In our toxic age of political correctness, nothing is immune from liberal political attacks, even the beautiful, majestic and endangered tigers. It seems obvious that tigers should be supported since their numbers are dwindling the in the wild and their natural habitats are constantly shrinking.
Most people probably think it is innocent for Louisiana State University (LSU) to feature tigers as their mascot and display a well maintained “Mike the Tiger” in an air conditioned, deluxe enclosure right outside the football stadium. This $3 million habitat is a mansion that tigers in the wild or any animal for that matter would love to call home.
Unfortunately, all those assumptions are incorrect in an age of stifling political correctness. Today, it seems that the “Fighting Tigers” are racist symbols of oppression to African American students at LSU.
In 1895, the nickname “Fighting Tigers” was adopted at LSU to honor the famed Louisiana infantry of the Civil War. These fighters were known as “Tigers” and were celebrated for being particularly courageous and battle-hardened warriors.
The name was given to LSU by the original football coach of the school, Dr. Charles E. Coates. He wanted his football teams to display the same fight on the gridiron that the Civil War soldiers showed on the battlefield.
Since that time, the nickname has honored both the beautiful big cats of the jungle and the Louisiana Confederate soldiers.
Sadly, in our age of historical revisionism, when Confederate monuments are under attack across the country, anything associated with the South during the Civil War has become controversial, even a harmless nickname.
Today, an online petition at www.Change.org has gathered 568 signatures demanding that LSU remove the Tigers mascot. The organizer, LaMallori LSU, claims that the Tigers mascot is “the most prevalent Confederate symbol in the United States” and that it is “incredibly insulting” for black students to deal with the racism associated with the mascot. LaMallori LSU also states that the Louisiana Civil War infantry mistreated slaves by engaging in violent abuse of the innocent African Americans of that era.
This mascot has been used for 122 years, it is a symbol of pride for LSU fans. Historically, it has not been viewed by any LSU supporter as a symbol of racism. Only left-wing agitators would link the use of the nickname Tigers with racism.
The petition is just the latest outrageous move by leftists to remove monuments and change names of anything associated with the Confederacy. The left was emboldened when the liberal Democrat Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, was successful in removing four Confederate monuments in the city. In the aftermath, organizers have targeted dozens of other monuments to remove and names to change.
The next step for Louisiana and the rest of the South is unknown. Remaining Confederate monuments in New Orleans are being defaced and damaged while the Mayor has done nothing to protect them. It is almost as if Mayor Landrieu is encouraging the destruction of these valuable monuments.
Obviously, mascots are not immune to this crazed, disturbing movement. In the NFL, activists have targeted the Washington Redskins because the nickname is supposedly offensive to Native Americans. Never mind that the name was originally bestowed on the team as a sign of respect and honor for Native Americans.
In the world of college sports today, the Tigers are not alone in coming under fire. For years, teams with the nickname Indians or Rebels have been pressured to change. At Ole Miss, the Colonel Reb mascot is no longer used while the Mississippi state flag is no longer allowed in the stadium.
What is next? Tulane University was named after a wealthy benefactor of the Confederacy, Paul Tulane. Does that school name need to change?
The LSU Tigers petition has not generated many signatures, thankfully, but it is creating significant publicity nationwide. With the politically correct leadership of universities across the nation, including LSU, there is no guarantee that these types of demands will not be given earnest consideration.
The overall ultimatums in the petition are quite chilling. The organizer calls for an end to not only the Tigers nickname, but also for “the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down.” The petition also takes aim at the “Mike the Tiger” mascot. It states, “It’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people. They’ve never been in a cage!”
This “march toward justice” is a march toward insanity, a march toward devastation. The efforts to erase history, remove monuments, change names and mascots must stop immediately. If not, our country will disintegrate before our very eyes.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]