The University of Florida’s president announced Thursday that the college is discontinuing the utilization of its “Gator Bait” cheer and band efficiency at wearing events. The college talked about the term is linked to a “horrific” historical previous of racist imagery.
UF President Kent Fuchs talked about the alternate used to be correct one in every of many the college is making to contend with racism on its campus, amid ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd.
“While I know of no proof of racism linked to our ‘Gator Bait’ cheer at UF wearing events, there would possibly be horrific historical racist imagery linked to the phrase,” Fuchs talked about in an announcement. “Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will live the utilization of the cheer.”
Historically, fans cry “Gator Bait” and utilize their palms to mimic an alligator’s mouth chomping when the band plays the acquainted tune.
In step with the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris Recount University, African American kids had been every at times ragged to bait alligators within the leisurely 1800s and early 1900s. Newspaper articles and postcards from the timeframe also spotlight the practice.
While some renowned the alternate, others spoke out in opposition.
Lawrence Wright, who is credited with popularizing the cheer after chanting “In case you ain’t a Gator, ya Gator bait, youngster” after a 1995 snatch, really handy The Gainesville Sun that he needs to talk with Fuchs in regards to the choice. Wright planned to free up merchandise with the phrase, in step with the paper.
“I’m no longer going for it,” talked about Wright, who used to be a member of Florida’s first national title-winning soccer group. “I created something for us. It is a college soccer thing. It is no longer a racist thing, It is about us, the Gator Nation. And I’m murky.”
The elimination of the cheer used to be correct one in every of more than a dozen actions announced by Fuchs as piece of a 3-point plan to contend with racism at the college. He also talked about that the college would be eliminating monuments and names celebrating the Confederacy and would pause counting on penal advanced and penal advanced inmates for farm labor.
“It is previous time for UF to commit and steal on this hard, melancholy, transformational work,” Fuchs talked about. “We know that we are in a position to no longer undo lifetimes of injustice and racism, nonetheless we factor in we are in a position to make growth — in education, in advancing truth, reconciliation and justice, and in anti-racism, equality and dealing to eradicate inequities.”