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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(8/9/05)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Hello Robert,

I thought you might be interested in this...Be well..Good day to you....Cheryl Barger, New Richmond, Ohio.

Tonight on Lou Dobbs....They left out where he said "don't Native Americans have something better to gripe about? This guy is an idiot....Every time I watch him I get amazed at how an educated man can be so stupid....He knows nothing of this so he has nothing to say in my opinion...unfortunatly it never seems to stop him....Let's let him know we are here and we are listening....Cheryl Barger, New Richmond, Ohio.

*****

DOBBS: A new mandate from the NCAA not on graduation rates, or necessary grades in order to participate in college sports, but a new mandate instead on college sports mascots, and it's causing outrage and confusion all across the country. The NCAA says American Indian mascots are too offensive for some sports, but only during parts of the sport season, and only for certain sports. Christine Romans reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These six letters the NCAA finds offensive. Fighting Illini, two letters short of the state's name, Illinois, named for the tribe of legendary Chief Illiniwek. But the NCAA wants to prohibit, quote, "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or images" during tournament play.

So, Fighting Illini, according to the NCAA, is offensive. So are the Florida Seminoles, even though the Seminole tribe of Florida has endorsed its use. Florida State University's president called the decision "stupid," and accused the NCAA of a complete lack of appreciation for cultural diversity.

T.K. WETHERELL, PRESIDENT, FSU: The whole policy is discriminatory. To pick out certain schools on the Native American issue and then let other schools go doesn't quite make a lot of sense. And to pick out some that are Native American and some that aren't. So it's been very much arbitrary and capricious.

ROMANS: Arbitrary, because Seminole and Fighting Illini are offensive, but Fighting Irish, well, that's OK. It's also OK to be a USC Trojan, a San Diego State Aztec, or an Oklahoma State Cowboy. Not to mention, a Hofstra Flying Dutchman.

Aren't those also national origin, ethnic or racial names?

Native American groups say they're not opposed to Indian names; they're opposed to using Indian lore for sports, words like Redskins or Savages in particular.

CINDY LA MARR, CAPITOL AREA INDIAN RESOURCES: We're not asking for names of states or schools to be changed. But because of the fact that you have pit one side against the other, it's going to cause some tension, racial tension. And that is the issue.

ROMANS: NCAA President Myles Brand: "All institutions are encouraged to promote these core values and take proactive steps at every NCAA event, through institutional event management, to enhance the integrity of intercollegiate athletics related to these issues."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: That statement after four years of study by the NCAA. And ironically, Myles Brand was the president of Indiana University, of course, a state and university named for the Indian tribes there.

The NCAA has 18 teams on its offensive list, all of them Native American names. An NCAA spokesman told us, Lou, that if a group of Irish citizens were to say perhaps that they were offended by the Fighting Irish, well, you know, they would consider, the NCAA would consider, they would study it, and they would consider whether Fighting Irish is something that should go as well.

DOBBS: You know, maybe Myles Brand is quite an interesting fellow. Why they would want to get involved in this Orwellian exercise is well, of course, it's contemporaneous with academic political correctness and orthodoxy, instead of freedom of thought. So that sort of fits for him. He's a bureaucrat.

But to embark on this, to take on mascots when there are far more important issues facing the NCAA is mind-boggling to me.

ROMANS: The NCAA says tonight, Lou, that they just don't want to offend anybody, that you have to walk in somebody else's shoes. And you don't know what it's like to watch a sports team that is portrayed as a warrior for a kind of for a kind of a Native American Indian tribe. And one of the people from one of these Native American groups that we talked to actually pointed out to the high rate of suicide among young people in the Native American tribes, and said that perhaps poor self-esteem because of mascots could be one of the reasons.

DOBBS: For example, Florida State University exulting the Seminoles, for crying out loud. Or the Utah Utes. I mean, this is just idiotic.

ROMANS: Some of these tribes might have been relegated to the dustbin if it weren't for the very upfront their name being out there.

DOBBS: That's just incredible. By the way, I'm wondering if I should call Dr. Myles Brand and tell him I'm offended by the graduation rates for football players in the NCAA and and basketball, other sports. Maybe in taking offense, he will take real action. I'm offended by extending those football games to 12 as well. That's a lot of football.

Thanks you, Christine Romans.

Rob's reply

>> Christine Romans reports. <<

She editorializes, more like it.

>> CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These six letters the NCAA finds offensive. Fighting Illini, two letters short of the state's name, Illinois, named for the tribe of legendary Chief Illiniwek. <<

Actually, it's the "Fighting" part of "Fighting Illini" that's most offensive, along with the fictional (not legendary) Chief Illiniwek.

>> ROMANS: Arbitrary, because Seminole and Fighting Illini are offensive, but Fighting Irish, well, that's OK. It's also OK to be a USC Trojan, a San Diego State Aztec, or an Oklahoma State Cowboy. Not to mention, a Hofstra Flying Dutchman.

Aren't those also national origin, ethnic or racial names? <<

Natives aren't protesting names of national origin, so you can cross the Flying Dutchmen off the list. They aren't protesting occupational names, which aren't "national origin, ethnic or racial names," so you can cross the Cowboys (along with the Packers and 49'ers) off the list. They aren't protesting names of extinct people who can't be offended, so you can cross the Trojans and Aztecs (along with the Vikings) off the list. That leaves the Indian names and the Fighting Irish, a special case that's easily addressed.

>> And ironically, Myles Brand was the president of Indiana University, of course, a state and university named for the Indian tribes there. <<

See the Canard of States' Names for a response.

>> Why they would want to get involved in this Orwellian exercise is well, of course, it's contemporaneous with academic political correctness and orthodoxy, instead of freedom of thought. <<

Yeah, people should be free to name teams after Niggers, Kikes, Chinks, Redskins, or any old ethnic slur. Heaven forbid we infringe on their freedom to insult and offend others.

See the Canard of the NCAA Knows Best for a response. As for the "political correctness" charge, see Political Correctness Defined for more on the subject.

>> But to embark on this, to take on mascots when there are far more important issues facing the NCAA is mind-boggling to me. <<

See More Responses to Critics for a response.

>> And one of the people from one of these Native American groups that we talked to actually pointed out to the high rate of suicide among young people in the Native American tribes, and said that perhaps poor self-esteem because of mascots could be one of the reasons. <<

Yes, along with 500 years of racial oppression and prejudice. See More Responses to Critics for a response.

>> DOBBS: For example, Florida State University exulting the Seminoles, for crying out loud. Or the Utah Utes. I mean, this is just idiotic. <<

"Idiotic"...not exactly a cogent argument there, Dobbsy. If you don't know the literature on the harm of stereotyping, maybe you shouldn't bray your ignorance.

>> ROMANS: Some of these tribes might have been relegated to the dustbin if it weren't for the very upfront their name being out there. <<

Yeah, I'm sure the extinct Illini Indians are looking down from their happy hunting ground and saying, "Thanks for keeping our name alive after you slaughtered us." "Thanks for dancing on our graves," more like it.

Related links
Why FSU's Seminoles aren't okay
Team names and mascots


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