Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek rocks your world.
How did a loud and vocal minority eventually find a path to victory in killing off Chief Illiniwek? Polls indicate 86% of Illinois resident support the Chief, an overwhelming majority of the alumni who give money to the University surely do, and every government agency every to rule on the issue says the Chief is not offensive. In the end, they won by getting to the people with power and making them impose their will. They get people without jobs to show up at rallies and be enraged and tell stories about how the Chief has destroyed their lives. And at the end of the day, the people who support the Chief will do little but complain when the minority finally carries out the death sentence ordered by the NCAA. Are the alumni going to stop giving the University money if the NCAA whacks the Chief? Will they stop going to games?
Let’s be realistic for a moment. If a team called their mascot the “racist, inbred, incestuous, redneck, cracker, mother f*cker Christians” it wouldn’t affect my life one bit. (In fact, it would be refreshing to see the honesty of people who actually believe that to come out and say it and stop pretending to be “tolerant”.) I’m sure they may be sincerely offended, but they have left no room for negotiation. They continue to say the Board has to deal with this issue when they really mean the Board has to get rid of the Chief. The Board has decided this issue repeatedly, just not in favor of the minority. Now the NCAA has come down to do it for them. Sure, they can keep the Chief; they just can’t play in tournaments and have to deal with the NCAA pressuring other schools not to schedule games against Illinois.
The rallying call for those anti-Chief people is “What if it was your religion?” I’m Catholic, let’s talk about how my religion is portrayed and dealt with in far more important things. How about the John Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court with quarters of this country saying he should be excluded on the bases he is Catholic? Or how about the Rocco Buttiglione treatment out of the EU, where the entire EU government could not be installed because Buttiglione was a devout Catholic making him unfit for ANY OFFICE within the EU, including the Energy Ministry. We could also talk about the de facto policy that Chancellor Richard Herman took part in establishing that says even though there are
speech codes non-discrimination policies on campus, those policies do not protect Christians and that complaints from Christians are to be discarded? It’s one thing to have an offensive mascot; it’s much more malicious to exclude an entire class of people from public life on the basis of their religious affiliation. However, the same crowd that fights against the Chief is silent or in support of shutting up and shutting out Christians.
I don’t really have strong opinions on the Chief issue, honestly. I find the complaints without merit, but if the Chief went away it wouldn’t matter. A Cherokee being upset about how the Illini are represented is ludicrous. They were different nations with different religions and practices 2 centuries ago and only naïve racist white men can’t tell the difference between Indian tribes. I don’t think the violent occupations of campus buildings should merit anything but immediate expulsions and prison sentences. In the end, this is just another instance of a loud and vocal minority who happens to get lots of media time imposing another facet of their theology on an unwilling population.
I have on my desk a quote from Stephen Balch, “Our colleges have become less marketplaces of ideas than churches in which you have to be a true believer to get a seat in the pews.” This is more proof he’s right.Powered by Sidelines