January 1, 2008

Chief Illiniwek > USC Trojans?

Posted in Rants at 7:30 pm by a11en

So, how in the world is the USC Trojans less racist than Chief Illiniwek?  This is a prime example of a one-sided view of racism.  During the half-time show at today’s Rose-Bowl, I saw a Trojan warrior running around on the field with a sword and brush-helmet, and the whole band wearing similar clothing.  All in all, if I had Trojan heritage, I’d suspect I would be as affronted as if I had Illinois Indian (yes, that’s the name of the tribe) heritage.

So, just because there isn’t a tribe that we can pay for the rights to use their image, we can’t use the honorable position of the Chief (which many a young UofI man has fought hard to become and is a revered position)?  Unlike the Seminoles who have an Indian run in on horse-back and fire off an arrow?

So, I ask you, how is the Trojans less racists than the Illini/Chief Illiniwek?  Or, less racist than the Seminoles, if you can’t see that discussion clearly?

It reminds me of an old friend of mine who said that discrimination was only possible in a situation where a larger group of people were oppressing a smaller group of people.  Of course, never mind that if you check a dictionary this is not the case at all.  The only thing I can think of, is that since the Trojans are considered to be “white” and therefore are a larger group of the population, that they aren’t considered to be racially depicted in contrast to the minority American Indians (such as the Illinois tribe).

But, then again, should it surprise me with today’s popular idiot mentality which appears to be running rampant in this ever-PC world?

Speaking of which, another popular topic is the ever present “It’s for the children!”  Like the current Illinois smoking ban (went into effect today)… which I’m so thankful for being enacted… after all, we don’t want any of the 3 year olds who go to the local bars to get an ear infection (which is about the only statistically significant effect of breathing SHS… then again, most bars have modern ventilation systems, which negates that statistic…).  I’m very happy the Children who frequent bars will be safer now.  Speaking of which, here’s a useful TED video for you to watch if you have kids:  “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do.

Sorry for the side-track there… Let’s just say that unless your team is named after an animal, an inanimate object, or a plant, you better change your mascot…


  1. BJL said,

    Are you kidding?

    USC’s Trojan mascot is not racist because the Trojans are a mythological creation. According to Greek mythology the Trojans were the citizens of the ancient municipality of Troy in the Troad region of Anatolia. Troy is presented anachronistically in legend as if it were part of the Greek culture of City states. Since the entire state comprised more than the city of Troy itself, anyone from its jurisdiction, which was mainly the Troad, might be termed “Trojan” in ancient literature.
    Florida’s Seminole mascot is not a racist symbol because the Seminole Tribe sanctioned the use of the symbol. Chief Illiniwek received no similar dispensation.

  2. a11en said,

    Nope, not kidding, BL. This is something to take semi-seriously. Troy is an archaeological site. Whether it’s “Troy” or something else, they definitely wore garb very similar to the caricatured garb of the USC “Trojans”… never mind they appear Romanesque (another real civilization)… what if I made up a fake Indian-like tribe that appeared similar to American-Indian garb, would that be ok?

    There’s no way to receive similar “dispensation” because all of the Illinois tribe are deceased. In fact, there are no people who can come forward to claim they have Illinois tribe blood. So, just who is the Chief frustrating here? I guess the Seminoles are lucky that they can get a “pass” from the real Seminoles… but that doesn’t help the other tribes who are hurt by their symbol, does it? So, if the Seminoles didn’t exist, and they weren’t able to get dispensation, would they be forced into the same boat? What if the Illini paid every current tribe some sort of dispensation for Indian-like garb?

    The interesting thing to me, is that in general the only people upset by the Chief were freshmen girls. Well, perhaps I’m wrong, but let’s just say that those who appeared at most of the rallies against the Chief appeared to be mostly freshmen girls.

    I reiterate- if you have a racially depicted mascot, you should be forced to find a new mascot under the same rules that forced the Illini to lose their mascot. I haven’t even begun to touch on the caricatured depictions of races within the national leagues that are apparently ok to keep.

    Just so everyone understands my take on this- I really don’t believe these mascots have to go at all. I believe people need to shape up and get a bit thicker skinned… honestly- don’t you have better things to concern yourself with these days? [Never mind you’re reading my ramblings- that shows you have too much time on your hands. 😉 hahahah]

    So, I’m all for the mascots. Just to clear the air. But, what I’m not for, is tricky rules that are not fair across the board. What I saw on the field, for the record, appeared to me to be racially depicted caricatures of Romanesque (Trojan) warriors, and that felt racist to me. [At least as racist as the Chief- never mind we only had 1 person wearing a headress, and no others in Indian garb… and the whole band was dressed as Trojans.]

    Ok, I think I’ve used up this topic for now. Feel free to post as anyone wishes, I’ll reply as I have time. 🙂 I better dust off some of those other partially finished posts and get them out here somehow…

    My hat’s off to the USC team- they played well, and the Illini missed some seriously important opportunities during the game.


    ps- BJL- thanks for stopping in!

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