The NCAA recently banned the use of school mascots with American Indian nicknames. Working at a school whose mascot might some day be deemed offensive, the issue is of the utmost important to me (at least while I procrastinate on my conference paper). Near as I can tell, one of the most popular rhetorical strategies for arguing against the ban is to suggest the NCAA also ban animal mascots. [Note: I realize the last one is a joke, but often art imitates life.]

Leave it to my fearless class president, Jeffrey Zeeman, to come up with a better riff on the subject:

Speaking of Lord Jeffrey, if the NCAA is banning Native American sports team names, shouldn’t they also ban the Lord Jeff, given that he purposefully distributed small pox infected blankets to the natives? At least our mascot is far more politicall correct, being an Indian Killee as opposed to an Indian Killer.

Quite simply a brilliant suggestion. Some enterprising undergraduates should start petitioning NESCAC to ban the use of mascots who used biological weapons against defenseless people. Wesleyan wouldn’t and shouldn’t change its nickname to the “Saddams.” Why should two hundred plus years of history permit Amherst to display (nay, flaunt) such a casual attitude about genocide?

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