Saturday, August 06, 2005

What Do You Mean "We," White Man?

The NCAA has announced that, starting next February, it will no longer allow teams with ethnically "hostile" or "abusive" nicknames to feature such nicknames, logos or mascots in any postseason play. Not surprisingly, teams like the Florida State Seminoles replied that the NCAA can have their Tomahawk Chop foam fingers only when they pry them from their cold, dead hands!
"That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

"I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," he added.
Actually, as this photo reveals, Florida State fans seem intent on making sure their university is forever associated with the "fabulous" spirit of Studio 54 of New York.

To be sure, this is a complicated issue. There are, I think, some team names in sports that are long due for a changing. The Washington Redskins are a pretty obvious one. Not exactly a name cherishing the culture, right? It'd be like having a team named the Dallas Darkies or the San Francisco Slanteyes. Those are offensive as hell, but "Redskins" isn't? And don't get me started on the Hogettes. Yeesh.

While not nearly as offensive as the Redskins, the Cleveland Indians aren't far behind. Again, think of the equivalents. It's hard to imagine we'd still have a major league team with a name like the Nashville Negroes or the California Chinamen. It's even harder to believe that such a team would also have a racially-stereotyped mascot like the grinnin'-and-jivin' Chief Wahoo. "And hey, Buck, here's our beloved Uncle Tom to lead the seventh-inning stretch!"

Other pro teams come close, I suppose, like the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs, though I find it harder to get worked up about them. And then another level down the scale, there are college nicknames based on specific Native American nations, like the Illinois Illini or the FSU Seminoles. Admittedly, it's probably insulting to have a drunken 19-year-old white-bread suburbanite named Trevor doing a poor imitation of your ancestral dance at halftime. But in the grand scheme of things, it's probably not the worst thing they've ever experienced.

Or maybe it is. Hard to tell.


Thrillhous said...

Wow Otto, you're all multimedia lately! Love the studio 54 shoutout. Those guys are gettin' laid tonight!

DC radio blabber/PTI host Tony Kornheiser says the DC football team should keep the name "Redskins" but change the logo to a picture of a redskin potato. We're still waiting to hear if "The Dan" Snyder will go for it.

Otto Man said...

I like pretty pictures.

Actually, I looked long and hard for a good shot of Bobby Bowden to throw in there, but you can only look through so many photos of Redneck Yoda before it gets depressing.

Ra_wiggum said...

Otto, you came out with some good team ideas:

Dallas Darkies
San Francisco Slanteyes
Nashville Negroes
California Chinamen

I hear that the Chinamen and Slanteyes have an intense rivalry.

Heh, it's funny because I haven't experienced the pain of racial prejudice.

Otto Man said...

Ralphie, I think that could be the basis for the Don Rickles Fantasy Football League. You'd have to add in some others -- the Boston Broads, the Flagstaff Fairies, etc. -- but then it'd be complete. Completely hilarious, that is!

Studiodave said...

This issue is gold for any politician who can't run on any real policies or leadership. I wonder which politician would jump on this bandwagon... Oh Jeb, it's you! You never even got off the Schavo bandwagon - I guess that was more of a gurney...

I'm going to Hell.