Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A New Front On The Indian Mascot Wars

Take a good look at the photo of the hat below.
Look at the hat really close.
It is . . .it is . . .an INDIAN head! And worse, and Indian with a feather sticking from the back of his head.
Meet the logo of the Cleveland Indians.
His name is Chief Wahoo.
He has been the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team for over 60 years. And there have been different variations of Chief Wahoo. Below is the original look of Chief Wahoo.
OK, I will admit, the original Chief Wahoo, by today's standards, does look like a horrible charicture Ad like anything else, it had been updated to what it looks like today.
The reason that this is an issue is that the local Cleveland fish wrap, The Plain Dealer, wrote a recent editorial saying that the Chief Wahoo logo, well it is time to go.
So brave of them.
The usual canard  reason was given.
That it is offensive to Indians. Or if others want to be politically correct, Native Americans. I am not politically correct, so I refer to them as Indians.
And at the end of the day, that is what this boils down to.
Political correctness.
Understand that this is the logo of a team named Indians. What else can they use? The current Chief Wahoo is supposed to be fun. Not insulting to Indians. It is a smiling Indian, not a menacing one say as the Washington Redskins logo. Which is also an Indian head.
Here is the part of the editorial that you will not read.
That if they were to get rid of the logo, what about the team name? They did not address that because I believe the answer is obvious.
Today, Chief Wahoo. Tomorrow the nickname.
Because in the politically correct world, the Indian Victim Industrial Complex will not rest until all, and yes all, Indian nicknamed sports teams are banished.
The fallacy of those self-appointed "leaders" is that these nicknames are all so demeaning to the Indian. They will give some wild examples of teams named after Blacks. Asians. Jews. Name the group, I suppose.
It is the demeaning nature of these names, if I understand that right, hurts the Indians. Makes them feel less than human. And believe me, the top of the bad list is the Washington Redskins.
What I would like to ask is this.
Can anyone name a situation when an Indian claimed that the demeaning nature of some sports team nicknames is the cause of their alcoholism? Drug addiction? Lack of education? The inability to leave the Indian reservations?
The crickets will chirp until the end of time and after on that one.
These self-appointed leaders have made many Indians feel that they have to take the armor of victim hood rather than lay blame for many of the problems they have on the backs of the same "leaders".
Back to Chief Wahoo.
The logo and the team name, the Indians, is not meant to demean Indians but to suggest that they do have a fighting spirit. Many teams choose to adopt different types of names. Indians, Braves, Redskins, Black Hawks, Fighting Sioux to name some Indian-themed nicknames. They are meant to strike some sort of fear. Not literal, but in the sense of competitive sports. The Chief Wahoo logo is different from when it first came out in 1947. In fact there is the logo below.
The above is the swinging Chief Wahoo that once was part of the sign in the old Cleveland Stadium. What I like is that he is swinging the bat. It clearly shows that he is a baseball player.
Some say that the whole thing is a caricature. But isn't that what all sports nicknames are at one level?
I think that this is one more of those "causes" that make some self-appointed "leaders" and their White Guilt allies feel that they are "doing something" even if it is nonsensical.
I made the point that the Chief Wahoo logo is very popular. I live in a very multicultural part of California. Many of the people that I see wearing the Indians Chief Wahoo baseball hat are Hispanic. Probably Mestizo. And Mestizo's trace their heritage back to being Indians. Since I don't think that they are really thinking all that much about it, is wearing that hat a variation of self-hate? I don't think so. I think it is just that most people either like it, hate it or have no real opinion of it.
I think that The Plain Dealer is wrong on this. I don't think that it would do any good to drop the Chief Wahoo logo. Certainly not good to force a team nickname change. And it would do the self-appointed Indian "leaders" stirring this up to actually do something real and genuine to improve conditions on the Indian reservations.

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