There is something to be said for the kind of justice that resolves itself. UI Trustees Stuart King and Edward McMillan learned a lesson on it this past year when their trip to Miami, Oklahoma didn't likely pan out the way they'd hoped.
The News-Gazette recently published a Letter to the Editor penned by Professor Jay Rosenstein, wherein he details the end result of what was billed as something of a fact-finding trip, but was really just another pathetic effort to sell snake oil to a group of Native Americans who know bullshit from honesty.
My favorite section:
Instead of endorsing Chief Illiniwek, the Peoria responded by releasing the tribe's most absolute and damning statement ever regarding Chief Illiniwek.
It reads in part: "The image portrayed by Chief Illiniwek does not ... honor the heritage of the Peoria Tribe ... and is a degrading racial stereotype that reflects negatively on all American Indian people."
It continues, "The Peoria Tribe of Indians does not endorse or sanction ... Chief Iliniwek as mascot for the University of Illinois, nor do they have any future plans to rescind the tribal resolution" — and then, just to twist the knife a little deeper — "which was approved by a unanimous vote."
And so the trustees were sent back home, the door being slammed shut and locked behind them. As far as the Peoria are concerned, discussions about Chief Illiniwek are over, for good.
In the end, there still is no end, however. Chancellor Jones, President Killeen, and the powers that be at UIUC seem deadset on beating a dying horse until it drowns in its own blood. A merciful death to the issue was long ago rendered impossible. We are still the laughing stock on this issue, worldwide.
As the Editorial Board at the News-Gazette recently stated, this attempt to placate both sides of the issue is a "a magnificent waste of time that will continue until someone in charge finally wises up."
Indeed, that's the truth.
Top photo by Anders Krusberg/Peabody Awards