Society

Student Apologizes For Chicago Blackhawks Sweatshirt

| by Michael Allen

A student at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, publicly apologized on April 25 for wearing a Chicago Blackhawks sweatshirt in a class taught by a Native American instructor.

According to The Clarion, the school's student newspaper, Cody Albrecht wore the Blackhawks sweatshirt in a class taught by James Jacobs, who is Native American, and adjunct professor Tricia Fenrick.

The class, "Social Perspectives, Human Worth and Social Action," watched the 2012 film "Dakota 38," which is about the hanging of 38 members of the Dakota tribe -- the largest one-day execution in U.S. history.

The class took a break, and Albrecht returned wearing the Blackhawks sweatshirt.

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The Chicago Blackhawks are an NHL team that has been criticized for its name and logo, which includes a drawing of a Native American.

Some unidentified students told the Clarion that Albrecht became aware of the tension in the class, and offered to wear his sweatshirt inside out.

Jacobs wrote a Facebook post (under the username Jim Bear Jacobs) on April 19 about the incident, but then deleted it.

The College Fix posted a screenshot of Jacobs' post.

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"So your college professor is a Native American," Jacobs wrote. "A Native American who has spoken multiple times about the offensiveness of Indian Mascots. Yet you come to class with an Indian mascot sprawled across your shirt… Bold move sir."

Jacobs posted a second Facebook message on April 27:

Last week I posted about an incident where a student wore an Indian mascot shirt to my class. I'm glad to say that this became an incredible learning opportunity for the student we had a lengthy conversation about it and the student really listened to why those images are offensive and hurtful.

When I posted last week I kept the students name out of it and I only posted because I didn't expect the university to get involved, it has been my experience with other institutions in the past that situations like this would be minimized, so I really didn't expect anything to come of it. Since that time the student has made a public apology in class and expressed what they had learned from this process.

When the student made the apology other students,not in the class, were now aware of the students identity. Some have sent the student some strong messages. If you're on campus and know of this situation please don't send the student discouraging messages. They have truly matured and learned from this experience and we have taken big steps in the reconciliation process.

An unidentified student told The College Fix that the reconciliation resembled a "public shaming," and added: "It was not necessary to get the head of his major’s department involved ... they were using intimidation tactics."

Sources: The Clarion, The College Fix, Jim Bear Jacobs/Facebook / Photo Credit: Dforgue/Wikimedia Commons

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