Thursday, September 22, 2005

Offensive College Mascots

If you are offended by college mascots then I have no other choice except to call you stupid. I've tried to understand and I've weighed all of the arguments and after all of the information has been distilled in the tiny pressure cooker that is my brain, I'm reduced to calling you stupid. Stupid.

You must first understand that this whole subject started for me at a younger age. I attended the now defunct Tolt High School in Carnation, WA. Our mascot was the Demon. Yes, we were the Tolt Demons. Did we think much of it? No. Did we make a big deal about it? No. Were we proud to have an original mascot? I don't think "proud" was a word used very frequently when describing our school, but we pretty much thought it was okay.

We had some Christians in our neck of the woods who petitioned for a long time to have the name changed. Apparently having Demons as the mascot was offensive to their spiritual sensibilities. I wasn't a Christian at the time, but looking back at it through the eyes of one all I can say is "stupid." My school's memory now is found in a display case maintained by a local historical society.

Now Native Americans (um...Indians to most people) are expressing their offense to the use of college mascots that use tribe names or wink in the direction of their fragile culture. It would appear that names like Redskins, Warriors, Braves, Indians, Seminoles, et al seem to negatively overshadow the new legacy to which they are aspiring, namely casinos and roadside trinket stands.

Because they can't continue to be angry about everything they just attack soft targets such as mascots in the name of protecting their culture.

Before you think that I can't possibly understand what the Native Americans are complaining about, allow me to give you a true illustration. Much of my family comes from Ireland and were Protestant. There is a heritage in my family that has experienced persecution because they would not bow to the Roman Catholic Church. They were Orangemen. Syracuse University uses the Orangemen as their mascot. In short the heritage that I admire and respect so much is reduced to this:

Am I offended? No.

Do you know why? Because it would be stupid.

Is the heritage of my family who were persecuted and finally moved to North America from Ireland properly represented by a giant orange with arms and legs? Um, probably not.

Everyone fundamentally forgets what mascots are for. You don't adopt a mascot because you hate it or want to demean it, you do it to get inspiration from the symbol you've adopted. It's true that it isn't always properly represented but that doesn't mean it is disrespected. Most of all, it doesn't mean YOU are disrespected.

I haven't heard a single person who cares that the Idaho mascot (Vandals) is now purely associated with the destruction and defacing of property instead of a Germanic Tribe that existed during the time of the Roman Empire. Because of this disparity it just exposes what we are truly being told is the only truth: Native American cultures must never be touched because they are more sacred than others...everyone else is up for grabs. Stupid.

Please, quit being stupid. Enjoy your heritage and culture and stop being so easily offended. Otherwise your new heritage will be that you're a bunch of crybabies.


Anonymous said...

I miss the Tolt Blue Devil Demon Deacon Dogs...

PlatinumGirl said...

Amen to that post! I have no patience for that b.s.

Anonymous said...

I think 'crybabies' would make a great mascot.

Robert the Grump said...

Mascots are a silly relic of the last century. They amuse me more than offend me.

The worst mascot was the ambiguously-themed and retarded blue thing that looked like an insane drop of water that was the mascot for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It was called, "Izzy", as in, "what the hell Izzy?".

Izzy was the worst mascot ever because he (or is it a she?)was designed by committee to offend nobody, which is why I find Izzy offensive. Political correctness taken to this level is offensive. Much worse than being an American Indian and having to watch the Washington Redskins or the Atlanta Braves.

People who get upset over mascots really should lighten up a bit.

The only mascot that gets my goat (besides Izzy) is Notre Dame's. The Fighting Irish. Now that's offensive. It is clearly a slam on all Irish-Americans. It is incorrect to lump all Irishmen together as brawlers.

It should be the Notre Dame Drunken Fighting Irishmen. You can't argue with the truth.

Anonymous said...

Orangmen are never bigots. Just ask Dr. Ian Paisley.

Anonymous said...

So if I were to say have a team called the Midtown Niggers, you'd be fine with that?

Tracy said...

Midtown Niggers? Seriously? How is this question even a serious one. Did I not say that mascots were generally about the spirit of the things or people they want to emulate? How could this even possibly be a serious example? Next please.

Anonymous said...

Many, many light years ago I was one of 2 all school elected Tolt Demonettes - the school mascot in the 1960's. Imagine our mothers having to create & sew our orange & black costumes.....with tails & horns,capes & pitchforks made by Dads. We made an arch with our pitchforks at basketball games for the team to run under to start the games! Football games? We had bonfire rallies with slogans such as: "Fork Forks" with those pitchforks or "Lay out LaConner-LaConner's gonna die". School spirit was for every student's participation then & Satanic was an after-thought!! P.S. - I wonder if Fork's now has a Vampire mascot?