By Associated Press
Holding hand-painted signs that read, “We Are Not Honored,” and “Our Children Are Not Mascots,” a contingent of Native Americans and some of their supporters demonstrated against the Indians’ use of their red-faced Wahoo logo.
The protesters, who have been gathering outside the ballpark’s entrances on opening day for years to voice their displeasure about the team’s use of the long-standing logo, stayed behind barricades as Indians fans walked by for the game against the Minnesota Twins.
Robert Roche, executive director of the American Indian Education Center, is adamant the team should abolish the logo permanently.
“The issue is simple,” said the 66-year-old Roche, his hair braided with white threads. “We are not mascots. I’m nobody’s mascot. My children are not mascots. It mocks us as a race of people. It mocks our religion.”
Redface has another big day at the ballpark in Cleveland
By Cleveland Frowns
Pictured at left is Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache tribe member, AIM member, Executive Director of the American Indian Education Center in Parma, Ohio, and more. At right is Cleveland Indians baseball fan Pedro Rodriguez, who is not a Native American.
Shortly after snapping the photo I posted it to the Cleveland Frowns Twitter account from where it was quickly picked up by a number of national outlets, including Deadspin, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Yahoo. Scene’s Sam Allard, who also witnessed this confrontation, posted some pictures of his own along with a first-person account and roundup of responses to the anti-Wahoo protesters.
"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener
By Sam Allard
The staunch, redfaced Rodriguez refused to acknowledge that the Native American man standing before him—Robert Roche, of the Apache Nation—could possibly take offense. Rorche literally told him he was offended by Chief Wahoo and the use of tribal feathers and redface, and Rodriguez just kept shaking his head.
It's actually a shame for the civil Wahoo supporters that their comrades put on such an embarrassing and primitive display this afternoon. Only twice in three hours did Pro-Wahoo folks talk politely with the protesters about the root of their opposition and try to explain their own difficulties with the dehumanizing logo. (One man turned his Wahoo hat around as a little peace offering).
For the most part, though, passers-by hurled insults. A handful of boozy risk-takers sporting "Keep the Chief" tees walked directly in front of those holding signs, to taunt. Others distributed individual middle-fingers to each protester while inviting them to fuck themselves. Others launched the familiar hate speech—"Go back to the reservation," etc.
By Levi Rickert
As a young man, he met American Indian Movement leader Russell Means, who was running the Cleveland American Indian Center then. He became good friends with Means. Even way back then the American Indian community in Cleveland opposed the name of the Cleveland major league baseball name. The organization filed a lawsuit to have the name changed.
Fast-forward to this past Friday, Roche was still fighting the name. Roche is Chiricahua Apache, the tribe that produced the likes of Geronimo and Cochise.
Photo goes viral
Am I a prophet? A time-traveling cartoonist? (toon, photo)
By Lalo Alcaraz
This weekend POCHO Florida Burro Jefe Santino J. Rivera sent me a “heads-up” about a Tweet featuring one of these editorial cartoons. I clicked the link and just about fell out of my chair.
The graphic in the Tweet was a side-by-side presentation of my cartoon showing a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan next to a photograph of a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan (image, above.)
They are eerily similar. The strange part was that I drew my cartoon in 2002, and the photo was taken last week in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland “Indians.”
My tweet on the subject:
Cleveland Wahoo fans say they're not to blame. They're just imitating Indians like Heidi Klum, Christina Fallin, Harry Styles, Cher, et al.
If seeing a redface caricature face to face with a real Indian doesn't do the trick, nothing will. These articles and images should convince everyone that we're never going to talk people out of their racist beliefs.
Mascot supporters are blind, deaf, and dumb to their own ignorance. They can't argue the facts so they argue their emotions. They're like Christians, children, or dogs whose basic argument is "Because!" (The dog barks his answer, but that's what it amounts to.)
Or as I wrote to one Wahoo lover:
Really? You think protesting this horrible racist stereotype is a matter of "political correctness"? What would it take for Cleveland fans to admit that something is racist: a massacre or lynching with bodies?
What we need to do is influence the media and shame the corporate masters, including advertisers. They're the ones who can stand aloof and make semi-rational decisions.
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