LSU students say school’s ‘Tigers’ mascot is a symbol of racism and ‘white privilege’
A Change.org petition started by a student at Louisiana State University insists the school’s mascot, a tiger, is a racist symbol from the days of the Confederacy and demands that the school change the mascot in order to avoid offending black students.
“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’s author wrote. “This symbol is the most prevalent confederate symbol in the United States.”
The petition then goes on to explain that the white men who chose the confederate symbol were known at the time for their violent and racist nature.
“These powerful white males choose the Tiger [sic] as a symbol to honor a confederate regiment called Louisiana’s Tigers,” it says. “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.
“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 says before addressing the issue of white privilege.
The petition also objects to the live “Mike the Tiger” mascot which is kept on campus in a state-of-the-art $3 million habitat that is among the largest and most well-equipped tiger habitats in the world.
“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 read, although LSU is far from the only university to cage their live animal mascot.
The petition, which is seeking 500 signatures, had 453 supporters as of Thursday morning, many leaving their own encouraging and supportive comments.
“For years we suffered subtle slights, but soon we will be the majority. It will be up to us to shape our state in our image, not in the image of our former captors,” said one supporter. “Wake up black people. Our time has come.”
Another supporter agreed. “Get rid of anything to do with white male power. They’re [sic] day is up. Time for us ppl [sic] of color to rule them!”
But not everyone sharing the petition was in support of the proposed mascot change.
“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,” said one commenter. “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,” said another dissenter.