Controversy about the University of Oklahoma’s “Boomer Sooner” chant has been swirling around campus since early September when the organization “Indigenize OU” stated that the slogan is a reminder of the “erasure of Native people and their history.” The chant comes from a 1905 song that is now the university’s fight song. “Sooners” is a name gained from the Land Run of 1889, where some eager future Oklahomans did not wait until the “boom” of the gun to begin claiming their territory.
A recent decision made by the Student Government Association’s Student Congress voted against using the common phrase to congratulate the success of OU’s sports team this year. The resolution would have been sent to OU coaches as a way to “congratulate all OU student-athletes for their successes this year and thank them for representing the university and the OU student body well in their competitions.” The argument for not allowing this congratulation was led by Indigenize OU, as well as students who worried it would “show favoritism to sports teams over other campus groups.”
Sometimes I’m one of those millennials who gets offended by things. NF, I know. This, however, is ridiculous. The University of Oklahoma made it to the final four in both basketball and football this year, as well as winning both the national championship in women’s and men’s gymnastics and countless other recognitions. They deserve to be recognized and shown some favoritism for winning national fucking titles! As the best in the nation, you are by definition the best and deserving of recognition. This is not a difficult concept. Should they have been given participation medals instead?
As far as criminalizing “Boomer Sooner,” the sensitivities have gone too far. Ever since the SAE incident last year, President David Boren and every single person on campus has tried their best to show as a school that that’s not who the Sooner family is. When we scream “Boomer” and “Sooner” at sporting events, not one person does it out of hatred for a group of people (unless it’s during the Texas game). Intent to invalidate indigenous students is simply not its purpose. OU graduate student Lena Tenney wrote a column regarding the depth of the mascot and the saying, and how Indigenize OU is correct in their pursuit.
From OU Daily:
This is about much more than a mascot and a chant: it’s about a campus climate and university system that do not truly value indigenous students, traditions, ways and experiences.
First of all, this is completely wrong. The University of Oklahoma is extremely supportive not only to Native American communities in the state but also to minorities across campus. There has been absolutely no tolerance for racism within our campus, as demonstrated by the removal of the SAE fraternity last year. In addition to that, all students are required to go through a “diversity training” program allowing students to see various perspectives of students from every race and background. The university has gone to extreme lengths to make everyone feel welcomed, but changing our mascot and chant is a little too far. The past is in the past, and the chant is intended to be a way to unite students. So just this once, stop being so fucking sensitive. Boomer Sooner..
[via OU Daily]
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