- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

They are the Fightin' Whities, red though they are and consigned to the intramural wing of the athletic department in Greeley, Colo.
This apparently passes as a stimulating intellectual pursuit at the University of Northern Colorado.
You are urged to cover your eyes around the basketball team's mascot, the caricature of a middle-aged white man from the 1950s with the motto: "Every thang's gonna be all white."
The group's political message is better than its syntax and spelling, though just barely.
The director of the school's Native American Student Services told the Denver Post: "The point is: How does it feel to be made fun of?"
Sorry you asked. It feels so awful, burdensome, even crippling. The horror of it all is too much.
Steady now, all you whiteys out there. Take a deep breath. Remember to pass the smelling salts. Does anyone need the telephone number of a good therapist? We can get through this if we try. Join hands. Be strong.
They say the Fightin' Whities. The whiteys say just give the peace pipe a chance.
Grief counselors are standing by, poised to cry in your place.
As staggering as it may be to whiteys and professional commiserators alike, this good, old college try is too thin to be heavy.
White is the hue of least resort. That goes double for crackers, rednecks and the Beverly Hillbillies.
To be fair, Notre Dame beat Northern Colorado to it. They are the Fightin' Irish at Notre Dame, after all, drunks all, and drunker still after checking George O'Leary's qualifications.
The Fightin' Whities is a nickname that Richard Regan possibly could embrace if he weren't so busy expunging Indian from the public domain in Maryland, a fairly tolerant state otherwise, excluding Montgomery County.
Regan is the highest profile member of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, a frightening mouthful in itself, with the requisite I-word in place. Its work is not expected to be ever done. There could be a puddle named after a forgotten chief or brave somewhere in Maryland. You never know. No piece of the state will be allowed to go uninspected by the bravest Indian of them all.
The pain is remarkable, implemented as it usually is without sticks and stones, and intent in the case of Native Americans.
They are courageous and strong.
To which is said: How dare you insult them like that?
The offense, however unintended, is inevitably in the mind of the offended nursing ancient grievances. Their pain is greater than your pain, their tear ducts more active. The debate is impervious to the obvious, the slope an awful slippery one.
Even animals have feelings, begging the pardon of the Terps. Supporters of the Blue Devils worship at the altar of a false god.
The Native Americans at Northern Colorado assume their acute sensitivity is a contagious condition. They have fallen in the wrong space.
A correction to their stereotype is expected to follow the outrage. So, to play along, here goes: Not all whiteys are fighting types, as Phil Donahue could attest. Not all whiteys can't jump, either, just most of them. However, based on anecdotal evidence, most whiteys should be banned from the nation's dance floors.
Making fun is sometimes fun, if group think and delicate egos are left out of it. Not that making fun reflects the purpose of those sports teams in high school, college and the professional ranks that carry Native American nicknames. Most teams actually treat their nicknames with reverance and their games, one at a time, with the utmost seriousness.
Of course, that is beside the point to the aggrieved and enlightened. They have a deep well of pain, and the ones in Northern Colorado are on the warpath. They are the Fightin' Whities.
We hear you. Say it again, louder, louder.
Now hear us: Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar, all for the Fightin' Whities, stand up and holler.
Go, Fightin' Whities.
Here's to you in your next game. Roll up 100 points on the opposition.


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