Wednesday, May 18, 2005

On the Warpath...

I have a problem with the Cleveland Indians. For those of you who are not sports enthusiasts, the Cleveland Indians are a Major League Baseball team which has been in existance for nearly 100 years. And my problem isn't with the team, per se, but with the team's logo, a red-skinned, large-grinned, hook-nosed, solo-feathered cartoon character named Chief WahooChief Wahoo

My displeasure with the logo is not a unique stance. Folks of one stripe or another have been protesting it privately and publicly almost since it's inception.

Spokespeople for the Cleveland Indians organization insist that Chief Wahoo "was not created to offend American Indians, but to honor them". The team reps say the team's nickname and logo were designed to pay homage to an early baseball player, Louis Sockalexis, one of the first American Indians to play professional baseball.

To me that's akin to the old Brooklyn Dodgers renaming themselves the Brooklyn Negroes and choosing as their mascot a grinning, nappy-headed, thick-lipped black face to honor Jackie Robinson. How long do you imagine that would stand? blackface

Lest I be mistaken for a whiny, nit-picking advocate for political correctness, let me assure you I am generally repulsed by the mindless promotions of that media-powered social calamity.

PC aside, however, we are a society that, for the most part, tries to avoid openly denigrating and insulting our neighbors simply because they comprise a cultural or ethnic minority.

It's unfortunate that the political and economic influence of Native-Americans isn't powerful enough to effect the kinds of changes that African-Americans have become accustomed to over the years.

And please, don't get me started on the Washington Redskins.


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