Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mile High Mids Blogger Pens Boone Essay

By Brendon Loy
"...when we see that being ripped out for reasons that make no sense"
Not that it matters much what I think, as a mere outsider who roots for the DU basketball team, but the above-quoted point seems key to me. 

I've read a lot of statements by anti-Boone folks, from the Chancellor's 2008 letter to quotes in the Clarion to comments here and elsewhere, and I've tried to read them with an open mind (after all, I don't really have a dog in this fight), yet I've never seen an articulation of the reasons for eliminating Boone that actually makes sense to a neutral third-party observer. It all feels like coded diversity-speak, preaching to the choir instead of trying to persuade those on the fence. There MIGHT BE good reasons to eliminate Boone, but if there are, they aren't being articulated well at all. It seems like the anti-Boone folks don't particularly feel the need to try and persuade others that they're right, and that's a shame. They need to try harder, IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I've seen knee-jerk reactions are both sides. Members of majority groups shouldn't automatically scoff at minority groups' concerns and say they're just being oversensitive, because there are times when their concerns are very legitimate. (For this reason, the simple "put it to a vote" idea strikes me as somewhat problematic.) Also, it isn't enough to just cry "tradition" and leave it at that, because there certainly ARE cases where "tradition" must give way to a concern for being respectful of particular groups. 

The elimination of the mascot at my mother's alma mater, the University of Illinois, comes to mind. My mom had a lot of fond memories of Chief Illiniwek, but she also ultimately came to recognize that, reluctantly, yes, he had to go. The reasons for that made sense. But with Boone, it's far less self-evident WHY he's offensive (particularly if his name were to be changed). Again, MAYBE HE IS offensive, but you can't just *assert* that without explaining why, or say "he doesn't reflect DU's diversity and the true Pioneer spirit" (which is a meaningless statement without elaboration -- mascots aren't supposed to be mirrors held up to a student body, so this "diversity" argument just sounds like ivory-tower P.C. mumbo-jumbo to anyone outside the bubble). 

This issue would, I think, be far less bitingly divisive if the anti-Boone folks would more convincingly EXPLAIN why they think Boone must go. As it is, it tends to feel like they're ignoring their opponents, and pushing through these anti-Boone measures regardless of what anyone thinks, instead of truly engaging those with whom they disagree.

Perhaps I'm wrong, being an outsider to this situation. But that's the impression that I get. IMHO, even if the anti-Boone folks ultimately stick to their guns on the decision, they need to engage in more discussion and explanation and persuasion, so that people on the other side of the issue don't feel like they're just being ignored.

And for heavens' sake, anti-Boone folks, don't respond to the concerns with some variation of "Boone has to be eliminated because he offends some people" and leave it at that. That's just not good enough. Sometimes people are offended for good, valid reasons; other times, people are offended because of misinformation or misinterpretation, or just because, yes, they're overly sensitive. (I said earlier that we shouldn't just automatically assume this, but sometimes, in certain situations, it's true.)

More information is needed to determine which of those situations this is. If you want to get rid of Boone, the logical burden is on you to convince people of the need for that change (since you're the ones proposing to change the status quo), which means you need to explain why the offense taken over Boone is *rational* and *legitimate*, not just say "some people are offended" as if that ends the discussion.

Just my two (okay, like five) cents.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep. Well done.

I wonder if an astronaut will be on the envelope of the next donation request I get from DU.

Anonymous said...

If it is, the only place I'll be "rocketing" that donation envelope is the trash. I'm another alumn who won't give a dime to DU for its pathetic mismanagement.

vizoroo said...

Valid points. Haven't yet see cogent, to the point reasoning wht Boone should be replaced.

Would wearing a cowboy hat make hin less "offensive"?

Should we change from Pioneers to Settlers? Think about it.

dggoddard said...

Native Americans wore coonskin hats long before any Pioneers showed up. Wikipedia confirms this.

There are paintings in the Broadmoor Hotel of Native Americans crossing through the Rockies during a blizzard wearing Coonskin hats.

Tonight the Task Force is meeting again .... Ox, elk, astronaut, miner, ox, elk, astronaut, miner and so on and so on.

Will the Mascot be female? Will they build two mascots? Who's going to pay for the artwork for the logo? Will the Athletic Department play along and stick the elk, ox, miner or astronaut on the uni's? Will anybody buy a DU hockey jersey with an elk, ox, miner or astronaut on it?

Anonymous said...

My support of the athletic department will not waver. Academia can kiss my azz.

Anonymous said...

No more anonymous posts? Decesion final?

Final, until my ego can't take it anymore. Excuse me for my continued lack of any substance or credibility.