Many might expect to hear the word; finally! But the effort to remove Chief Illiniwek was never about the mascot, it was and remains to be about racism. Yes, that ugly term, that ugly ideology. These mascots around the United States are not the problem itself but symptoms of a deeper more troubling social and national ailment; the willingness to deny basic human rights to some, through tyranny of the majority or the powerful. Today while conscientious people globally will mark the day UIUC dropped its symptom, they also know that sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity continue to endanger us all.
How is it that black face can still show up at parties and social events? While immediately and broadly condemned the legacy of Jim Crow still oozes out trying to find acceptance for the indefensible. And do we labor at making n-word the polite company rendition of nigger so some artificial peace can be made with the past when we should seek to eliminate the ideology that inextricably links them together? Yet overlooked are the red faces that show up every weekend somewhere in America to cheers and adorning defenders in the name of team spirit, not understanding these red (or black or brown or yellow) faces are the same thing pointed at different racial groups. Today might well be the end of Chief Illiniwek, let us see how the good people of Illinois rise to the occasion. However, it is not the end of racial injustice. We still have much work to do, hear at home.
Vice-President, National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media