Recently in the sports-world the governing body of College athletics, the NCAA, took a stand against nicknames that it deems "hostile or abusive". Basically, the NCAA has decided to go politically correct and stop people from using "Indians" or its permutations as school mascots. The NCAA has actually lagged a bit on this national trend. Pressure has been all over high schools to change their names, and most comply.
The NCAA really needs to get off its high horse. If it really cared about banishing all hostile and abusive nicknames it would be going after nearly every school it governs. I ask, hypothetically, why is this supposed denigration limited to Native Americans? Shouldn't they be attacking all Universities that employ racial stereotypes and hostile mascots. Why go after the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota and not the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame? Why not the Columbia College Hollywood Claim Jumpers? Why not the Providence Friars? Why is there no outrage about the Earlham Hustlin' Quakers? The difference is that the Irish, Quakers, Catholics and, um, descendants of claim jumpers (I guess) don't get their panties in a twist as easily as Indians, or more likely, people who have decided to be indignant on their behalf. Going a step farther. If the NCAA really cared about keeping Indian names sacred then they would move their headquarters out of "Indian"apolis, "Indian"a.
Disagree with my "panties in a twist" comment? Think white people would dislike being used as mascots? EHHH. WRONG! The University of Northern Colorado actually tried this. In response to a local High School that refused to change its name from the "Fighting Reds". The Northern Colorado basketball team, composed of Native Americans and Latinos, decided to make its team name the "Fighting Whities." However, this did not have the effect intended. Instead of offended, people loved the nickname and the team was bombarded with requests for jerseys and t-shirts.
Racial tones aside, the idea that mascots should not be "hostile" is pretty dumb too. The whole point of a mascot is to be scary! There is now a school that thinks it will have to change its name from the "marauders" because pirates "weren't nice to women". Nicknames are not meant to be nice. They are meant to be intimidating! No one is scared by a team called the "banana-slugs." I don't want to watch a football game between the "Fuzzy Bunnies" and "The Sea Cucumbers." Soon we will probably have a list of acceptable team names that is composed solely of vegetables and herbivore animals. I can see the news blurb now: "Florida State, formerly the "Seminoles", formerly the "Jaguars", formerly the "Fighting Amoeba", has been denied its requested team name "The Cotton Puffs" on the grounds that the word "cotton" reminds people of slavery and is therefore racist. Florida State will be forced to continue using its assigned, gender-neutral, hate-free, racially sensitive name "Marmalade Jelly"."
Yes I know this is a bit Orwellian with the slippery slope argument. But, really. Americans really need to lighten up. Please, NCAA. You have a lot of other problems. Leave this battle alone.