In recent years, a remarkable amount of attention has been paid to sports teams’ mascots. God forbid that a team be called the Indians, the Redskins, the Redmen or the Fighting Sioux. You can’t be the Bullets, either. But through it all, I have been confident that my home football team’s name, the Vikings, can’t be challenged. Who could possibly complain?
I underestimated the Left’s tireless search for micro aggressions. It turns out that naming your team the “Vikings” is indeed problematic:
Western Washington University may scrap its Viking mascot and is currently conducting an investigation to help make a final decision on the issue.
Several years ago, WWU considered whether the Viking mascot should go, because it was “hyper-masculine” and “aggressive.” Well, yeah. That is kinda the point. This is why we name teams the Lions, Tigers, Bears, Fighting Sioux, Wolves, Falcons, Trojans, Gators, Bulldogs, Bison, and so on. But the current attack on the Viking mascot is different:
A “strong majority” of the university’s Legacy Review Taskforce recommended to trustees to remove “Viking” from the Viking Union.
“The Task Force was concerned about the harm caused by asking all members of the Western community to identify with a figure that is potentially exclusive on the basis of both ethnicity and gender,” the taskforce stated in its report.
It is hard to know what to make of this. The Vikings were, to be sure, Scandinavian and white. But what group of people doesn’t have an ethnicity? Who has ever said that teams named the Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Seminoles, etc. were “exclusive”? And as for gender, there certainly were Viking women. Although, if you want a mascot that is entirely gender-neutral, you may need to go with Bullets.
“Furthermore, the Task Force found names idolizing conquest as out of line with the university’s contemporary values around honoring local Indigenous communities.
Does naming your team the Vikings mean that you “idolize conquest”? I think someone is taking the mascot business way too seriously. And as far as “Indigenous communities” are concerned, doesn’t it help that the Vikings raided the British, Irish, Scottish, French, and various Slavic tribes? While serving as the elite guard of the Byzantine emperors? So, are the British and French now granted the privileged status of “indigenous” peoples? Someone should tell them, it could come in handy.
Liberals won’t be happy until all teams are named the Anteaters, like U.C. Irvine, or the Aardvarks, Lemurs, Cockroaches, Mudhens, Penguins, etc. Or named after people who have gone down in history on the short end of the stick, without a whiff of conquest or colonialism. Like–well, never mind. I don’t want to offend my Irish friends. (jk)
Despite all of that, I think Minnesota’s Vikings are secure, at least for now. Minnesota may be a blue state, but naming your football team the Aardvarks takes liberalism to a whole new dimension.