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Long Island University to ditch ‘Blackbirds’ nickname: It’s ‘offensive’ and ‘racist’

Long Island University-Brooklyn will be scrapping its 84-year-old mascot/nickname of “Blackbirds” this fall as a result of an athletics program merger with its Post campus.

But that’s not all: LIU President Kimberly Cline noted she “had heard” the nickname name “is an offensive racist mascot,” according to the New York Post. At the end of March, Cline had told a group of a dozen concerned LIU-Brooklyn alumni that “Blackbirds” was to be replaced “for a few reasons.”

When asked by the alumni group about putting the mascot name up to a vote, Cline responded that a marketing firm had suggested the school just “wipe the slate clean.”

From the Post story:

They [the alumni] didn’t want to diminish Post in the merger.

The school’s alums have started a Facebook group entitled “LIU Blackbirds Forever.” It has 112 members [370 as of today]. They have also tried to persuade board members and the school’s athletic director, Debbie DeJong, in their cause to no avail.

“We’re in support of the president’s initiative in terms of combining the programs and doing different things between the universities and merging them in a concept she called ‘One LIU,’ ” former LIU Brooklyn athletic director Jerry Donner said in a phone interview. “But with respect to the Blackbird, it’s iconic. It’s unique. It’s the only mascot in the country like it. Most of the alums I’ve been in contact with are very passionate about the Blackbird. It’s special.

The LIU Blackbirds Forever Facebook group’s content cannot be accessed unless one joins the group.

Newsbusters reports that Post columnist Phil Mushnick was none too happy about the Blackbirds’ demise:

This week, for real, LIU Brooklyn eliminated ‘Blackbirds’ as its 80-year mascot and nickname because the school determined it’s racist. Its magnificent, dignified logo — a blackbird clutching a dangling, interlocking ‘LIU’ — eradicated for a logo and mascot to be named later.

Left for consideration, if not action, is the removal from radio stations of Paul McCartney’s gentle ode to a broken-winged creature, ‘Blackbird.’

Among other things, Phil. The United States Air Force may have to alter the moniker of the fastest jet airplane of all time, the SR-71.

Read the Post and Newsbusters articles.

MORE: Cal. State-Long Beach axes ‘Prospector Pete’ mascot because ‘racism’

MORE: SDSU to neuter Aztec warrior mascot into passive ‘Spirit Leader’

IMAGE: Giulio Fornasar / Shutterstock.com

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