May 07, 2008

"Fear the Spear" no more

Morris:  A change in name only

The reasons for Newberry’s name about-face are less than commendableAs much as I would like to sing the praises of the school for finally caving to the NCAA’s mandate—on behalf of Native American tribes nationwide—to eliminate the offensive nickname, I cannot do it. Newberry officials are making the change for the wrong reason.

“Absolutely not,” were the words of Chuck Wendt, the school’s vice president for institutional advancement, when asked if Newberry finally had conceded that calling its teams Indians might be offensive or racist.
And:“In the final decision, the board centered (on) what is right for the kids,” Wendt said. “That’s the important thing, the student-athletes. It wouldn’t be fair to them not to allow them to be able to host playoff games, or they would have to cover up their ‘Indian’ name with duct tape if they went some place to play.”

Actually, what is right for the student-athletes is for the board of trustees to show some integrity and strong leadership skills. The board should recognize that using arrowheads in logos, celebrating with “war chants” and calling its teams Indians is no way to honor Native Americans.
Here's an example of how the college "honored" Indians:Newberry is reluctantly removing its previous nickname and logos from its uniforms and arenas. “Fear the Spear” will no longer be a battle cry at athletic events, and the football coach’s cell phone ring tone no longer should be a “war chant.”Comment:  Honoring Indians by portraying them as spearchuckers...sigh.

So Newberry celebrated Indians' bravery by crying "Fear the spear!" It celebrated their tenacity with "war chant" ringtones. And how did it celebrate their waving scalps? Maybe some mock rapes to celebrate their respect for women?

I could go on.

How pathetic are these rationalizations for the perpetuation of racist and stereotypical imagery? Very. It amazes me that stupid schools like Newberry keep claiming that savage spearchucking is a sign of respect and honor, but they do.

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