Students at Louisiana State University have started an online petition urging the establishment to change its “Tigers” mascot, claiming it’s the symbol of “white oppression”.
The petition, which has so far attracted 450 signatures, says the mascot was picked by “powerful white males” in tribute to “a Confederate regiment called Louisiana’s Tigers,” who were “known for their propensity for violence on and off the battle field.”
“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,” the petition’s opening reads, Campus Reform reports.
The petition’s author claims the mascot is “incredibly insulting” for African Americans because they have to “attend a school that honors Confederate militantism.”
“It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, and these symbols must be changed.”
The student gave another reason why the tiger mascot ought to be changed: “It’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people. They’ve never been in a cage!”
To illustrate the apparently racist undertones of the mascot, the petition mentions Dr. Charles Coates (the university’s administrator between 1893-1939), who explained back in 1937 that the tiger mascot was chosen because of the state’s Civil War heritage and for the actual Louisiana Tigers’ fierce fighting.
In addition, Coates pointed out to the trend of naming football teams after “vicious animals” like the Yale Bulldogs or Princeton Tigers.
According to the petition, the history of the mascot shows that it is racist towards black people and is, in fact, a “symbol of white oppression” that should be “torn down”.
“We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice. That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down,” the petition reads.
It seems the petition received a pretty negative response, however, with many people criticizing the author for clinging on to history and taking offense at a simple mascot.
“This is getting f-ing ridiculous! The past Is the past. LSU has been the tigers since its inception,” wrote Charlotte Read in the comment section. “This is the most f**king ignorant thing I have ever heard of! You people are never happy!” added another.
“I am only voting for the name change if they will change it to Boaty McBoatface. If it won’t be Boaty McBoatface, then it must stay as the Tigers,” mocked Donny Simonton from Florida.
The petition author has since responded to this criticism, writing a short post named “Symbol of Hate”.
“People are posting this in defiance, and posting many things which shows there [sic] racism. It’s these actions that let me know I’m doing the right thing. Thank you all for your support,” she wrote.