Well, it’s back, again! The constant complaint by liberal progressives with way too much time on their hands. Sports mascots, college or otherwise that employ Native American and or other ethnic symbols are again in the crosshairs of the cultural sensitivity industry. However, this time around, the target is the mascot of the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. You know, that cute little Leprechaun with his hands up in a fighting stance.
I’ve been a Fighting Irish fan since the 1950s, when my third-grade teacher, Sister St. Paul Peterson, posted newspaper clippings of the Irish football team every Tuesday. Back then, it took a few days for the South Bend Tribune to reach upstate New York. However, the farthest thing from my mind (or anyone else’ for that matter) was that the Fighting Irish mascot and the accompanying semantics somehow impugn or stereotyped all Irish as drunken, unstable or violent prone people. To many Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholics, we thankfully weren’t exposed to the inscrutable wisdom of today’s leftist cultural warriors, that recognized the venial, if not mortal nature of cultural appropriation systemic in the use of ethnic mascots and ideograms. In short, the recurring angst on the part of so many liberals is just another example of them going after the low hanging fruit or soft political targets for them to display how much more superior and socially aware they are. Of course, the goal of their disdain is those knuckle-dragging, bible and gun-toting, racist deplorables known as Conservatives. Oh, wait a minute! I forgot to mention that many Conservatives and Republicans are also anti-intellectual.
Maybe I should quickly call my grown children and grandchildren who are 1/4 Irish among other things and inform them that they should somehow be galled. I just wasn’t a responsible parent. I should have made more of an effort, teaching them about the deep cultural hermeneutics underpinning the use of this genuinely pejorative Irish moniker. Oh, my God! I just realized that I have several pieces of Irish sports apparel touting the Fighting Irish logo. Oh, the shame of it. Plus, I had two sons who attended the University of Notre Dame. Also, I worked at the University for several years, as its Coordinator of Library Instruction. How did I miss this apparent cultural slight to Americans of Irish descent? Imagine me, a black kid in the 1950s, and early 60’s not musing over the issues of cultural sensitivity and appropriation.
But here is the real kicker, no pun intended. I attended an all-boys Catholic high school, who was called the Little Irish, mimicking Notre Dame. The school’s 1900 boys were mostly Italian, some Polish, Irish and of course me. Somewhere along the line, the kind Catholic fathers were derelict in their duties not to point out how “racist” or culturally insensitive it was to employ Irish cultural symbols. Jesus-Mary-Joseph, I must seek some form of cultural contrition right away. In retrospect, I guess somebody should’ve at least told the Irish guys at the high school that they should have been egregiously offended.
In a different setting back in the 1970 and early 1980s, I worked at a Yupik Eskimo Boarding School in North Western Alaska and later at St. Labre Indian School on the Cheyenne and Crow Indian Reservation. Nobody, that I could remember went into full meltdown mold over the use of Native American names or symbols in sports. The truth is. The current controversy over the use of the “The Fighting Irish,” the Washington Redskins or other cultural mascots is little more than outrage in search of a problem. The faith statement of the Progressive Left encourages people to be disgruntled as well as to look for racist implications in just about everything. Maybe I should stop eating Aunt Jemima pancakes.
This orchestrated outrage is the old offspring of years of multiculturalism and cultural diversity indoctrination. Anyone paying attention over the last four decades can verify that our schools in conjunction with the Identity Politics Industry have been spreading this creepy over-the-top secular heresy. In many cases, it is little more than an “ethnic pity-party.” It will do little to bring our nation together. But then again, maybe that is the point. Grievance practitioners within the Democratic Party, survive by keeping minority and other groups riled-up or irked. Their end game is to harvest the votes of these various minority and ethnic groups which they can mostly ignore once in office.
Outside of professional Native Americans, (not to be confused with Native American Professionals), there are just too many “real problems” that afflict the present day Native American population. In regards to the Irish being offended by the Fighting Irish symbol, it’s just not there. Sports reporters on ESPN seemed vexed by this issue. In reality, it is much ado about nothing.[i]
Oh, wait a minute! I just culturally appropriated a quote from a dead white European male. I think his name was Billy Shakespeare.