Chief Illiniwek Will No Longer Perform

UIUC has decided to discontinue Chief Illiniwek….

Absent from the official UIUC response is any mention of the ethical reasons for eliminating the “Chief.” Labeling Chief Illiniwek as a positive tradition, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has done little to address the racism of this “tradition.” Chief Illiniwek may be finished. However, racism, stereotyping, and oppression seem to unfortunately be going strong amongst the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The board seems more concerned with losing money from alumni and re-gaining access to lucrative post-season collegiate athletics.

This sends a terrible message to all white students at UIUC. The University and its Board have made it clear that listening to people of color and their allies does not matter. I’ve included the full text of the press release from the University of Illinois. Nowhere in the release is it mentioned that the Chief was a racist caricature that stereotyped Native Americans.

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Racism, Power and Privilege at UIUC

Racism, Power and Privilege at UIUC

The webcast of the Racism, Power and Privilege forum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is up at I Resist. The forum video is extremely powerful. It is over 2 hours in length. I highly recommend watching if you are interested in the UIUC and Chief Illiniwek.

via A Native Perspective on UIUC’s “Chief Illiniwek”

Also, check out a flash slideshow on Racism, Power and Privilege at UIUC. The folks at I Resist are doing an awesome job of documenting the anti-chief/pro-social justice movement at UIUC.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis
Angela Davis was the keynote speaker for a recent social justice conference at Oregon State University. The Your Voice, Your Conference: Awareness, Solidarity, and Action explored “how systems of oppression impact our lives and communities.”

I think I have a social justice crush on Angela Davis. More than 1,000 people attended her talk at Oregon State. Two professors from OSU had the privilege of being her students at UC Santa Cruz. Angela Davis could have talked for a week and I think we all would have listened.

Angela Davis‘ talk covered many topics including: historical memory, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Condoleeza Rice, George Bush, Affirmative Action, Diversity, Marriage, Activism, Racism, Critical Awareness and Prison Systems.

Davis talked about the importance of “historical memory” and the Civil Rights Movement. “The figure of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been set aside and isolated and represented as the lone historical figure, so everyone else who participated in the Civil Rights Movement falls away.”

Davis mentioned that she took umbrage with the term “diversity.” She said that “Diversity is difference that doesn’t make a difference.” Her comments were extremely relevant for institutions of higher education. Enrolling students of color, women, students with disabilities, lgbt students, and students with high financial need does not mean that racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia/heterosexism, and classism will simply disappear. However, “diversity” is thrown around as if it’s a magic anti-oppression elixir. Without social justice oriented, anti-oppression oriented, anti-racist oriented educational efforts, diversity cannot affect change amongst members of the dominant paradigm.

Apparently, both Condoleeza Rice and Angela Davis grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Davis mentioned that people often attempt to refer to Rice as her “homegirl” (cue laughter from 1,000 people) because they share the experience of growing up in the Jim Crow south.

According to Davis, “Rice narrates her life as triumph over racism.” Davis said she needs to constantly “disassociate her story” from Rice’s story. “How can I claim my story is a triumph? We’ve won some victories..some important victories…, but from the time I was quite small, I learned from my mother that it was about collective victory…community triumph, not about an individual rising above the rest. Affirmative action was a strategy designed to enable communities to move forward, collectives to move forward.”

I attempted to record her entire talk, but my pda wasn’t working correctly so I have over an hour of audio that I pieced together from 40 audio snippets.
The fidelity isn’t the greatest but the message is amazing.

“The victories that we win are not always the victories for which we fought.” — Angela Davis

Full audio file [mp3]

Oglala Sioux asks for regalia

The Oglala Sioux Tribe has asked the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to return the Lakota regalia that is currently being worn by UIUC’s “Chief Illiniwek.”

The mascot discussion at Inside Higher Education is a microcosm of what is going on at the University of Illinois.

Chief Illiniwek is a racist caricature. The University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees are sanctioning institutionalized racism.

White people in Illinois who have the institutional power to fix this unjust situation are actively perpetuating racism. That’s about as point-blank as I can write it.

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Heterosexism + Sexism in New York Times

My head just exploded after I read an article in the New York Times entitled “51% of Women are Now Living Without Spouses.” I find this article to be terribly vexing. It is unbelievably heterosexist and sexist.

Apparently, the New York Times’ Sam Roberts believes that marriage is only between a woman and a man. I beg to differ.

The article also contains this gem of a quote from William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution:

“For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage…”

How can it possibly be “worse” that women are “less dependent on men or the institution of marriage?” My feminist hackles are at their maximum.

Please read the article and then let’s discuss it in the comments.

University of Illinois and Chief Illiniwek

Update #2: Debbie Reese, a faculty member at UIUC, blogs at — A Native Perspective on UIUC’s “Chief Illiniwek”. Her latest post contains an email from UIUC’s Chancellor regarding the racist Facebook group.

Update: Inside Higher Education has more information on Chief Illiniwek

I received this in my inbox yesterday…

For Immediate Release January 8, 2006

Pro-Chief Students Issue Call for Racism and Violence against American Indians at University of Illinois

As concerned citizens of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as faculty in the university’s American Indian Studies Program and staff at the Native American House, we wish to call attention to a recent incident of university students explicitly advocating racist violence against American Indians in general and against one American Indian student in particular.

We call on the university leadership and the university community to express public and unequivocal outrage at this incident. We also call on the university authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

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Goode isn’t good

Virgil Goode is a congressman from Virginia. He’s a one-man-oppression machine. He should be called Virgil “the oppressionator 3000” Goode. In a recent letter to constituents, Virgil “the Oppressionator 3000” targeted Minnesota’s newly elected Congressman, Keith Ellison. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.

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Admissions in Michigan

The recent evisceration of affirmative action in Michigan has created a huge problem for admissions staff at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University. The constitutional amendment in Michigan becomes an official part of the state’s constitution on December 22nd. Admissions applications and financial aid packages which were considered while affirmative action was on the books will now need to be modified to meet the new anti-affirmative-action-racist-sexist-white-supremacist-amendment.

The Michigan Attorney General has warned the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University that any attempts to delay the implementation of the new anti-affirmative-action-racist-sexist-white-supremacist-amendment via lawsuits will be “vigorously” challenged.

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