A group of students at Louisiana State University is now demanding that the school eliminate its 122-year-old tiger mascot, because the animal represents “white privilege” and “racism.”
A change.org petition, entitled “Change the Racist Mascot of LSU!,” demands that the school take action to dump the tiger mascot because it was named “during the height of Jim Crow South.”
LSU named the tiger as its mascot back in 1895, taking the symbol from one of the state’s hardest fighting civil war battalions known as the “Louisiana Tigers.”
Wheat’s Louisiana Tigers, or the First Louisiana Infantry, became one of the Confederate Army’s most celebrated infantry units and fought in the Eastern Theater from the first days of the war and also under Robert E. Lee until the surrender at Appomattox Court House. It was often employed as the Confederacy’s shock troops, meant to strike fear in its opponents, especially early in the war when Northern forces were so poorly led.
But, students now want the more than century-old mascot eliminated due to its origin, despite that it has not been associated directly with the Confederacy for many decades.
“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,” the petition reads. “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,” the petition continues. “They were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battlefield. They were just as violent to the black slaves they owned, and later even more violent once those slaves were set free.”
“It is incredibly insulting for any African American to 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 petition adds.
The petition also goes on to criticize the university for keeping a live tiger on campus in a $3 million habitat.
“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 reads.
The petition, which only seeks 500 signatures, had already nearly reached its limit by Thursday afternoon.
Not everyone is supportive of the petition despite that it already has almost all the 500 signatures it seeks, according to The Blaze.
Some took to the comments section of the petition to criticize the effort.
“The author of this petition (an alleged college student forced to attend the flagship university of Louisiana) didn’t even bother to check Wikipedia for basic facts,” one person said in the comments section. “The Louisiana Tigers were not slave owners. They were the poorest Irish immigrants who performed such backbreaking and dangerous manual labor that the slave owners of the time didn’t even want their slaves to do it because their lives were considered more valuable.”
“I am so sick of people getting their feelings hurt over our history and the past! Grow up, get a job, and support our Country instead of trying to tear it down! My LSU Tiger decor will expand for sure now,” another commenter wrote.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.