May 16, 2014

Natives protest "Siouxper Drunk" t-shirts

Native students and others planned a walk to protest the "Siouxper Drunk" t-shirts at UND. Before the walk:

UND administrators to attend Walk for Change protest after shirt incidentUND Provost Tom DiLorenzo, Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor and other university administrators will participate in a protest walk held by American Indian students, the university said Thursday.

The walk was planned when UND officials did not take immediate action after students and others wore offensive T-shirts to a Saturday event popular with students.

Since then, UND officials, including President Robert Kelley, have condemned the shirts and said they would investigate the incident.

On Thursday, the university said administrators will attend the protest “to show our support and allegiance in combating prejudice and intolerance in our community, state, and world.”
‘Siouxper Drunk’ T-Shirt Spurs UND Students WalkForChange

By Vincent SchillingIn response to the “Siouxper Drunk” T-shirts worn by University of North Dakota students last Saturday as part of a Springfest celebration UND Native students have organized a #WalkforChange at the university to be held Friday at 11 a.m. to voice opposition to a hostile UND environment faced by Native students.

In addition to the #WalkForChange, Native UND students that are facilitating the event released several public statements demanding change from UND administrators as well as an outline for fostering cultural awareness at the university.

“The Fighting Sioux logo is supposed to be retired, but it is everywhere,” said Margaret Emmy Scott, a Political Science and American Indian Studies major at UND. “Whether you go to the registrar to pay your bills or to change your classes, people representing the administration are wearing the logo. Professors wear it, faculty, staff and more. We need this to be banned in the school atmosphere. That is the root of the trouble.”

In the release sent to ICTMN by Scott, the sentiment of the students is clear—they are fighting against what they consider to be a hostile environment for too long.

“The distress and hostile learning environment American Indian (AI) students endure is a form of psychological violence, predicated and perpetuated on notions of AI students being overly sensitive. This mentality presents a slippery slope as stereotypes lead to the dehumanization of a people and ultimately, permit acts of violence against those populations who are portrayed as the lesser.

“The continuous and overt forms of disrespect have negatively-impacted UND and its American Indian students. The ‘Sioux-per drunk’ T-shirts were specifically designed to target American Indian students and in itself is an act of discrimination. The UND students that wore these t-shirts have and continue to use social media, Facebook and Twitter to reinforce the notion of premeditated actions and adamant denial of wrongdoing.”

The outcome

Demanding change at UND: 100 protesters march against ‘racist’ T-shirts

By Anna BurlesonUniversity of North Dakota administrators were among about 100 people marching through campus Friday to protest a recent racially insensitive event, but that didn’t prevent them from being called out.

Emmy Scott, former president of the Indian Studies Association, a student group, said administrators were using the march as a publicity stunt and released a list of demands she and other students want the university to meet by December.

“I’m glad that they’re here, but in a lot of ways, it feels like it’s a PR stunt and I want them to know that we are not a photo-op,” she said.

The demands include selecting a new nickname and prohibiting students from wearing clothing or other gear bearing the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
Alas...proving the need for the walk is this posting:UND student tweets that today's #WalkForChange event was over-reaction: "Boohoohoo one little t-shirt and they re-enact the damn trail of tears like we killed their family on springfest" <- this ignorance and license to be overtly racist and offensive is why we've got to keep the pressure on at UND and the GrandForks community to diffuse the palpable tension and division over not adopting a new nickname/logo and disciplining offending students.
Comment:  One little t-shirt that encapsulates centuries of oppression and injustice, you mean. And what amount of racism would be enough to get you to criticize it rather than defend it?

If there's a threshold for the "get over it" crowd, I haven't seen it. Which leads us to conclude that these naysayers are racists themselves or "friends of racism," which amounts to the same thing.

For more on the subject, see "Siouxper Drunk" = Hostile and Abusive.

No comments: