Smile Politely

It is time to put an end to this minstrel show once and for all

UPDATED: Wednesday 9:44 p.m.

I spoke with Homecoming parade chairman Jack Hamman earlier this evening, and asked him about the decision to allow the “Chief” to participate in this year’s parade. He advised that I should “speak with the office of Public Affairs” and that he had no further comment. 

When I asked him about the parade ending in front of the Native American House, he told me that I needed to “check my facts” and then sent me an updated parade route, which, indeed, does end on Oregon St. rather than Nevada St. They updated the site in between the time we spoke and his email, as I was looking at the same page when we were speaking on the phone. 

At this time, UIUC spokesperson Robin Kaler has not yet responded to any of our emails regarding the inclusion of the Chief at the parade this year, but we have seen returned emails to other members of the community, and will decide on whether to publish those in the near future. 


Admittedly, I am tired of writing about the “Chief” and all the sad, pathetic supporters of whatever remains of it. I’ve been doing it since 1992, if memory serves. It’s enough already. 

So, without getting into the whole thing again, you should know that this weekend, at the University of Illinois Homecoming Parade, not only will the “Chief” be present, he will be riding in a goddamned blue convertible, and be accompanied by four people handing out candy to children on the street, kids who are there to watch the pomp and circumstance of the whole deal, but not necessarily to take treats from a minstrel show.

Also, just because it couldn’t be any more fitting, the parade route literally ends in front of the Native American House on Nevada St. in Urbana. They aren’t pleased.


They posted the statement from Student Body President Raneem Shamseldin, who is a total badass.

We’ve reached out to the Chancellor’s office, who directed us to Laurel Reed Rosch, from Illini Student Union, who directed us to Robin Kaler, who has not yet returned our email. We’ve reached out to the parade committee chairman Jack Hamman. I called him, and we are supposed to speakme back after 5 p.m., so I will update the article when he does.

All that said, I wonder if the parade were ending on Fifth and John, in front of Hillel. I wonder if it would be OK if the College Republicans, or hell, any group of Aryan looking dudes on campus here decided to dress up as a Rabbi, complete with yarmulke, tallit, and tefillin?

Or, perhaps we just get the ghost of Al Jolson to do a song and dance in front of the African-American Cultural House?

I wonder…

It is time for the adults in the room to step in. And that means that President Killeen and Chancellor Jones need to stop this before it happens.

And they can also let the Honor The Chief Society know that they are more than welcome to celebrate, devastate, recreate, masturbate, or fascinate one another on their own time, and in their own place. This is America and that is allowed. Just, not here, and not on this weekend. There are rules in place to make sure that assholes don’t always get the floor, especially when it’s on the public dime. 

Let’s see what happens now.

Top photo by Michael Bojda

More Articles