Institutionalized racism

Is when a university says it has decided to eliminate its racist mascot, and then proceeds to reverse the decision for homecoming the same year, and then host events “celebrating” the mascot in the following years.

The university permitted (sanctioned, approved, supported whatever) Students for Chief Illiniwek to host a dance featuring the mascot at Assembly Hall again this year.

Because the university is committed to diversity and does not stand for racism.  It just doesn’t stand against it, is all.

3 thoughts on “Institutionalized racism

  1. I like this quote from the Daily Illini, “It’s about supporting where the people of this state came from originally,” Eilts said. “That’s what our whole goal is. We see him as a positive symbol of that. Even though his dance and his regalia are not native to the Illini people, they are native dances that were taught by native people elsewhere.”

    hmm, does anyone else see why this guys reasoning is messed up.

  2. How about Cleveland Indians with a straight racist looking happy Native American, Florida State Seminoles who still have a white guy painted as a Native American coming to throw a spear into the football field, how about the Washington Redskins still using the face of a Native American in the Nations capital.

    There’s no consequence for their action so until someone makes the West Virginia Crackers no one will even complain!

  3. I’m a UofI alumus who, for the record, identifies strongly as an anti-Chief activist. The University is totally caught in a bind here- trying to change anything at a rural land-grant University where a mascot is tied to the unbreakable culture of athletics is almost impossible. While the University has officially removed the image of the Chief as the mascot and the sale of all Chief merchandise at the official school bookstore, they cannot stop the students from spending their OWN money (the students raised the 10k+ it cost to rent the building on their own) to assemble peacefully.

    Unfortunately, there is a huge number of students at the school whose families have been “UofI families” for generations, and the image is a family symbol as well as one that the surrounding community identifies very strongly with. The administration is trying to figure out how to reverse the institutional racism that is a result of removing the symbol while embracing a rhetoric of “moving on” but still encouraging education about exactly why the Chief is so offensive.

    Not that I’m idealistic about anything- the administration would not get rid of the Chief for 20+ years for fear of losing donors (who made actual threats) and only did so when the NCAA placed sanctions on the school that would have resulted in losing thousands, if not millions, in post-season game revenue. There are still a number of administrators who are closeted Chief supporters and it is quite common to see a Chief symbol in staff offices.

    The campus is legitimately torn apart over this issue and it’s going to take *years* to get to a point where everyone can understand the history of the Institution without inducing guilt for participating in such a racist system.

    Thanks for the post, though- I totally think the school needs to have some pressure put on it :)

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