Roger Ebert on the Arizona Mural and Race...but...
In the comments section (he got LOT of comments), he says:
Comment: The hell it isn't a mascot, Roger. You can delude yourself however you want, but Chief Illiniwek fits the dictionary definition of "mascot." Therefore, it is one.
Until recently, all sorts of racist and stereotypical beliefs were seen as positive, or at least as harmless jokes. Now we know better. The only question is why you're clinging to this symbol of white power over Indians.
True, he says he agrees "ideologically" with the decision to retire the mascot. But the issue we're discussing is his ideological attachment to it. He loves the romantic image of the noble chief and hates the people who have criticized it.
Ebert's mascot worship
Amazing how people worship their stupid prejudices and stereotypes as if they're religious icons. Ebert is talking as if the Bible says homosexuals are sinners and Indians are Plains chiefs. As if God told him to honor Jesus and Chief Illiniwek in roughly that order.
Most of us went to high school and colleges that had sports mascots. These mascots supposedly represented our pride and spirit. We didn't take them too seriously because we were there to, you know, learn. Not to find a new identity based on the school's sports program.
In short, few of us fetishize our mascots the way Ebert has done. His views tell us a lot more about him than they do about the "self-righteous coalition" who challenged him. It's a freakin' circus clown, big boy. Get over it.
For more on the subject, see New Chief Illiniwek Chosen and Protesting the "Next Dance."
Below: The second coming of Jesus?