Banning Boone: DU's Racially Offensive Mascot

By Makayla Cisneros on January 8, 2013

When it comes to school spirit, the trickiest part is being able to unify the entire student body. A common icon of this, of course,

Photo from blogs.westword.com

is Denver Boone, sketched by Walt Disney specifically for the use of the University in the likeness of Daniel Boone. He was a pioneer who fought in the revolutionary war in Kentucky, which there in Kentucky primarily involved British settlers against Native American tribes. It is these battles that he is most know for. Daniel Boone’s bloody history and involvement in battles that engaged in the slaughter of Native Americans is the reason he was removed as the mascot in the first place in addition to not representing the female athletic persuasion of the school.

As of now, he is not the “official” school mascot, in his place a falcon named Ruckus, though Denver is still the home of the Pioneers. However, there seems to be no sort of repercussions of using Boone’s image when rallying, tail gaiting, or otherwise getting pumped up for events. No one seems to have a problem with it, even though Daniel Boone himself is a bloody icon, alumni and students have protested in the past to bring him back arguing that he holds a substantial part in the history of the University.

If his place in the hearts of the students at DU is so substantial then why isn’t he brought back as the official mascot? Only a small majority of students were against him at the time, why not just over throw their concern with his negative connotations and re-establish him as the official image and symbol that he already appears to be?

I argue that that is exactly the reason why the Boone’s image should not be tolerated. Because a small majority find him racially offensive should be enough to put the Boone away and move on to other things. As it stands now only 16.22% of the student body at DU is minority, only 0.57% is Native American, according to Princeton Review. The University claims to be progressive and diverse aiming to try to be what the students need it to be, but the image of Boone is circulated without restriction like the small minority of opposing him does not even exist.

When Boone’s image was created by Walt Disney, the copyright was given solely to the University. Since he is not the official

Boone and Ruckus the Falcon
Photo from letsgodu.blogspot.com

mascot any circulation of him image should, in theory, violate this copyright. The power to stop this image is entirely within the University’s power, and yet nothing is done.

There is not forward movement for a new mascot, and in the absence of one, Boone is still thriving at sporting events, gatherings, etc. and yet the “unofficial” labeling of him is expected to be enough to silence anyone who opposes him, without actually addressing the problem. If Boone is racially insensitive to anyone, he should not be allowed to be the icon that he is. We should have a mascot that all races at DU can support.

My name is Makayla and I'm a current Sophomore at the University of Denver and an aspiring writer. I enjoy playing sports, reading and writing.

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