:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Monday, December 31, 2007 ::

The Official Last Post (Probably)

I've started a new blog, Speaking Liberally. Hopefully I can do a better job of updating that blog than I did in the last year of this one.

:: The Squire 5:11 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 ::
Past Due

In case it's not been obvious, updating the blog has slid off my radar screen. It's not that I don't have opinions - I do. It's just that I don't have the time to read the vast amounts of stuff I did while I was a student, and have something to say about them. Being no longer part of the student body, and thus separated from that bountiful source of material, also played a part in my decision to no longer blog.

This probably isn't a permanent halt to my blogging - I just have no idea when, or how, the next step will be taken. If there is one, I may post here. We'll see.

:: The Squire 9:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, February 18, 2007 ::
This Seems Pertinent

I've been looking for this image for a while, and now that the Chief is gone, it's rather appropriate to post it here.

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:: The Squire 3:57 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, January 19, 2007 ::
One More Bit Of Supposed Ligitimacy Gone

One of the things the Pro-Chief crowd likes to tout is the fact that the current regalia used by the Chief was given to/bought by the university from a member of the Ogala Sioux. They seem to think that having "real, live Injuns" make the costume rather than some Eagle Scout in the late '20s somehow makes everything alright.

Thing is, that tribe now wants it back:

January 17, 2007


On January 17, 2007, the Executive Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Nation submitted a resolution to the University of Illinois President and Board of Trustees and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor demanding the return of the Lakota regalia used in the portrayal of the school’s mascot to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

The official resolution refers to the “theatrics” and “antics” of “chief illiniwek” and notes that the “Oglala Lakota regalia is being misused to represent ‘Chief Illiniwek’” and needs to be returned to the rightful owners of the tribe. The resolution further states that “Chief Illiniwek” not only “perpetuates a degrading racial stereotype,” but violates the integrity of traditional Illinois tribes including the “Kaskaskia, Peroria, Piankeshuw, and Wea nations.”

Moreover, the Resolution by the Oglala Sioux supports the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma “in its request that the University of Illinois recognize the demeaning nature of the characterization of ‘Chief Illiniwek’ and cease use of this mascot.” In 2000, the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma passed a resolution “Request to University of Illinois to Cease Use of Chief llliniwek as Mascot.”

Given the increasing concerns regarding the experiences of racism and oppression facing American Indian nations and communities, the faculty of American Indian Studies (AIS) and the staff at the Native American House (NAH) at the University of Illinois welcome the Resolution of the Executive Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribe that disapproves of the use of the Lakota Regalia in “Chief Illiniwek” performances and calls for cessation of the mascot.

Further, AIS/NAH faculty and staff call upon the Board of Trustees, President White, and UIUC administration to respond to this resolution with due respect and action. There can be no misreading of the Oglala Sioux Resolution—those to whom the Lakota regalia belongs and whom the Board of Trustees claims to be honoring have clearly requested that the performance and charade of “chief illiniwek” end.

Click here for a pdf copy of the Resolution of the Executive Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
I wonder where the Bands department will end up getting a new set of regalia from. Part of the offensiveness of the Chief comes from the fact that he wears Lakota regalia to portray an Illinwek, whose culture and clothing were rather different. If this is not part of the end of the Chief, will this force the use of more accurate regalia and the end of the stupid prancing about that the Chief does?

:: The Squire 1:35 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, January 12, 2007 ::
I'll Take "Dat," Cookie

The You Don't Know Jack website has had a daily Dis or Dat for the past couple months, and today's, titled Run for Your Mushroom asks you whether a term is the name of a Smurf or a point of the Boy Scout Law. I just thought I should share.

:: The Squire 5:54 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, January 11, 2007 ::
Trib Has Its Own Story

And my, did they get some choice new bits:

One member of the Facebook group said she didn't think the group was racist.

"I'm sure that when the group was started, I don't think that anybody took it seriously," said student Lizzy Cunningham, 19, who was a member of the group before the Web page was taken down. "Students were upset about losing the Chief and were trying to get some huge movement started. I don't think they were trying to make racial statements. They were more like angry outbursts."
Alright, Lizzy. According to Facebook (I'd link her profile, but she's got the privacy settings jacked up right now - not that I blame her), you're an alumna of Benet Academy, the same Benedictine institution I attended for high school. As such, I know that you at least have the raw potential to think. Sadly, it appears that you do not know how to realize this potential. Case in point - you're now on record, for posterity, saying that you did not think that joining a group that says you will be come racist was a racial statement.

To repeat it for those who didn't see it the first two times - you claimed not to think that claiming that one will become a racist was a racial statement.

I'll just let that one hang in the air a little, so that all may admire how oblivious one must be in order to utter such words.

This, by the way, is one of the more passive ways that the hostile and abusive nature of the Chief affects our university community: it creates an atmosphere in which such outrageous comments as those which caused the group's demise are not perceived as being horribly racially insensitive, and in which those who utter such broadly hurtful things are only very rarely made to realize the injury they cause others with their words. This is not the active racism of the civil rights era and before, nor is it that which is fondly looked back upon by those who wish Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. This is more insidious, the compounding of many small statements and actions to make minorities, and Native Americans especially, feel alienated and unwelcome on their own college campus. This is the racism that I spoke about earlier, and which IP apparently likes to pretend doesn't exist.

:: The Squire 6:03 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 ::
More Comments On Recent Stupidity

There I was, thinking I was mostly done with blogging, or at least this blog, and then someone goes and makes a threat against a Native American student for being anti-Chief, along with someone else being generally anti-Indian. Since my last post supplying the online community with Chancellor Herman's massmail, some more information has popped up online about what actually happened.

The Champaign-Urbana Independent Media Center has a press release posted condemning the incident, and at least partially what actually happened.
On Facebook, the popular student-centered social web forum, a University of Illinois student has begun a group called "If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist." The group's web site can be viewed at this Facebook address: http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2216973206, though it is likely that Facebook authorities will soon remove the site, because it violates Facebook policies. One hundred and ten University of Illinois students have joined this group.

Two students have posted inflammatory messages on the group's web site. These messages are available to any web user who registers with Facebook, which includes most University of Illinois students and many other people across the campus community and across the national and world-wide network of Facebook users.

On November 20, 2006, a University of Illinois student posted the following explicitly racist words that call for the death of Indian people, which of course includes the Indian people who are members of the University of Illinois community: "what they don't realize is that there was never a racist problem before..but now i hate redskins and hope all those drunk, casino owning bums die." On December 2, 2006, another student wrote the following explicit threat, a call for violence directed at a specific University of Illinois student: "that's the worst part! apparently the leader of this movement is of Sioux descent. Which means what, you ask? the Sioux indians are the ones that killed off the Illini indians, so she's just trying to finish what her ancestors started. I say we throw a tomohawk into her face."
The first comment was bad, but not not out-of-line for many/most of the more vocal Chief supporters once you start talking to them a bit and manage to get them off-message. The second one, though, is decidedly not cool. In a campus like ours, that's constantly torn apart by this issue, one does not threaten to physically harm someone holding the opposing position in a public forum. I've met rabit pro- and anti-Chief supporter, and I know from personal experience that it's not the anti-Chief people who'll be likely to do damage over the issue. As such, I am not disturbed at all by the prospect of students being punished over this.

As I said in the comments of the previous post (which I would link to and quote directly if Haloscan was not down at the moment), this is just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. While these two were caught on the internet where everyone could see, most incidents like this happen in social settings where very few, if any, people are liable to report it. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that part of the reason the Chancellor's going after this now is because he can and so address the larger issue.

One also needs to remember that this incident came after the earlier one where a fraternity and sorority held a racially-themed party and got nailed to the wall for it. They, too, stepped afoul of the Chancellor, and this more recent incident can only confirm for him that racial and ethnic sensitivity, or the lack thereof, is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Illinipundit has his own post up on the issue, and as the predominant local organ of the Mighty Wurlitzer, is trying to downplay the seriousness of the incident by insisting that someone answer the question: "[W]hy isn't it "hate speech" to label all Chief supporters as racists?" There's two answers to this question. The short answer is, "It's not hate speech because it's accurate."

The longer answer is that the Chief is a racist symbol, mascot, and institution, and supporting the Chief at least condones, if not supports, the racism embodied by that institution. As such, support for the Chief either permits or is an active case of racism, and so such support is accurately described as racist. While the term 'racist' has deservedly negative connotations, properly using the term in the context for which it was intended, such as describing the Chief and its supporters, is not hateful but merely an accurate description of the truth, as uncomfortable as such may be.

The News-Gazette has its own story up, but it doesn't say much more than was in the press release and the Chancellor's massmail. Unfortunately, the DI doesn't have anything about this yet. Hopefully they'll start reporting on this when they get back from break. The Spring Semester starts a week from yesterday.

:: The Squire 5:37 PM :: email this post :: ::


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