October 17, 2007

Chief Wahoo is no honor

Penobscots:  Cleveland insults SockalexisSeven years ago, Penobscot Indian Nation sent a message to the Cleveland Indians: It was time to dump "Chief Wahoo."

Tribal leaders said the red-faced caricature that adorns the Major League Baseball team's uniforms was a demeaning anachronism, more fitting for the days of Cotton Clubs and black face than the 21st Century, and passed a resolution that urged team officials to "eliminate" the logo.

The vote was of special significance to tribal leaders. The Cleveland franchise traces its name to a Penobscot man, Louis F. Sockalexis, the first American Indian to play in the big leagues--a man who overcame near-constant taunts to shine on the baseball diamond during a short career in the late 1800s.
The Cleveland Indians' rationalization for their racist stereotype:DiBiasio argues the answer to whether the logo is demeaning lies in the intent of the Cleveland organization rather than the varied perceptions of fans.

"We ask, if there is no intent to demean, can it be demeaning? We have no intent to demean," he said.
Answer:  Yes, any act of racism can be insulting, offensive, or demeaning even if the perpetuater doesn't intend that outcome. It's actually fairly common for racists to be blind and ignornant about the effects of their racism.

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