Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
From the Athens Daily News, 4/28/01:
Williams: Here's a solution for all our mascot names
So long, Atlanta Braves. Farewell, Cleveland Indians. Bye-bye, FSU Seminoles. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted 4-2 in favor of teams dropping the use of Indian images and team names. Remember, the taxpayers actually pay juicy salaries to these commissioners to dream up these asinine decisions. This is a far-ranging decision. It cannot stop with just the Indians but can apply to most any team name, whether it be animals, birds, snakes or white people. Everybody is offended by something these days. Cat lovers may not like the Georgia Bulldog mascot. There are entire classes of people who have nothing else to do but be perturbed all the time about some perceived insult. Of course the ding-dong press is always there with plenty of ink.
For some reason the Indians (see also Native Americans) are incensed about football and baseball teams with Indian names and mascots. They feel it is insulting and demeaning. Surely these are reservation Indians and not related to the once-famous warriors. All these years I was led to believe it was an honor to have a team named for Indians. The American Indian represented the pure American who was noble and brave while the white-eyes were greedy, money-hungry, land grabbers. The Atlanta Lawyers just doesn't sound valorous.
My hero Indians were Crazy Horse and Chief Joseph. Crazy House was one of America's most successful generals fighting and winning a half-dozen major battles against the U.S. Army. With no military training and often whining braves, he soundly defeated the best officers the army could field. In about a half-hour, Crazy Horse destroyed to the last man Custer and six troops of the 7th Cavalry on the banks of the Little Big Horn. Remember Lt. Col. Custer's last words: "Where the hell did all those @#? Native Americans come from?"
Crazy Horse did have the advantage of going against the most arrogant and overconfident West Pointer the army ever produced.
A warrior of Crazy Horse's stature should have died in battle, but he met the Great Spirit after being bayoneted in the back by a buck private taking him to the guardhouse after his surrender. Gun owners take note: that's what happens when you surrender your rifle.
Crazy Horse was kind of a showoff in Indian standards and was not well liked by his fellow braves. On the other hand, Chief Joseph was Crazy Horse's opposite, being a very quiet and reserved chief of a seldom warlike tribe. When the cavalry came to herd his tribe to the reservation one thing led to another and the normally peaceful tribe shot the troopers to pieces and chased them for two days.
Over the next months Chief Joseph with never more than 60 armed warriors dragging their starving women and children in tow fought and won a half-dozen major engagements with far superior army troopers.
"I will fight no more forever," were the chief's words when he finally surrendered his ragtag force. Chief Joseph as far as I know is the only Indian to have a warship named in his honor. Guess the ship's name will have to change now.
In reality, the Indians were no better or worse than the whites. We have our Pattons and then on the opposite end we have our Clintons. The Indians also had their great heroes and lowly cowards. While the whites may have stolen the Indians lands, the Indians likewise took the same lands from weaker tribes. However, most tribes preferred the more tangible stealing women and ponies from their enemies. Indians were no more at harmony with nature than the polluting whites.
After Indian villages became so fouled they would simply move across the river and start all over again. DeSoto's lieutenants wrote they could smell the huge villages in Georgia for two days before they arrived. In order to kill a few buffalo for food and skins the Indians would stampede hundreds over a cliff.
So, what are we going to name all our teams. I would be honored to have a team named after me, but the Georgia Budges just doesn't have it. The LA Crackheads probably wouldn't be acceptable. The Washington Swindlers, the New York Wise Guys and the Chicago Gangsters probably would be unacceptable.
Numbers are the answer. No one is offended by numbers. Numbers are neutral. My plan is to use a numbering system. The Atlanta Braves would the National 22'ers. The Georgia Bulldogs would be the SEC 4s. The Yellow Jackets then would be the Atlantic 13s. The numbers 10 and 69 would be deleted.
I've solved the problem. Bush should appoint me to the Civil Rights Commission with the modest $125,000 salary.
Go, you hairy SEC Fours...
Budge Williams is a native Athenian, a Vietnam War veteran and an Athens businessman. Write him at 830 Fowler Mill Road, Bogart, GA 30622.
A few snappy comments:
>> It cannot stop with just the Indians but can apply to most any team name, whether it be animals, birds, snakes or white people. <<
"Indians" and animals: a comparative essay
>> Everybody is offended by something these days. <<
Equal opportunity offenders
>> There are entire classes of people who have nothing else to do but be perturbed all the time about some perceived insult. <<
Yes, like dumb columnists who don't have original thoughts but still have to write original columns.
If "entire classes of people" are offended, what's left to discuss? Do you think your feelings should outweigh those of entire classes of people? Why?
The many voices of opposition
>> For some reason the Indians (see also Native Americans) are incensed about football and baseball teams with Indian names and mascots. <<
Team names and mascots
>> All these years I was led to believe it was an honor to have a team named for Indians. <<
The people who led you to believe that were ignorant. You still believe it because you're ignorant.Fighting Sioux vs. Fighting Irish
>> The American Indian represented the pure American who was noble and brave while the white-eyes were greedy, money-hungry, land grabbers. <<
Yes, that's the stereotype Native people are protesting, even though it's largely true. Most stereotypes do have a basis in truth.
>> Gun owners take note: that's what happens when you surrender your rifle. <<
No, that's what happens when you trust the conservatives in power to do the right thing.
>> In reality, the Indians were no better or worse than the whites. <<
Basically true...but since the whites practiced genocide on the Indians rather than vice versa, you could argue the Indians were somewhat superior.
>> We have our Pattons and then on the opposite end we have our Clintons. <<
Right...your win-at-all-costs warmongers who are rebuked for insubordination and your New Democrat politicians who lead the greatest economic boom in US history. I'll take the latter over the former any day.
And note that Patton's commander-in-chief was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who not only led America successfully in war but also rescued the American economy with his New Deal. I wonder which end of the spectrum you'd put FDR.
>> While the whites may have stolen the Indians lands, the Indians likewise took the same lands from weaker tribes. <<
To a much smaller degree, maybe. And so what? Two wrongs don't make a right. If the white people gave back the land they stole from Indians, I'm sure the Indians would be willing to give back the parts they "stole." Is it a deal?
>> However, most tribes preferred the more tangible stealing women and ponies from their enemies. <<
Sounds like a stupid stereotype to me. I'd guess most Indian cultures didn't steal women or ponies, and whites committed more thefts per capita than Indians, who were known for their honesty.
But if this claim has any validity, better "stealing" a few women and ponies than committing genocide against a race, eh?
>> Indians were no more at harmony with nature than the polluting whites. <<
Ecological Indian talk
>> In order to kill a few buffalo for food and skins the Indians would stampede hundreds over a cliff. <<
Dennis Prager and The Ecological Indian
>> Budge Williams is a native Athenian, a Vietnam War veteran and an Athens businessman. <<
Do we really need to take seriously anyone named "Budge"?
Team names and mascots
The trouble with stereotyping...and what to do about it
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