Petition Against LSU Claims Mascot “Honors Confederate Militarism”
Calling it "the most prevalent confederate symbol in the United States", an online petition is demanding LSU change Tigers mascot, claiming it represents white oppression.
The petition was launched by user LaMallori LSU, and had 559 supporters at the time of this article. However, many of those "supporters" apparently signed the petition ironically, so they could leave a comment opposing it in the "I'm signing because" box.
The petition quotes LSU administrator Dr. Charles Coates (1893-1939):
"The Louisiana Tigers had represented the state in Civil War...who seemed to have the faculty of getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently. It struck me that purple and gold looked Tigerish enough and I suggested that we choose 'Louisiana Tigers', all in conference with the boys."
Using Coates' statement as the foundation of its argument, the petition claims the mascot was chosen by "powerful white males" to "honor a confederate regiment called Louisiana's Tigers".
The petition concludes by saying that it is also "cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people".
The petition isn't wrong in describing the origin of the mascot, although few would recognize it today as having any connection to the Civil War. However, the "LSU Tigers" was chosen in 1896 in reference to the Louisiana troops of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, who became known as the "tigers" in recognition of their bravery.
Despite the mascot's distant connection to the Civil War, most people today just see it as a typical college mascot, not unlike any other animal mascot such as the Texas Longhorns or the Florida Gators. It's a Tiger. It's LSU. And that's about the extent of it, as far as most people are concerned.
The comments left on the petition tend to support the idea that it's not being taken very seriously. For example, one user wrote, "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.
What do you think?