Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Friday, February 16, 2007

An Open Letter to the University of Illinois

Dear University of Illinois,

Welcome to the 21st century! It's wonderful to have you here!

Back when your talented faculty created HAL, the supercomputer who shot to fame in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the world assumed your halls were populated by hyper-evolved eggheads.

Until, that is, the world caught one of your basketball games on TV and watched, gape-jawed, as you sent a (European American) student out dressed in Native American Indian spiritual regalia to dance around the basketball court while other (European American) students stood around in a circle, arms folded, faces stern and sober, like that crying-Indian guy on the anti-pollution public service announcement, yeah, that's the one.

You argued that Chief Illiniwek honored Native Americans. You were wrong. You announced today that you've decided to put that hurtful parody to rest.

Thanks for finally doing the right thing. And welcome to modernity! It's nice here.


Blogger violetnoir said...

K, when will the racist bullsh*t stop?

I'm afraid not in my lifetime...

And, I bet it's safe to say that none of the participants suffered any consequences. Am I right?


2:48 PM, February 16, 2007  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

R -- this isn't a one-time deal, it's an 81-year-old "tradition!" I hadn't thought much of it except to note that it sounded like some archaic and vaguely offensive ritual, until I went to a basketball game myself and witnessed it. I'm telling you, it's like seeing people dancing around in blackface at a minstrel show. What's especially interesting now is that the two students who play the role of The Chief at sporting events are suing the university, claiming that the elimination of their character will harm them (though I'm not sure how, as I haven't seen the specifics of the case). Supposedly Chief paraphernalia is flying off the shelves around here and selling for big bux on eBay. For a millisecond the opportunist in me thought, Ooh, gotta buy one, it's a piece of history, but then I realized owning such an item would make me feel dirty (which is why I've never bought one before).

9:21 PM, February 16, 2007  
Blogger Bela said...


I was going to mention The Black and White Minstrel Show, which I discovered, to my horror, when I came to England for the first time in 1969. The elderly woman I was staying with used to watch it every week. Apparently, it went on until 1978. Incredible!

8:53 AM, February 18, 2007  
Blogger adamina said...

Do you think Gizmo could be the next mascot?

8:53 PM, March 05, 2007  

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