem if a student dressed as a priest jumped around before basketball games. If it were a Rabbi, then the institution would be considered anti-Semitic. But, because it is Native American, they call it tradition and think that it’s OK.
Until we can open our eyes and make some progress in the fight for true equality, we might as well be going backwards.