Petition: LSU Tigers mascot a 'symbol of white oppression'
- An online petition is demanding that Louisiana State University change its “Tigers” mascot, calling the moniker “the most prevalent [C]onfederate symbol in the United States.”
- The Louisiana Tigers was a nickname given to certain units from the state during the Civil War, and was adopted in 1895 because it evoked the hard-fighting reputation of those soldiers.
- The petition's author also objects to the mascot because "it’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people."
An online petition is demanding that Louisiana State University change its “Tigers” mascot, calling the moniker “the most prevalent [C]onfederate symbol in the United States.”
According to the author of the petition—a user going by the name “LaMallori LSU”—the nickname was chosen by “powerful white males” as an homage to the Confederate “Louisiana Tigers” regiment, whose members “were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battle field [sic].”
“It is incredibly insulting for any African American to have to attend to a school that honors Confederate militantism,” the petition declares. “It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, and these symbols must be changed.”
Almost as an afterthought, the author adds that “it’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people” who have “never been in a cage!”
It concludes by quoting Dr. Charles Coates, an LSU administrator from 1893-1939, who explained the origin of the Tigers mascot in a 1937 alumni newsletter.
Describing the school’s initial foray into college football in 1895, Coates does in fact directly attribute the team’s name to the state’s Civil War heritage, noting that he found it appropriate because the original Louisiana Tigers were known for “getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently.”
Moreover, Coates recounted, the selection fit in with the contemporary custom of naming football teams after “vicious animals,” such as the Yale Bulldogs and the Princeton Tigers.
The petition presents this account as indisputable evidence that the mascot had racist undertones from the very beginning, labeling it a “symbol of white oppression” that must be eliminated.
“We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice,” it declares. “That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down.”
At press time, the petition had garnered 384 supporters in four days, but not everyone who has visited the page has sided with the author. In fact, “LaMallori LSU” updated the page Tuesday with a post titled “Symbol of Hate” responding to the numerous comments that have been left criticizing the effort.
“People are posting this in defiance, and posting many things which shows there [sic] racism,” LaMallori wrote. “It’s these actions that let me know I’m doing the right thing.”
Nonetheless, the top three most-liked comments on the page are all critical, referring to the petition as “f-ing ridiculous,” calling it “the most fucking ignorant thing I have ever heard of,” and facetiously declaring that the only acceptable alternative is “Boaty McBoatface.”
A spokesperson for LSU declined to comment on the petition, and Campus Reform is still attempting to identify and contact the author.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10