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More Mascot Madness: The Next Target is the Vikings

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My latest in PJ Media:

Given the relatively recent demise of the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Vikings should be looking over their shoulder. Western Washington University (WWU), which also has a Viking mascot, is considering dropping it because it’s colonialist and white supremacist and all that, and if they do, the NFL team may soon afterward have to play as the Minnesota Football Team for a while.

The College Fix reported Thursday that “Western Washington University may scrap its Viking mascot and is currently conducting an investigation to help make a final decision on the issue. The effort was spawned in part from requests asking the public university to remove the names of four buildings on campus due to racism concerns,” one of which is the Viking Union.

A “strong majority” of WWU’s Legacy Review Task Force recommended that the Viking Union be renamed: “The Task Force was concerned about the harm caused by asking all members of the Western community to identify with a figure that is potentially exclusive on the basis of both ethnicity and gender.” Not only is the Viking a white male, that is, a member of not one but two taboo groups, but he is an imperialist: “Furthermore, the Task Force found names idolizing conquest as out of line with the university’s contemporary values around honoring local Indigenous communities. Task Force members who did not recommend renaming in this report proposed the building name be evaluated alongside the mascot by a separate committee.”

In line with the Task Force recommendations, the WWU Board of Trustees ordered university officials “to conduct a more thorough assessment of the Viking name in the broader context of the University mascot.”

That’s great, but it’s hard not to notice that the entire mascot brouhaha, from beginning to end, is not only stupid; it’s incoherent. The Redskins and Indians were forbidden because the use of Native Americans as mascots was supposedly degrading and dehumanizing. The names had to go because they were demeaning and insulting. All over the country, teams at all levels dropped their Indian-related names in order to show their respect and regard for American Indians.

At the same time, however, teams all over the country have dropped their Crusader nickname because they don’t want to seem to be glorifying the Crusaders, which in modern myth (and not remotely in reality) were rapacious, imperialist, unprovoked attacks upon peaceful, wise, indigenous Muslim people. The schools that bore the Crusader name didn’t want to appear to be supporting such actions by white supremacists against innocent people of color, so the Crusaders had to go. And now it’s a similar situation at WWU with the Vikings: Western Washington University doesn’t want to appear to be “idolizing conquest.”

There is more. Read the rest here.

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