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USC black student group: Mascot horse ‘Traveler’ is ‘white supremacy’ because … Robert E. Lee

You can always count on progressives to take a situation to the Nth level in terms of utter absurdity.

In the wake of the Charlottesville racial violence, politicians, college officials, and student groups have been falling all over themselves in terms of virtue signaling.

For example, New York Governor Cuomo ordered busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson removed from the City University of New York’s Hall of Fame; an educator at UCLA said it’s now time to “rethink” the concept of free speech; and teachers across the land joined the Twitter hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum which featured ridiculous “history” lessons like this.

But the latest insanity is right up there with those who want the last name “Lynch” removed from buildings due to its racist implications.

As reported by The Daily Trojan, at an anti-racism rally Thursday evening with more than 100 USC and UCLA students in attendance, the co-director of the USC Black Student Assembly said that the horse on which her school’s (Trojan) mascot rides represents … white supremacy.

How come? Because the horse has the same name as — wait for it! — Robert E. Lee’s favorite steed:

Saphia Jackson, co-director of the USC Black Student Assembly, opened the rally encouraging students not to remain silent, and reminding those in attendance that white supremacy hits close to home, referring to the presence of Traveler, USC’s mascot, which is named after Robert E. Lee’s horse. Lee was a general in the Confederate army, and the attempted removal of a statue depicting him motivated much of the violence in Virginia.

[But] BSA co-Directors Saphia Jackson and Ariana Seymore declined to comment on if they would seek to remove Traveler’s statue from campus.

The Los Angeles Times notes Traveler’s first ride into the Los Angeles Coliseum 56 years ago was supposed to be a one-time thing. Instead, it became an honored tradition.

The widow of the man who made that first ride, Pat Saukko DeBernardi, told the Times “The problem is this: maybe three weeks ago it was fine. So now the flavor of the day is . . . we all have to be in hysteria. . . . It’s more of a political issue. The horse isn’t political and neither am I.”

DeBernardi added that “the name of Lee’s well-known horse included an extra ‘l’,” and was already named “Traveler” when her husband bought him in 1958.

“Over at USC they’re nonpolitical about their horse,” she said. “What if their name would be Lee? Would they want to change it? It doesn’t make any difference. . . . He’s a wonderful horse and a great mascot.”

The obviously elderly Mrs. DeBernardi doesn’t know the modern academic generation very well, does she? If the horse was named “Lee,” the BSA’s Jackson and company would probably occupy USC offices until administrators agreed to their demand of a new “equine studies” course.

Read the full Daily Trojan and LA Times articles.

MORE: Kentucky HS school ditches ‘Stallion’ mascot because it’s … ‘sexist’

MORE: Angry-looking mascot promotes ‘aggressivity and even violence,’ pediatrics prof says

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.