Observing racial lines

By Kydalla Etheyo Young

After watching The Daily Buzz this morning, and hearing the Chief’s demise described as a result of maneuvering from those in the “politically correct camp,” I felt compelled to offer my two cents worth of opinion. I find it ironic and downright suspicious that for all of the disingenuous lip service given to representing and respecting “Native American culture,” none of the Chief’s advocates (as far as I know) have been Native American. In fact it is very likely that I, an African-American, have exponentially more Native American ancestry than most of these people.

The decision to remove the Chief was not “politically correct,” it was simply correct and long overdue. If one would (hopefully) become righteously indignant by the claim that performances of blackface minstrelsy in any way respectfully represent “African American culture,” then it is inconceivable that the same person would not react in the same way to the gross and tortuously distorted performances of the Chief. These performances bore only superficial, domesticated and oblique resemblances to the practices of hundreds of Native American societies. Their rich, deep histories and contexts were light years removed from the experiences and knowledge of those who not only had the insular audacity and scandalous ignorance to justify their performances as “homage,” but also galvanized the Chief’s apologists and their banal, paper-thin rhetoric.

Kydalla Etheyo Young

graduate student

Young was mistakenly credited as a University employee in the print version of this letter. The Daily Illini regrets the error.