Not proud of Illinois

By Jim Bieller

Watching “The Chief” emerge from the band and move gracefully down the field at my first football game some 40 years ago, I experienced a rush of emotion like none I had ever experienced before. His appearance and performance to this day evokes that same emotion from me. It is pride. It is tradition. It is a connection to 81 years of Illini.

What are those who are consumed with the need to eliminate him hope to achieve? Stop racism? Stop his demeaning exhibition? You are misguided if when you see people stand and honor The Chief you see racism. I never thought his stirring dance degrading or demeaning in any manner. No one laughed at him or shouted catcalls at him, or felt the slightest tinge of racism when he performed. We revered him, we were proud of him. We still are. We are not proud of Illinois.

Jim Bieller

Class of ’70

Editor’s Note: The title of this letter was incorrectly labeled as “Still Proud of Illinois.” After contact with the author, the title has been corrected.

The Daily Illini regrets the error.