Illinois’ Racist Mascot Has One Foot in the Grave

Today the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and Administration announced that it is halting use of “Chief Illiniwek” effective Feb. 21. Ostensibly this is so Illinois can get out of sanctions imposed by the NCAA against schools using racist imagery and mascots.

It’s taken some twenty years of pressure from students, Native American groups and activists to get to this point, which the Illinois BOT and administration has fought tooth-and-nail. It’s a good thing to see that racist symbol retired.

Still, the elimination of the Chief will not single-handedly undo the racial tensions on this campus caused by middle-class white kids flaunting their privilege, as seen with things like the “Tacos and Tequila” party. But being done with this racist mascot sets a new tone from the administration.

The announcement was emailed to the campus less than an hour ago, so the white privilege backlash has not yet been heard from. We do know that the students currently performing as the Chief are filing suit against the university in order to get an injunction against the Chief’s demise. I think they’re tilting at windmills, but will get off on the dust they kick up.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the local and national media, and how the popular right-wing reactionaries do their best to exploit this small blow against institutionalized racism.
[tags]chief illiniwek, racist mascot, ncaa, illinois, university of illinois, uiuc, illini, white privilege, racism[/tags]






One response to “Illinois’ Racist Mascot Has One Foot in the Grave”

  1. […] franchise unless it was something blatantly offensive. When the University of Illinois decided to get rid of Chief Illiniwek, the schools’ mascot, after intense pressure from student groups and native american […]

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