As is tradition, I will start by simply stating how tired I am of having to write this piece. The Anti-Chief protesters that are on the front lines are tired of having to show up, and scream through megaphones to get other people to understand why this whole "Chief" thing is just doggoned wrong. The Pro-Chief crowd is getting worn out as well.
And believe me, the administration is all like, "Please Lord for all that is holy can't we please put an end to this?"
And in a lot of ways, that is up to them. They know it.
Today gives us another example of that, in full showcase.
Let me be so 100% clear: the average Pro-Chief supporter isn't filled with hate, or some wild-eyed activist. Trust me. Most of the people I know who are "Pro-Chief" are just confused. They aren't hateful. The ones that I know personally are some of the kindest people I know, in fact. I graciously have them over for meals and to spend time with my children. I can attest to the idea that this whole thing is simply not rooted in any sort of outward "hate."
Let's reserve that sort of analysis for Neo-Nazis and Alt-Right activists, people who are actively trying to dissolve cultures and history — violently — and without regard for the idea of their neighbors.
No, the Pro-Chief crowd is badly confused. And I have sympathy for that, in some ways. No matter how much of an aggression it is, I see a difference.
After all, it must be painful to be so mixed up about something so fundamental.
But it doesn't matter, right now. They will be gone soon. And they know it, too. They can hear it. The death rattle. It is long overdue.
Yesterday, Professor Emeritus Stephen Kaufman, and the President of the Illinois Student Government, Ms. Raneem Shamseldin, emailed the Big Ten Network to take issue with their broadcast this past Saturday of the Illinois-Indiana game at Memorial Stadium, and to remind them that sales of any "Chief" iconography has been expressly prohibited by the NCAA, which is the governing body of their conference.
They copied every single Chancellor in the entire conference, and the President of the NCAA, too. Oh, you dawgs...
Here's the email exchange:
A solid response, quite frankly. I'll let it slip that Mr. Traviolia referred to Ms. Shamseldin as a "Mister." People make mistakes. Again, we should focus on malice before we dissect intent.
Regardless, the reality is that the "Chief" is no longer welcome by the powers that be, no matter how many people "support" it. And that's a good thing. Most of the time, it's the minority that wins the battle in the history books, not the other way around.
Want more proof? Just today, an unsanctioned Facebook event, hosted by the Champaign County Young Republicans, at a local pub that had no prior knowledge of it, was being promoted as a "Happy Hour with Chief Illiniwek".
The image to promote it was of the minstrel show we all know so well.
Within a day, it was moved to an "undisclosed location" and is now being promoted as "Happy Hour with Ivan 'Alex' Dozier", who is a former impersonator of the "Chief", and who claims to have "Native American" ancestry.
He was raised in Monticello, mind you, for the record.
It's basically game over.
Fact is, the Honor The Chief Society will continue to operate, and be vocal, and express derision about how their "freedom of speech" is being violated. But it will not get them anywhere. One needs to be able to correctly understand and define the right being stripped of them in order to truly protest it.
The Chief is not coming back. Not ever. Not officially, anyhow. And the movement will die, just the same as every other one like it that came before did.
Newsflash y'all: smoking in bars isn't coming back. Neither is driving around with an open beer in one hand, or even being allowed to ride without a seatbelt. You can't open a fried chicken restaurant with a Sambo as a promotional tool, and you no longer get to make unwanted sexual advances towards anyone, ever.
So, that's the real news. It's not fake. This is what is actually happening. These are facts. And again, that's a good thing. Real news is good.
The pain enacted upon those who are truly oppressed isn't based in conjecture or misunderstanding. It's not because of people not being tough enough, or strong enough. There is no goddamned snowflake.
It's based upon experiences that hurt them. It's based in reality.
Those who are perpetuating those experiences need to grow the fuck up.
It is a painful moment in this nation's history for many people, for many reasons. But it's not like it just started. It's always been there. The abused and the most ignored are simply getting to hear about it for the first time. It's painful. I get it.
But in the midst of it, I try to appreciate that things are changing for the better, and based on good reason. I know that "nothing ever changes, unless there's some pain."
H/T Stephen Kaufmann; H/T Eric Schacht
Note: Yes, I blacked out the name of the venue that was unwittingly playing host to the event. I haven't gotten an official statement from them, and frankly, it's damned if you do and damned if you don't. They are a bar, and from what I am told, never asked to be dragged into the debate. Let's not make it their issue.