Super Dumb at UND: It's Hard to Shake the Racism You've Enabled For So Long
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.
By Anna Burleson
“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.
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 Phillip
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.
“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?
More charges of racism
Drunk College Students Mock Native Americans In Most Offensive Way Possible
By Smriti Sinha
These types of references aren't clever, they're not cute and they're certainly not funny.
By Dr. Erich Longie