Florida Gators Banning “Gator Bait” Cheer, Citing Racism
The University of Florida said there is "horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase"
Citing the “horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase,” the University of Florida has banned the school’s “gator bait” cheer at football games and other sporting events.
School president Kent Fuchs announced the ban in a letter to the university’s community that also outlined several other similar changes on campus.
Fuchs wrote that even though he knew of “no evidence of racism associated” with the chant at UF sporting events, the university and the Gator Band would discontinue the use of the cheer.
It is easy to see why the school made this decision upon viewing postcards showing Black people — usually children — being chased by Florida alligators.
Before you get all outraged about University of Florida banning the “Gator Bait” chant and signage, just know where it came from.
The fact that people don’t know things like this is what’s wrong with “American History”. It paints a watered down/palatable version. pic.twitter.com/j1KQ85Mwek
— George Wrighster III (@georgewrighster) June 18, 2020
If you want to know why UF has just announced it will suspend the “gator bait” chant ⬇️ https://t.co/SQQnsor7jl
— halley (@halleyylane) June 18, 2020
For anyone complaining about University of Florida ending their "gator bait" chant. Here's why:
Black babies were literally used as gator bait before and it became a thing. pic.twitter.com/TeseNQOImc
— Darth Lorredroc (@The_Apoll007) June 18, 2020
According to UF history professor Paul Ortiz, he found accounts of white people claiming to use Black infants as bait while hunting in the Everglades while writing his dissertation on African-American history in Florida.
“Initially I thought it was an anomaly or something,” Ortiz told The Tampa Bay Times. “Then you see it over and over and over again.”
In addition to getting rid of the chant, Fuchs wrote he was “personally committed to removing any monuments or namings that UF can control that celebrate the Confederacy or its leaders” in his letter to the university’s community. The school will also now require students, faculty and staff to be trained on “racism, inclusion and bias.”
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