2002-08-08 / View From the Middle

View From

The Middle
Maybe They Just Don
By Charles Rogers

The Middle

Maybe They Just Don’t Deserve The Name "Chiefs"

Somebody has to say it: Calling a person "chief" is not derogatory. Nor is calling him or her "warrior" or even "Indian" a bad thing to say. Even the name of the Atlanta baseball team — "Braves" — if taken properly, is not wrong. It is, rather, a sign of respect.

Those who have complained, except for a few activists, are the people who have been hurt in the past as a result of those names. With sincere compassion, I feel for them and understand. They have been hurt by the cruelty of those who deride them; by those who, through ignorance — or arrogance — stand on the sidelines and wag their tomahawks like idiots; by those who know no better.

But wait a minute. Aren’t we being carried away here? How come nobody came to the rescue of those who like the name of Chiefs…those who relate to the Warriors’ title and those similar to it?

Why did those local administrators and their subordinates immediately bend to the "suggestion" of State Education Commissioner Richard Mills when he mentioned it to outgoing Schools Chancellor Ha-rold Levy? Levy scurried to tell his principals to jump and they merely said, "How high?" I wonder what would have happened if he had told them to run off a cliff. Obviously, they cowed, not even thinking about standing up like braves and fighting for the right to be proud of a name such as Chief or Warrior or Indian.

Once again, while understanding some of the ob-jections, which, incidentally, are quite immature, at the least, it seems that Levy and the others just melted and said, yeah, okay; whatever you say…

Didn’t anybody stand up and say no? Did anyone have the guts to confront the Establishment and say, "Yes, we’ll get rid of the mascot, if necessary and if people think it’s derogatory, but not the name! Not the title that denotes the top echelon; the title that immediately points a person out as a leader. The same goes for Warrior. What in heaven’s name is wrong with that?

Maybe the reasoning isn’t so absurd after all, however. Would it be too paranoid to suggest that maybe that’s the kind of agenda Mills and Levy and the others feel should be instilled in our youth? It sounds a lot like a "Do-what-you’re-told-and-don’t-make-waves" philosophy to me.

How can the students learn respect when they see their leaders, like Harold Levy, literally pander to those who think they are being politically correct?

It’s ironic that Levy is being replaced by a new chancellor, former prosecuting attorney Joel Klein Will he too be pushed around by Mills?

Another irony is that the person now known as "Schools Chancellor" — whoever it may be — at one time might have been known as "Schools Chief."

Not anymore!

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