Weather Forecast


LETTER: 'Fighting Sioux' fans' intransigence doesn't help UND

Wyatt Benson and many others give "Sioux pride" as their justification to insult and injure American Indians with the Fighting Sioux nickname in defiance of a statewide vote ("Adopting new nickname adds insult to injury," Page A4, May 25) .

Imagine thousands of people using your name and image in a harmful way even after you've asked, pleaded and demanded that they stop.

That's exactly what happens when fans continue to use the Fighting Sioux nickname against the explicit, repeated wishes of actual Sioux people, not to mention the North Dakotans who voted in a landslide to authorize the name's retirement for good.

Undoubtedly, some feel genuine pride and admiration for the nickname, even though these positive feelings ultimately are based in harmful stereotypes.

But let's be frank: much of what masquerades as "Sioux pride" really is racism and resentment from those who sincerely believe that the NCAA bowed to the "unreasonable demands" of a "whiny" minority. The bigoted comments and offensive nickname suggestions they've put forward throughout this debacle prove that racism plays a much bigger role than most of us are willing to acknowledge.

So, let's call "Sioux pride" what it so often is: poorly concealed bigotry and rancor toward American Indians and those who advocate against harmful stereotypes.

And let's be clear: avoiding a harmful use of someone's name or image isn't political correctness; it's common decency. Abundant research shows that the use of American Indian nicknames leads to many negative consequences among Indian and non-Indian people. That's why the American Psychological Association called for the immediate retirement of Indian nicknames; the stereotypes these nicknames perpetuate, no matter how "positive" they may seem, hurt everyone.

I'm looking forward to a time when I can mention my alma mater without the profound sense of shame associated with the Fighting Sioux nickname and the ridiculous, costly battles to keep that harmful reminder of uninformed attitudes. Time for the "Fighting Sioux forever" crowd to grow up and let it go.