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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Political correctness takes toll on mascot

Sunday, July 27, 2003

I see where the National Alumni Association at Southeast Missouri State University wants to eliminate the "Indian" name and mascot from the university's program. The group voted quietly last week to seek input on changing the mascot though it may be a year away before the matter is resolved.

What I found somewhat humorous about the announcement was the denial from the Association that the change had anything to do with "political correctness."Well of course it does and it's an insult - albeit a mild one - to say otherwise.

It has been about a dozen years or so since this political correctness wave swept this country. Nearly three dozen schools have already removed the "Indian" label from their teams. An equal number have not. I assume that satisfied someone but I think it's a phony issue.

SEMO has been the "Indians" since 1922. I have never heard of any protest against the name in all of those years. The women's teams at SEMO are named the Otahkians for an Indian princess. That seems a high form of flattery in my mind at least.

In a nod to the political correct movement, the SEMO students discontinued using Indian dress at games 17 years ago. But apparently that step was not nearly enough.

In the end the university will make a host of arguments why the name "Indians" is outdated and no longer acceptable in a caring society. And if you accept that argument, more power to you.

Here's my read on the matter. The name "Indian" was probably adopted to reflect the heritage of this area and to bring recognition for the bravery and courage of the Native Americans who occupied this land long before we did. It's too bad that we've allowed some to turn this into a political issue. But increasingly, majority rule no longer prevails in this nation and thus the Indians and the Braves and many others may well someday be history.

Are we a better society for these changes? I doubt it.

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