April 16, 2010

No protests against Chief Wahoo?!

Here's one of the most ignorant statements ever made about Indian mascots:

Our View:  Outrage at nicknames, logos not consistent[I]f the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo must be dropped, so be it. But why, we ask, aren’t there similar efforts to abolish other Indian-inspired nicknames and logos in other levels of sport?

The most obvious example we can think of is the logo of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians. The team’s “Chief Wahoo” logo—the name itself is ridiculous—is a tomato-red-colored Indian face contorted into a garish grin. There have been protests against it, but none that have produced a sustained, popular effort to banish it.

We’re not Indian, so we’re probably not qualified to judge Indian-inspired nicknames and logos. But if UND’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname and accompanying logo—featuring a rugged, steely jawed Indian gazing into the distance—can be considered offensive, we have to wonder why there isn’t a similarly persistent effort to get other, seemingly more offensive nicknames and logos consigned to history.
Comment:  Really? No "similar efforts" against Chief Wahoo? Here's what I found in about 15 seconds of Googling:

Chief WahooProtests against Wahoo go back to the 1970s, when American Indian Movement founder Russell Means led demonstrations. Protest leaders said the logo is demeaning to Indians and their traditions.Chief WahooProtests against the use of the Chief Wahoo character greeted the opening of Jacobs Field in 1994.Protest Staged over Chief Wahoo

October 7, 1999Protesters opposed to the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo mascot rallied peacefully Wednesday outside of Jacobs Field before the AL divisional playoff game between Cleveland and Boston.Cleveland Protest of 'Chief Wahoo'; Activists Gather at MLB Opening Day

April 24, 2002"CityNews" publisher James R. Crosby joined in with the protestors as speaker after speaker denounced using a caricature of a proud people for purely marketing purposes.Supreme Court refuses Chief Wahoo protest lawsuit

Thursday, May 19, 2005The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal brought by Indian activists who were arrested for burning Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians, in effigy.


Note the nasty implication of the Mitchell Republic's ignorant claim: that activists are hypocrites who really don't care about Indian mascots. Wrong, ignornamuses. I believe Indians have been protesting all the offensive mascots since the 1970s and 1980s.

My counter-question is: Is the Mitchell Republic so comically inept that it can't research a basic question before opening its metaphorical mouth? Or did the paper fabricate a straw-man argument to deflect attention from its losing "Fighting Sioux" position? Stupid or dishonest...you decide.


Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be that hard for anyone to figure out why the racist "Chief Wahoo" still remains. For one, major sport teams like the Cleveland Indians or WA Redskins are far more powerful entities back by powerful figures in Congress and lobbyists. Whereas, Universities and H.S. are easy targets because they don't have the same funds and defense as major sports teams which dates back half a century. To go after the racist "Chief Wahoo" requires the support of some of the Congress figures who can design laws in banning race based mascots.


dmarks said...

In light of the usual "racist conservatives vs enlightened liberals" theme that often appears in this blog, is there any evidence that liberal sports-fans embrace Chief Wahoo and the Washington Redskins any less than conservative sports fans?

In my experience, liberals embrace the teams and the logos no less than conservatives do.

dmarks said...

And Geno, I've long opposed these mascots, but I don't want to blow a hole in the First Amendment (a federal ban law!) to get rid of them. Public pressure is sufficient. It's also quite successful in getting rid of such mascots.

Rob said...

I agree that public pressure is preferable to a federal ban. A ban probably would be unconstitutional.

Since most non-Indians support Indian mascots, the supporters must include liberals as well as conservatives. I usually don't blame conservatives only when I criticize mascot lovers.

Alas, this debate is far from over. For more on the subject, see Mitchell Republic Defends Chief Wahoo Editorial.