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BU to consider retiring mascot's name due to connection to one of history's most racist movies

Carol Burnett Show parody of "Gone with the Wind". "Went with the Wind".

BU President Robert Brown is starting a committee to look at renaming Rhett the BU Terrier, because his name comes from Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind."

In the Boston University context, the “Rhett” nickname is, of itself, a play on words. Since our school color is scarlet, it was a short leap for students - or perhaps a sports publicist - to link Rhett to Scarlett O’Hara, the other romantic lead in the book and movie. Despite this seemingly cute connection between the movie and our mascot’s name, the fact is that the movie’s portrayal of the American Civil War, postwar reconstruction, and slavery is offensive. And it is reasonable for people to question why, at a university founded by abolitionists, we have a mascot nicknamed for a character in a film whose racist depictions are completely at odds with our own tradition. It is time to address this question.

Brown also notes that the reason a Boston terrier is the school mascot is because in 1922, students picked the dog over a bull moose.

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Comments

Okay, when it comes time to retire the current dog, name the new terrier something else.

Really, though... Who else besides BU families (and the occasional ink-stained wretch from when newspaper sport sections college pages) knows the name?

...and really, really... "Rhett <> Scarlett play on words"? That's how they came up with the name? They ought'a retire it out of embarrassment.

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Voting closed 45

While I don't buy into the PC frenzy of meaningless gestures we're seeing right now, Rhett died earlier this year, so it's a good time to pick a new mascot with a new name.

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> Who else besides BU families (and the occasional ink-stained wretch from when newspaper sport sections college pages) knows the name?

Great, shouldn't be any problem changing it then.

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i never even knew his name was rhett. thanks for pointing that out. frankly my dear i don't give a shit.

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Yet Yale somehow goes unscathed.
(Yale was a known slave trader)

But the dog named after a movie character.

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You notice how Princeton is stripping Woodrow Wilson off a school named for him?

But you really don't care, do you?

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An avowedly racist former President and a dog sporting the name Rhett are the same?

And yes, as an alum I do care.

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That is, if you're a BU alum (like me), unless you're a Princeton alum and were just dropping the P-bomb. (Is "P-bomb" a thing?)

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It's time for Mike "I scored one goal and made it into a career" Eruzione to step down as the other mascot of BU. Not only is he a proud and public MAGA hat wearing Trumpster but said he thinks the racist in chief is doing a great job and he intends to vote for him again.

Yes, everyone has the right to vote for whoever they want, but Eruzione is the public face of BU Athletics and much more recognized than Rhett. Every time Eruzione makes a public appearance or meets with recruits, with or without the MAGA hat, he is supporting and
promoting racism and everything else Trump stands for.

Everyone in the BU community knows Mike doesn't actually do anything. He smiles and shakes hands and delivers motivational speeches written by others. It's tough financial times for the academic world. His do-nothing job should be eliminated anyway.

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Voting closed 35

sorry that makes you sad :(

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Voting closed 45

He never was a hero, unless you have low standards for heroes. His goal and the Olympic victory were great. But he's a MAGAT now so screw him. Doesn't make me sad. Makes me angry that a confirmed MAGAT is the face of BU athletics.

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It is a proud proclamation of ignorance, hate, bigotry, and racism. Sorry if that makes you sad.

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Seriously? He openly supports a racist traitor who thinks it's ok for Putin to pay to kill US troops. And he said in the Globe article that he'll vote for him again.
Not a hero in my book.

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Because he scored three touchdowns in a single HS football game?

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I went to BU for 6 years - never heard of him.

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However, I wouldn't call GWTW one of history's most racist movies.

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I did not know how badly I needed to see that clip today, until Adam posted it.

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There are many better candidates for "most racist movie". But GWTW is one of the most celebrated, iconic and seen American films to present racist stereotypes. I love the movie for too many reasons to discuss here, but completely understand why it's exalted position in film history can't go unchallenged.

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I suppose if they wanted to go in the wrong direction, they could look for a new name in Birth of a Nation...

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In the film, he owned no slaves. He thought war was foolish, knew the South would lose and that the economic system it was built upon was crumbling and wrong. He stood with prostitutes and gamblers, and was by his own admission loyal to no state, country, or system beyond himself. Even when he signed up for "service" to the South, he did so after the war was lost. By his own admission he wanted the kind of respect of Scarlett's slaves that must be earned through fair and noble action and not bought or forced with violence and fear. He was likely one of the only decent white characters in that film--and perhaps the truest definition of "rebel" in the film as well. No other character, except Belle the madam, genuinely liked him. The character, at least in the film, is more decent than most of the characters out there demanding a shallow form of justice today. And Rhett Butler, the character, had a bit of wisdom and understanding few of the other characters did--and few characters have today, for that matter.

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Voting closed 51

The original "curtain dress scene": Rhett is jail, possibly facing hanging, because he murdered a black man who insulted a white woman. He is released from jail when Union officials intervene on his behalf as payback for his service as a blockade runner.

Also in the movie, after Scarlett is accosted by a black man, the menfolk (except for Rhett) go off to attend a "political meeting". In the book it is clearly stated that they are all part of the KKK.

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I don't believe there was a "Rhett" back in the 80's. They were always the Terriers, but I don't think there was an actual mascot, so this is all pretty new. I always thought Rhett was a silly name for a mascot. And while I fail to see the overt or subliminal racism in his name, if it's time to go, it's no horrible loss. Farewell Rhett!

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But I know for a fact that there was a Rhett mascot in the 80s

http://www.bu.edu/articles/2018/rhett-the-terrier-bu-mascot/#:~:text=Rhe...

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He must have kept much lower profile in the '80s. I used to go to the hockey games all the time and have no recollection of ever seeing him in any manner.

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I thought his name was Red. Seriously.

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THEY VOTED!

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abe is the same name as that guy who posed for that racist statue in park plaza and bode was a crack dealer on the wire.

next!!!!

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Nope. Try again later.

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Sportsball important.

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A classic 1982 movie called White Dog delivered an anti-racist message examining the question of whether racism is a treatable problem or an incurable condition.

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I have asked Harvey Young, dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Steve Hall, vice president for alumni relations, to cochair a committee to consider the question of whether the “Rhett” nickname should be retired. The committee will be composed of representatives from the alumni community, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, and representatives from Athletics. We are currently working to recruit these committee members. I have asked our cochairs to develop a workplan, engage the Boston University community, deliberate, and offer a recommendation for my consideration by mid-October.

That's a stupid amount of work to dump into a trivial issue.

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Voting closed 48

They always work out best.

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One of the reasons why I never quite fit into academia administration world. I have done private work, non profit work and government work. Academia work still looks like it is the most drawn out tedious thing out there. Worst part is even if you manage to figure out the current students you get brand new ones every year.

No wonder why these people make small fortunes in their ivy tower offices. They have to form a million committees to rename a dog.

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at $75,000 yearly tuition (more than harvard), they can float the cost.

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Does anyone actually care if BU renames their mascot? Go ahead! Glad I went to a working class univ. where people juggled jobs and academics and were more interested in learning and future careers rather than sports and their sports mascots. Maybe I'm jealous I didn't have that life of leisure college experience though... but I think not.

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...you cared enough to write this.

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I cared enough to express my opinion, but not enough to debate whether or not BU's dog mascot should be renamed which is why I stated just rename the mascot. You seem confused.

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If you're so invested in NOT renaming the BU mascot, please enlighten everyone with your reasons, ibb.

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i am glad they are starting the converstion.
i wouldnt care one way or the other.

i do care however that b.u. is a top 50 university with over 30,000 undergrads in a top 10 populated metropolis with the most top 50 colleges/universitys in the world within the country with the highest g.d.p. ... and has only 4% black enrollment most of whom are from other countrys.

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Best.Skit.Ever.

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Magoo watched 16 Candles the other night with Mrs. Magoo. Talk about racist movies. Every time Long Duc Dong entered the scene he was accompanied by a gong sound like something supposedly reminiscent from the Imperial Court within the Forbidden City. Magoo smacks hand on forehead. Magoo.

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And speaking of Gone with the Wind.
Olivia de Havilland is 104 years old today.
I wonder what she thinks about her movie nowadays.

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I went to BU in the mid 90s - I didn't really attend more than 4-5 games but...I had no idea that the dog had a name until last fall (my son entered BU and a bunch of the promo material referred to Rhett) and did not know where it came from. It seems a bit of a reach, honestly - and though I agree Confederate symbols (as well as nazi ones) should be banned and torn down, this seems a little silly - they could just rename him 'Riff' and be done with it (Brett would make people think of Brett Kavanaugh but anyhow)

Diversity at BU is a good topic - I was sort of surprised that Black was only 4% considering that BU's feeder schools are the immediate area (esp Boston or Quincy) - by and large the largest growing minority at BU in the 90s was international students (Asian specifically) but I think saying that BU isn't diverse isn't really fair. I would like to see them do more, of course.

When we were looking at colleges from here to Virginia and did college visits, each one started off talking about diversity. NYU was way over the top where they showed a 5 minute rap video with a semi famous black rapper and how he went back to NYU to understand the music biz after he was famous. They said "We are diverse with a capital D!" to a room fully of almost entirely white and Asian families. I feel like it has become a commodity selling point which sort of devalues it. Yes I want my kid to have an experience and meet people from all over the world, or across the US, but I don't say, "How was school? Did you make any out of state African American friends? How about from Nigeria?"

I had a few black friends at BU, but my 'African' friends were from South Africa, and though they were interesting and really smart, they were white - my point is that diversity should benefit people of color getting accepted, not so white kids wear dashikis - but that's me.

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After Dr. Fuller who was a professor at BU, immigrant from Africa, and psychiatrist who did early research on Alzheimer's Disease.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Carter_Fuller

Also "Solomon the Terrier" sounds awesome to me.

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The Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center at Boston Medical Center, affiliated with BU Medical School.

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.

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God as my witness, I will never be racist again.

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This is more junk to the pile of virtue signaling. Nickname comes from a color, someone links it to a movie character because the name is the same, movie is outdated and vaguely racist, therefore the name must hold a racist meaning...

I totally understand the push to challenge monuments of people who built their success on racism/slavery and worked to further it. But this association is laughable and the exact garbage the right will use against this movement and the left in general.

Hold some online student survey if they really want to, but forming a flipping committee of this is a waste of time.Completely distracts from the effort to get real changes through. There are systematic changes to our laws and culture that should be focused on instead of this.

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Voting closed 26

Always glad to hear when someone's opposed to virtue.

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Voting closed 17

Glad to know you didn't read past the first line, or finish the sentence...

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it colors the entire experience of reading a comment. Me, I did read the whole thing, in which you express your opinion that people in charge of an organization you have no apparent connection with should not spend any of their time on a thing they want to do. And you express it in a venue that probably has no influence whatsoever on those people. Maybe you should do something else.

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I'm sorry you consider "virtue signal" a dog whistle. Please continue to let large corporations and organizations advertise their woke-ness to get you to buy their product. That's definitely not the structural problem of late capitalism we're all experiencing now...

So someone needs to be within an organization to criticize anything they do? Ridiculous.

I'm glad you're so welcoming of discussion and not at all dismissive of other opinions.

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They should call the mascot Virtue.

Then a dog whistle can be a Virtue signal.

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Let the name of Rhett be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument of BU. Let the name of Rhett be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time.

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Voting closed 10

Don't cancel Rhett Miller.

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Does anybody give a damn?

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Or do they even care?

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They don't care that you think they look silly. They care about people who might otherwise accuse them of supporting a racist origin and changing the name has no downsides.

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I must be a Neanderthal.
Wait...is Neanderthal problematic?
Cave dwelling individual. Better?

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Voting closed 10

Do you realize how silly you look?

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I probably wouldn't have any self awareness of my silliness.

You're saying i'm silly for thinking it's silly? Does that make you silly for thinking I think it's silly?

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people are reacting to this so strongly. I graduated in '07 and thought Rhett was a stupid name for the mascot from the time I was a freshman. It was a dated reference to a close to 70 year old movie, and basically a dad joke on top of that. It was cheesy and outdated 20 years ago. Even before we culturally reexamined Gone With the Wind, how many 18 year olds had seen it? This year's freshmen were born in 2002/2003: the movie is from 1939. It's older than many of their *grandparents* at this point.

There are a lot of clever people at BU and I am sure they can come up with a name more creative than Rhett, personally.

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