Block Those Warriors

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Can
you imagine how chaotic our lives would be if we didn't have government
watchdogs to regulate our behavior? It is for our own good that
government agencies like the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (CRC)
determine and enforce correct thought and correct speech. Without
this agency a serious national problem might have been ignored.
I'm referring to insensitive mascot names schools and universities
use for their sports teams. A couple of recent news items prove
that the CRC is courageously eliminating these hurtful nicknames.

A
school board in the little town of Watkinsville, GA received a request
from the CRC to change the nickname of its sports teams from "Warrior"
to something less racist. Actually the recommendation was made to
the school board's Cultural Awareness Task Force who agreed that
the ethnic mascot name should be dropped because of the potential
hurt it might cause certain groups.

Colgate
University was persuaded to drop "Red" from its sports
logo, "Red Raiders", because it may be "offensive
to the general public in ways that undermine the institution's values
and commitments." The nickname Red Raiders was originally coined
in 1932 because of the maroon uniforms worn by that year's unbeaten
football team. But from now on the team will simply be called "Raiders",
unless that nickname proves to be injurious to some other group.

The
CRC probably understands better than most of us the pain and anguish
a Native American experiences upon seeing the nickname Red Raiders.
However, because of the CRC's efforts, we are learning that pernicious
mascot names are causing unimaginable harm to segments of our society
and we should be grateful that this stellar agency is trying to
get rid of them.

But
America came so close to losing the CRC. Originally created in 1957
by President Eisenhower, the CRC was designated as a "temporary"
agency authorized for two years. With a budgeted staff of six and
an annual cost of $200,000, it was charged with examining the nations
race relations and submitting recommendations. Unable to complete
its task in two years the President granted an extension.

After
a few more years the CRC completed its examination and submitted
its findings. Its recommendations were the impetus for the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 that created a multitude of new government departments
and laws to monitor race relations in every facet of society.

A
private organization would have terminated the agency once its mission
had been accomplished. But the Federal government never disbands
an agency or repeals a law. So the CRC is still around almost 50
years later because whenever its term has expired, the current President
has always extended it for additional years. The signing of the
extension legislation takes place at a formal televised ceremony
with the President surrounded by Civil Rights celebrities; a glittering
photo-op to show minority voters the extent of the government's
concern.

But
once its original mission was accomplished, the CRC had to search
for new projects in order to stay busy. So over the years it has
broadened its scope to include such problems as insensitive mascot
names. Its staff has increased significantly and it has also created
six regional offices. In addition, all 50 States and the District
of Columbia have CRC Regional Advisory Committees. But the current
annual cost of CRC functions is only a paltry 10 million dollars.
Another example of how prudently the Federal government spends our
taxes.

So,
luckily, America has this outstanding agency to address the nation's
vital
problems. But, as much as we admire the CRC, it must do a better
job of policing mascot names because schools and universities cannot
be trusted to make correct decisions. Indeed some of their actions
seem duplicitous as illustrated by the following case.

Stanford
University yielded to CRC pressure by changing the name of its football
team from "Indians" (an obvious racist slur against American
Indians) to "Cardinals." Although Cardinal does refer
to a beautiful red bird, whose brain is not sufficiently developed
to grasp the meanness of this affront, the name also describes one
of the highest orders of Roman Catholic priests, second only to
the Pope. It is unconscionable for Stanford University to denigrate
these clergymen by using their title as a nickname for its football
team. After all the civil rights of clergy deserve the same protection
as the civil rights of Indians!

I
have a proposal to put an end to offensive mascot names that will
also allow the CRC to drastically reduce the number of its school
investigations. In order to formulate my plan I assumed the mindset
of a government appointee and, bang, the solution popped into my
mind.

I
propose that the Federal government require advance approval for
all school mascot names. A new government department should be created
and, with assistance from sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists,
it could develop a computer data bank of information to be scanned
when a proposed nickname is submitted for approval. Thus, the department
could determine if the name might cause offense, not only to any
major cultural and religious classification, but also to categories
that would normally be overlooked, such as ethnic groups in the
Aleutian Islands or tribes in American Samoa.

By
requiring advance approval the government can assure that no one
on the American continent will ever again have to suffer because
of football team nicknames. And this worthy goal will pacify any
complaints about the enormous cost to taxpayers that such an undertaking
will cause.

August
24, 2001

Gail
Jarvis [send
him mail
] is
a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, an unreconstructed Southerner, and
an advocate of limited government.

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