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Christopher Rufo fires back after woman claims a banyan tree-inspired mascot resembles 'an angry, threatening brown individual'
Screenshot taken from video on the Christopher F. Rufo YouTube channel

Christopher Rufo fires back after woman claims a banyan tree-inspired mascot resembles 'an angry, threatening brown individual'

Democratic Public Education Caucus of Manasota President Robin Williams has authored a piece suggesting that New College of Florida's new mascot, the "Mighty Banyan," is problematic.

The mascot, which is a human-like tree that has bulging arm muscles, a chest, and a face, is a reference to the banyan trees on the school's campus.

Williams took issue with the mascot, suggesting that it looks like an mad and threatening brown person.

"To anyone with even a cursory knowledge of racial stereotypes, the new mascot should have set off alarms. It turns out the original student version of the mascot was very different in appearance and was unlikely to have raised any concerns. Yet Interim President Richard Corcoran and the New College Board of Trustees, which includes culture warrior Christopher Rufo among its members, supported and chose an altered mascot that depicts a tree that has been anthropomorphized to closely resemble an angry, threatening brown individual," Williams wrote.

"It is an image that is also reminiscent of the historically offensive imagery perpetuated by the 'Tarzan' books, which featured a main character who lived in an African jungle and boasted of being a 'killer of beasts and many black men.' Though generations have passed, there is no getting around the reality that the 'Tarzan' literary series remains one full of vile racial stereotyping, with Black men portrayed as 'primitive natives' and 'savages,'" she continued.

"'The Mighty Banyan' mascot also appears to bear similarities to race-oriented memorabilia that was especially popular during the Jim Crow era in the United States and, unfortunately, served to ingrain racial stereotypes in the American psyche," she added.

Rufo hit back at Williams' criticism, tweeting, "Advice for white libs: if you see a tree and immediately think 'looks like a scary minority to me,' you might be the racist."

According to New College, the new mascot is based on a student's design. Corcoran noted that "we are proud that this mascot was born from one of our student’s designs."

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Alex Nitzberg

Alex Nitzberg

Alex Nitzberg is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@alexnitzberg →