May 15, 2014

"Siouxper Drunk" = hostile and abusive

Several commenters blame the "Siouxper Drunk" t-shirt incident on UND's Fighting Sioux nickname and mascot. Rightly so, I'd say.

Super Dumb at UND: It's Hard to Shake the Racism You've Enabled For So Long[A]s recent events show, these things never go away without resistance from nostalgic students and alumni who profess the name and image aren't racist. "It's a tribute to Native Americans," is a typical argument from those who'd keep names and imagery that many Natives find objectionable, whether it's the Fighting Sioux or the Washington Redskins.

But it's hard to claim a bunch of white kids wearing "Siouxper Drunk" t-shirts is a tribute to anything. This illustrates a point sometimes lost in debates over Native mascots: The players, coaches and school administrators (or in the case of the Washington Redskins, team brass and owner Dan Snyder) may sincerely feel they do not bear American Indians any ill will. But they're only part of the story--a team name or mascot doesn't just belong to the team and its authorized representatives. It also belongs to the fans. And by using a mascot that is based on someone's racial identity, the organization is setting the stage for fan behavior that is undoubtedly racist.

"Siouxper Drunk" t-shirts, fans attending games in redface, opposing fans comparing a football game to the Trail of Tears, restaurants touting team pride with talk of "scalping" and "firewater"--these are all things that fans do, unsanctioned by the school or pro team they profess to like. And they're all racist.

And they could all be avoided if the organizations would do the responsible thing and abandon their Native team names and imagery.
After offensive T-shirt incident, UND administration tries to respond to demand for action

By Anna BurlesonThe University of North Dakota has held plenty of events promoting diversity, but Damien Webster, a senior majoring in Indian studies, said the only time he has seen big crowds is when student attendance was mandatory.

“There needs to be a lot of education across the board,” he said. “We all stick to our own and we need to open up.”

He is among many American Indian students on campus asking the administration to mandate sensitivity training and toughen consequences for racially insensitive acts, such as the “Siouxper drunk” T-shirts worn Saturday at an event popular with students.

It was the latest of several high-profile incidents over the years that have embarrassed the university and upset Indians on campus.
And:At UND, many Native Americans have long made the connection between racially insensitive incidents and the university’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, which were retired at the end of 2012 because the NCAA considers them offensive. Indians on campus continue to ask the administration to denounce the nickname and logo.

That argument has echoed far beyond North Dakota. Recently, the popular animated comedy show “Family Guy” had a throw-away gag where “Drunky the Indian,” a fictional mascot from “Dakota University,” appeared at a college fair, yelling out “Look how drunk I am! This is important for sports!”

Johnson said UND has no control over clothing and other merchandise bearing the nickname and logo that were manufactured before the university forbade it. Some of that merchandise continues to be sold. “There’s nothing we can do about that,” he said.

The administration did seem to anticipate some of the recent troubles, though.

It decided to hire the diversity executive last year, months before the latest incident. According to Johnson, Sandra Mitchell’s job when she starts in a few months will be to devise a plan to establish concrete ways to make UND a more inclusive campus.

Does the use of Native American mascots lead to racist debacles like ‘Siouxper Drunk’?

By Abby PhillipThe episode comes just two years after the university retired its Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo in the wake of intense NCAA pressure. But after more than 80 years of using the mascot, it is perhaps no surprise that these old habits are dying an embarrassingly painful death.

North Dakotans were dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that it was time to retire their mascot. The NCAA determined in 2005 that “hostile and abusive” mascots such as UND’s needed to become a thing of the past; the State of North Dakota sued on behalf of the North Dakota state board of higher education and UND to keep the “Fighting Sioux,” and the state legislature passed a law forbidding the school from retiring the name. The state’s law was eventually reversed.
And:The “Siouxper Drunk” controversy is just one of several recent incidents on the UND campus that prompted a group of Native students to write a scathing letter that blamed the university for being “complicit” in acts of racial insensitivity on campus, and for failing to put forward concrete solutions.

“The problem,” the letter said, “is clearly systemic.”

But the incident highlights the difficulty of policing “appropriate” uses of Native imagery and names. Can sports teams claim to use them without racist intent, but still distance themselves from the people who do?
Thanks for a perfect example of the "hostile and abusive" environment the NCAA criticized, #SiouxperDrunk students. Case closed on how the harm goes beyond the playing field--how it permeates the student body, the alumni, the entire community.

More charges of racism

Drunk College Students Mock Native Americans In Most Offensive Way Possible

By Smriti SinhaThe behavior exemplified by the UND students, coupled with the reappropriation of Native American cultural traditions common in entertainment and fashion, highlights a continued ignorance and insensitivity among Americans regarding Native Americans. Last year, for example, an Alabama high school put up a big banner saying, "Hey Indians, Get Ready to Leave in a Trail of Tears, Round 2."

These types of references aren't clever, they're not cute and they're certainly not funny.
“Siouxper Drunk” T-Shirts Helped Fighting Sioux Nickname Opponents

By Dr. Erich LongieAs far as racism goes, it doesn’t get much uglier than the “Siouxper drunk” T-shirts incident that happened at UND over the weekend. As proof of the extreme racist nature of the incident, conservative, talk show hosts, bloggers, and other non-Indians are coming forward to vigorously and stridently defend this shameful and disgusting incident. In typical fashion, they will try to drown out voices who disagree with them.

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