Commentary

California University Kills Off Seemingly Harmless Mascot over 'White Supremacy'

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The political correctness and identity politics pushed hard by the left have reached absurd depths on college and university campuses across the nation, reaching the point where even mascots that an overwhelming majority of Americans would find inoffensive are now branded as downright evil.

Case in point: the now-former mascot of California State University-Long Beach, an 1849 gold rush miner nicknamed “Prospector Pete,” that has been labeled as an offensive representation of “white supremacy,” “racism,” “genocide” and “colonization,” according to The College Fix.

There has actually been a growing debate over the school’s mascot for decades, resulting in the 2017 formation at the urging of liberal student activists of a special committee to study issues surrounding the mascot.

The committee reached a decision on retiring the mascot, which was announced on Sept. 20 by university President Jane Close Conoley.

“As our diversity grew and more voices were heard, we came to know that the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide,” Conoley said in a statement to the Solano County Daily Republic.

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“Today, the spirit of inclusivity is reflected in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Today’s (Long) Beach is not connected to that era,” she added.

Activists compelled the student government in March to draft a resolution calling for a transition in the school’s mascot. The resolution asserted that some 80 percent of the state’s indigenous population at that time had been killed through disease, enslavement, malnutrition and massacres in the 20-year period following the start of the gold rush.

“Multiple scholars have cited the California Prospectors, also known as the 49ers, as culpable in violent and genocidal acts against the indigenous people of California,” the resolution said. “Prospectors in California perpetuated colonization, white supremacy, racism and exclusion ideals not only against indigenous American communities, but also women, people of color and non-Protestant communities.”

The university campus itself is said to have been built on the sacred site of a former village of the local Gabrielino-Tongva tribe, and the school heralds its deep roots in Native American culture and history.

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The director of the school’s American Indian Studies Program, professor Craig Stone, is fully supportive of the mascot change, as he said the mascot can evoke “historical trauma” in some people that can prove alienating to some students and faculty.

The school’s mascot is embodied in a large bronze statue that is formally named “The Forty-Niner Man,” which had been erected in a main campus plaza by the school’s founding President Pete Peterson — who claimed to have “struck the gold of education” with the establishment of the school in 1949 — and after whom the statue has since been informally nicknamed.

Conoley insisted that, in the interest of preserving the state’s history, the statue would not be torn down or destroyed, as the nation has witnessed occurring at other campuses with far too many other statues of historical figures.

Instead, she called for the statue to be moved to a less prominent location on campus, where a new alumni center building will soon be constructed.

School officials are now asking for input from students, alumni and the surrounding community for a new mascot to replace “Prospector Pete,” and while there weren’t any replacements proposed immediately, it is highly likely that the new mascot won’t represent any specific person or group of people, as that could risk offending some or culturally appropriating from others.

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May we suggest the school adopt the “Snowflake” as their new mascot, and even though there is very little snow in southern California for which the mascot could be named, there is also very little common sense or respect for reality anymore either, so it seems apt.

This sort of ridiculousness is the inevitable result of identity politics and political correctness run amok, in that now virtually anything and everything from our nation’s storied history can now be deemed offensive. We can only wonder how long it will be until these same activists pressure the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers to change their mascot as well, seeing as gold rush prospectors are now considered genocidal racist white supremacists, at least by idiotic leftists.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
Birthplace
Louisiana
Nationality
American
Education
The School of Life
Location
Little Rock, Arkansas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics




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