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Change the Racist Mascot of LSU!

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This symbol is the most prevalent confederate symbol in the United States. Louisiana State University named their mascot the Tigers, in 1896. This was just three decades after Louisiana joined the confederacy to defend the institution of slavery. It was also three decades after the Massacre in New Orleans that saw over 200 black men gunned down for exercising their political voice. This was a time when black men feared for their lives, and were treated as subhuman. Despite the ongoing campaign of violence against black people, bourgeois whites occupied their time with football games, without a care in the world for the black people they passed by every day. It is no surprise that the founders of LSU choose to honor a confederate regiment known as the “Fighting Tigers” by naming their school’s mascot after them. Why would they think not to, considering the system these men were a part of a system that benefited them? Would we honor a confederate military unit today? I would like to think we would not, and if it is not ok to do so today, then why is it ok to continue to honor confederate militarism?

These powerful white males choose the Tiger as a symbol to honor the confederate regiment called Louisiana's Tigers. They were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battlefield. Robert E Lee gave them their name after admiring their performance on the battle field. This is a well known fact by most Historians, and there are several books written on the subject. The pro confederate culture of LSU and Louisiana is also well known, and one need only drive down the road to see Confederate Battle Flags with LSU colors on it. We all  know the mindset behind such displays.

It is incredibly insulting for any African American to have attended a school that honors Confederate militants. It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, to walk a campus where white fraternities dominate a racist culture. We’ve all heard the slurs, we have all participated as minorities. It is impossible for the majority to ever understand life from a minority’s perspective. However, it is much different in Louisiana, due to the years of violence inflicted upon our people by the white majority. Many white people answer statements like these with “you’re dredging up the past” and often imply the past ends in 1865. However, blacks were routinely denied their rights up until the 1960s, and it isn’t the ”past” for black people the way it is the “past” for white people. Black men are still being gunned down for having the wrong skin color.

Imagine if Jewish people had to attend a college whose mascot honored an SS Unit. Would we even be having this discussion if this were the case? Why are the two not seen the same? 


In their own words:

"The following year, 1895, we scheduled a game with what was supposed to be the Tulane team, but they were not enough football at Tulane they played anybody they could get hold of. Won this game.

It was the custom at that time, for some occult reason, to call football teams by the names of vicious animals; The Yale Bulldogs and the Princeton Tigers, for example. This is still the vogue. It struck me that purple and gold looked Tigerish enough and I suggested that we choose "Louisiana Tigers," all in conference with the boys. The Louisiana Tigers had represented the state in Civil War and had been known for their hard fighting. This name was applied collectively to the New Orleans Zouaves, the Donaldsonville Cannoniers, and to a number of other Louisiana companies sent to Virginia, who seemed to have the faculty of getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently . One company I knew of went in 200 strong; Only 28 returned and many of these were wounded.

So "Louisiana Tigers" went into the New Orleans papers and became our permanent possession.

Our team did not compare with present-day teams, in skill, ability, or power. I've never heard of it.

A few years later when Col. David F. Boyd, who had been president of the University from 1865 to 1880 and again from 1884 to 1886, returned to the University, he was rather surprised to find purple and gold as the colors. I have been told that they were not the colors, that white and blue had been chosen by him many years ago. But purple and gold had by that time established itself and nothing was ever done about it. Colonel "Dave" also liked the name, "Tigers." I think he was one of them during the Civil War. "Doctor Coates

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We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice. That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down. We are in the final stages of ending our oppression. Our task is not as hard as our predecessors. We do not fear for our lives, for the most part, but we do have a hard task ahead of us. We have to exercise our power in stomping out the last vestiges of racism.

 

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  • LaMallori


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