October 05, 2009

Protesting the "Next Dance"

Not Our Mascot Rally

By Brian DolinarMore than 200 people marched across the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to protest the return of its racist mascot, “the Chief,” which was retired by the Board of Trustees in February 2007.

For the second year a registered student organization, Students for Chief Illiniwek, has rented Assembly Hall to hold an event called “The Next Dance” for those who wish to see the mascot’s return. The University of Illinois continues to refuse to educate its students about the reason for the mascot’s retirement, or enforce its trademark on the image.
And:As they marched, they crowd chanted, “One, two, three, four. Who is the Chief dancing for? Five, six, seven, eight. Not for us. Stop the hate!”

The group marched to Swanlund Administration building to deliver a petition to Chancellor Herman calling for the university to take action to retire its racist mascot once and for all. The march continued past Newman Center where a group of young white men stood yelling “Chief” and doing the “tomahawk chop.”

Comment:  Love how the Chief's fans "respect and honor" Indians: by shouting "Chief!" and doing tomahawk chops at actual Indians. That pretty much says it all.

Some videos from the protest show Indians saying Chief Illiniwek doesn't honor them. So much for the claim that without the Chief, people would forget about Indians in Illinois. All these people have to do is walk 100 feet to meet the "vanishing breed."

But I found these videos of white fans the most interesting:

A "Chief" fans explain their reverence for the mascot. Note the woman who ends up sounding almost racist. The Chief is a great symbol, she says, but her son has met some Indians in South Dakota. He's learned to dislike Indians because of their "irresponsible choices." In other words, fake Indians = good, real Indians = bad.

A "Chief" fan offers his perspective.

These fans offer the usual irrational and incoherent defenses of Chief Illiniwek. The interviewer asks some challenging questions, but lets the fans off the hook when they don't answer.

About the only point worth mentioning is this fan's "Get a life" defense. The US is fighting wars and suffering a recession, he notes, so don't mascot foes have more important things to do?

Hello? The University of Illinois retired Chief Illiniwek more than two years ago. Mascot foes aren't demanding further changes, they're defending the no-mascot status quo. They're asking why the university is letting a "retired" mascot use its athletic facilities.

Chief Illiniwek's supporters are the only ones bitching and moaning now. They're the only ones trying to reverse the school's decision and restore their beloved mascot. Why don't these crybabies do something more useful with their time and energy? Why don't they get a life?

Finally, someone tells it like it is:

Zach speaks about his own education on the mascot issue.

For more on the subject, see Barnhill Speech at "Next Dance" and "Next Dance" Is Educational?!

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