A Controversial Mascot Sparks Debate
A member of the Sarasota-Charlotte Progressive Caucus expressed concern over a new mascot that was recently adopted by the New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees — a cartoonish banyan tree that she claimed was racist.
The complaint came from Robin Williams, whom New College Board of Trustees member Christopher Rufo described as an “affluent white female liberal,” and alleged that the banyan tree in question had been “anthropomorphized to resemble an angry brown individual.”
“Local affluent white female liberal claims that the New College mascot, a banyan tree, ‘closely resemble[s] an angry, threatening brown individual.’ Advice for white libs: if you see a tree and immediately think ‘looks like a scary minority to me,’ you might be the racist,” Rufo tweeted.
Local affluent white female liberal claims that the New College mascot, a banyan tree, “closely resemble[s] an angry, threatening brown individual.”
Advice for white libs: if you see a tree and immediately think “looks like a scary minority to me,” you might be the racist. pic.twitter.com/mi2SuIXPc3
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 19, 2023
“I love the new mascot, which was designed by a New College student and inspired by the massive banyan trees on campus,” Rufo added.
Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign, agreed that the mascot was a good one — and someone else responded to her, comparing the “parasitic” banyan tree to the professors at the New College.
“Banyan trees are technically parasitic, much like liberal professors at New College,” he said.
Banyan trees are technically parasitic, much like liberal professors at New College.
— Cryptid Politics 🇺🇸🐊 (@CryptidPolitics) June 19, 2023
“Educated people know what a banyan tree looks like, + that mascot looks like a banyan tree. Kids today, however, are indoctrinated experts in pronouns + social justice only, so they don’t know about banyan trees. They are consumed with race, racism, and hate. That’s all they see,” one tweet said.
Others quickly made comparisons to the anthropomorphic tree-like characters — Ents – from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”
Looks like a Chad Ent from LOTR pic.twitter.com/dkg5baDyEW
— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) June 19, 2023
“I hope they don’t watch LOTR ‘The Two Towers’ … Treebeard will be mega triggering,” another account tweeted in response.
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