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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Editorial: Let’s not forget where these people wore these idiotic t-shirts

  • The behavior has long been predictable, as has been the reaction: Some University of North Dakota students do something that’s seen as being insensitive and even offensive to Native Americans, lots of people throw up their arms in disgust and say this type of behavior cannot be tolerated, and then time passes and everyone sort of moves on. Until the next incident, that is.
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  •     The behavior has long been predictable, as has been the reaction: Some University of North Dakota students do something that’s seen as being insensitive and even offensive to Native Americans, lots of people throw up their arms in disgust and say this type of behavior cannot be tolerated, and then time passes and everyone sort of moves on. Until the next incident, that is.   
        The latest incident, however, was a bit nastier than most, with a bunch of young people – most if not all of them UND students – donning specially made t-shirts that featured a Native American head with a beer bong hose in his mouth, and the words “Siouxper Drunk” across the top.   
        Now, one could make a strong argument that these misguided youth possess the common sense of a toddler. (no offense to toddlers.) They’re seriously lacking in foresight as well, although one of them possessed enough functional gray matter to punch out a Twitter tweet indicating that wearing the shirts would probably generate news coverage.   
        So why did these young people go to all the trouble to have these shirts made, wear them, and then proudly pose for pictures that went viral via social media? Are they still incredibly proud of the since-banned Fighting Sioux nickname and logo? Was it someone’s birthday? Were they celebrating graduation?   
        No, they were going to Springfest, the annual outdoor, daylong party in Grand Forks that began as kind of a UND-specific gathering many years ago, came under fire from community leaders and sort of went away for a brief spell, and now is back in a more sanctioned, official fashion that has lots of people who don’t attend UND attending each year as well. (It should be noted that Springfest has never been an official UND event.)   
        The Rhombus Guys run Springfest now, and I think most would agree they’re good guys and savvy businesspeople, with a Crookston connection, even. They’ve tried to maintain Springfest’s fun and even wild and crazy spirit, while trying to prevent things from getting out of hand.   
        But Springfest is what it is: An excuse for a whole bunch of people to drink alcohol, many of them a boatload of alcohol. It started as an excuse for UND students – of legal drinking age, of course – to celebrate the end of the school year and kind of cut loose. The thinking was, they’re going to party, so maybe it’s best to have them party in a centralized location.   
    Page 2 of 2 -     But why? Those living near Springfest still try to cordon off their property in an effort to prevent people from urinating or vomiting or doing other unsavory things in their yards. And the party still leaves a mess in its wake to be cleaned up.   
        The funny thing, though, is that, presumably, the people who had the “Siouxper Drunk” t-shirts made so they could wear them at Springfest were sober when they decided to make their idiotic fashion statement.   
        But they more than likely wouldn’t have even come up with the idea if not for Springfest. Would they have worn special t-shirts for yet another night of routine bar-hopping? Not likely.   
        This isn’t a call to end Springfest. It seems far too late to try something like that, anyway. No matter what, on a Saturday in the spring somewhere in Grand Forks, a youthful, exuberant mob is going to gather in a common location and party down all day long and into the night.  
        But amid the uproar over this poor decision made by these young people involving those t-shirts, let’s not forget the occasion that inspired them to have them made.

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