A recent online petition was started to demand that Louisiana State University (LSU) change their mascot and nickname of “Tigers” because it is offensive. As a matter of fact, the petition calls for the change due to it being a symbol of white oppression from the Civil War era.
Many hear the name of the LSU Tigers and immediately think of the prestigious university, which has a football team going after a national championship every year. They excel in numerous sports, including baseball, softball, gymnastics, track and field, and basketball, but are tigers symbols of white oppression?
The petition on Change.org is simply titled, “Change the Racist Mascot of LSU!” with a rather lengthy explanation as to their reasoning. They consider the Tigers mascot to be one of the “most prevalent [C]onfederate” symbols in the history of the United States.
As of early on Thursday afternoon, the petition was quickly approaching its goal of 500 signatures, and it is tagged with Black Lives Matter and Women’s March.
A person by the name of “LaMallori LSU” started the petition, which states that it is going to be delivered to the same person. More than likely, they meant it would be delivered to LSU, but that could be a simple mistake.
Looking at the explanation and reasoning in the petition, though, they give several reasons why they feel the Tigers mascot needs to be replaced or changed.
“Louisiana State University named their mascot the Tigers, and they named it during the height of Jim Crow South. This was a time when black men feared for their lives, and were treated as sub human. This symbol is the most prevalent confederate symbol in the United States.
“These powerful white males choose the Tiger as a symbol to honor a confederate regiment called Louisiana’s Tigers. They were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battle field. They were just as violent to the black slaves they owned, and later even more violent once those slaves were set free.”
Obviously, the point of the petition is to speak out against the condoning of white oppression and promotion the support of slavery. As the focus is on history and how the LSU Tigers are still allowing the Tigers nickname to exist, there is actually much more to it all.
Campus Reform points out that there is a bit of an afterthought in the petition that speaks out against LSU caging a living tiger, which can be considered animal cruelty. In an effort to connect this to the focus of the petition, there is an interesting statement about how the caging of a tiger is for the amusement of white people who have never been caged.
“It’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people. They’ve never been in a cage!”
The petition to have LSU change their “racist mascot” is finished with a quote by Dr. Charles Coates, who was the LSU administrator from 1893 until 1939. Coates explained the origin of the school’s nickname, which came with the Tigers’ first venture into football in 1895.
Coates did attribute the name of Tigers to the Civil War heritage of Louisiana and said the original Tigers were known for “getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently.”
As of this time, LSU has not commented on the matter or the petition.
For decades, there have been many sports team nicknames that have been seen as offensive to one person or group. The Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins continue to offend people each and every season, but this is a new one for the LSU Tigers. While there may be a number of professional, college, and even high school team called the Tigers, this petition believes that the LSU Tigers relates to oppression and needs to be changed.
[Featured Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]