Perception, Not Intent, Relegates Chief Illiniwek to History

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 12, 2013 | Go to article overview

Perception, Not Intent, Relegates Chief Illiniwek to History


In Sunday's column, I angered a number of readers by adding new voices to a 30-year-old suggestion that the University of Illinois needs to find a replacement for the Chief. The university retired the popular, headress-wearing dancer in 2007 amid complaints of racism, but the Chief debate still rages.

Some fans who love and defend the Chief wrote thoughtful emails arguing that my column should be retracted. But I am not some sort of person who gives something and then takes it back.

There is nothing inherently racist in that last sentence, but I understand how some of you could be offended by it. We all have different perceptions, and sometimes we don't comprehend how others, especially those with minority opinions, could see things differently.

I was guilty of using an offensive word while writing my column about the Chief. Daily Herald Managing Editor Jim Baumann, one of several graduates of the University of Illinois among my bosses, saved me. I innocently wrote that the president of the Native American & Indigenous Student Organization on campus "spearheaded" the push to have students vote on a replacement for the Chief. It never occurred to me that anyone would see that word as a racist stereotype about Indians on the warpath. But Jim alerted me to that possibility and suggested we change it. I am grateful we did, as I don't want to offend.

Neither do most supporters of the Chief. The Chief began in 1926 when Boy Scout Lester Leutwiler made his own Indian costume and tom-tom and concocted a dance as his way to honor our first residents. Supporters of the Chief still see him as a noble tribute. The Chief was never some mascot out to get laughs by clowning around with Wisconsin's Bucky Badger or Brutus the Buckeye from Ohio State. His performances almost came across as sacred religious rituals, which also have no place at a public university's halftime show.

Several readers dismissed my arguments, noting I graduated from rival Northwestern, which, in spite of a student vote in 1972 in support of the Purple Haze, went from the Fighting Methodists to the Wildcats. I've been to games in Champaign, watched the Chief perform a dozen times, and understand how the moving and emotional Chief performances bring tears to the eyes and warm the hearts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Perception, Not Intent, Relegates Chief Illiniwek to History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.