Wednesday, September 15, 2004

“Diversity” Crowd Mobilizes

The following appeared in the Marquette Tribune in September:

The issue of whether the “Warriors” name for Marquette’s athletic teams should be brought back is now on the table, and the forces of political correctness are mobilizing.


Something called the “Mitchem Committee” has produced a statement that they have e-mailed to all faculty, soliciting professors to “sign on” in support.


The statement is standard leftist cant. It claims, for example, that American Indian team names are “demeaning” to Indians and encourage “stereotyping.” The notion that one demeans any group by naming an athletic team after the group is bizarre beyond belief. Team names are intended to honor the team. Even when teams are named after some disreputable group (“Pirates”), the implication is that the group has some important virtue (being fierce fighters, for example). If team names really demeaned the people in question, there would be no Milwaukee Catholic high school whose teams are called the “Pius Popes.”


In support of the notion that Indian team names are evil, oppressive, stereotypical and just generally politically incorrect, the statement quotes a list of authorities. For example, it notes that the American Anthropological Association opposes Indian team names. With no sense of irony, a bunch of liberal and leftist professors at Marquette cites a whole association of liberal and leftist professors for support. They note that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission supports their position, with no mention of the fact that the Clinton Administration packed that panel with racial hustlers of the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton stripe.


They cite one group that might seem to carry weight: a variety of Indian tribes and councils. The problem with this is that, long before the era of political correctness, Marquette athletic director Hank Raymonds went to all eleven Wisconsin tribes and asked whether they had any problem with “Warriors.” Not only did they have no problem, they donated items of clothing and artifacts to allow the “First Warrior” to be authentically decked out.


Were they stupid then, not knowing that they were being demeaned? Or have increasingly politicized tribes, who are now big players in the politics of states like Wisconsin, decided to support their liberal and leftist political allies?


Clearly, rank and file Indians see no problem with names like Warriors. A national survey commissioned by Sports Illustrated found that 81% of Indians opposed high schools and colleges dropping Indian team names.


But rank and file Indians are not professional grievance collectors. In an amazing display of chutzpah, whites in the diversity crowd ignore what real-world Indians believe, and latch onto statements by like-minded whites, and a few cooperative Native Americans. Outrage over “Warriors” is an example of how the campus grievance industry, having too few real grievances to deal with – or at least too few that they can actually do anything about – concocts a grievance to give itself more things to fume about, feel self-righteous about, and hold meetings about.


In the rarified world of political correctness, one is not supposed to ask questions about what any “victim” group really thinks. One is supposed to accept that abortion is a “women’s issue,” and believe only oppressive white male Republicans could possibly oppose it being legal. (In the real world, women and men don’t differ on the issue.) One is supposed to accept that the death penalty is “racist” and that anybody who supports it is at least “insensitive to the concerns of black people.” (In the real world, about half of all black people support the death penalty.) One is, in other words, supposed to accept liberal and leftist faculty and campus bureaucrats – and a few coopted minorities – as authentic interpreters of what the “victims” believe.


In doing away with the Warriors nickname, Marquette sent a very bad message to prospective students, to alumni and to parents. It sent the message that Marquette is just another politically correct university where questioning is not welcomed, where bad arguments prosper if they come in the name of “sensitivity to minorities,” and few if any people (and no administrators) have the courage to stand up to the smug and self-righteous forces of orthodoxy.


It’s time to undo that blunder.