By Stephanie Siek, CNN
Cleveland (CNN) – It's the Cleveland Indians home opener and the grounds outside Progressive Field are a sea of red and blue jerseys. As the crowds of celebratory fans walk toward the ballpark’s entrance, they pass a small group of protesters holding signs that say that the team’s name and mascot, Chief Wahoo, are racist and offensive.
About 10 people stand in a small park next to the stadium, quietly holding signs that say "People Not Mascots" and "Stop Teaching Your Children Racism." Every once in a while, someone in the stream of baseball fans pauses to shout mockingly, "Chief Wahoo Rules!", "You killed Custer" or just "Shut up!"
Robert Roche, executive director of Cleveland's American Indian Education Center and a Chiricahua Apache tribal member, says it's been like this each of the 30-some years he's been protesting. The shouting gets angrier and more frequent the closer it gets to game time, with many of the hecklers fresh from the nearby bars.
"If you stand here long enough," Roche says, “you'll see that racism is alive and well in Cleveland."
Not long after, a man in dressed in a feather headdress, face paint and a sweatsuit airbrushed with images of Chief Wahoo walks past and makes faces at the protesters. People in the crowd around him break out in war whoops.
Local Native Americans and advocates have been protesting the name and mascot on Opening Day since 1973. They say calling a team the Indians plasters over the history of exploitation of indigenous people by the Americans who displaced and often mistreated them. They regard Chief Wahoo as even worse - the caricature of an American Indian with bright red skin, a toothy grin, hooked nose and feather headband plays on stereotypes of Native Americans.
Every year the protesters have spread the same message about the offensiveness of the team name and logo, and every year they face ambivalent and sometimes belligerent fans, who repeat the legend that the Indians team name was chosen to honor, not denigrate, Native Americans. It’s a legend that every Cleveland-area baseball fan grows up with, and one that appears in the team’s official storytelling.
According to a timeline on the Indians team website, the Indians name dates to 1915, when what had been the Cleveland Naps was renamed to honor an earlier player, Penobscot American Indian Louis Sockalexis. Messages left for a Cleveland Indians communications official on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were not returned.
In an April 4 story about the controversy in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, team spokesman Bob DiBiasio said he respects protesters opinions, but as to whether the team symbols are racist or not, "it is an individual perception issue... When people look at our logo, we believe they think baseball."
The Cleveland Indians began using the Chief Wahoo logo in 1947.
A different examination of the team's history showed the name’s origin is murkier. Ellen Staurowsky, a Drexel University professor who has researched the role of race in sports, wrote about the team’s naming origins in a 1998 journal article for "The Sociology of Sport." Her examination of local newspaper articles printed around the time of the 1915 renaming cast doubt on whether honoring Sockalexis was ever part of the discussion.
"Sockalexis is not mentioned… the Plain Dealer (newspaper) reported that the nickname was 'but temporarily bestowed until such time as the team could earn some other cognomen which may have been more appropriate,'" Staurowsky wrote. "This statement does not support the notion that the name was intended to permanently pertain to the team, let alone permanently honor a figure who did not warrant mention at the time the selection was announced."
Staurowsky said it's more likely that the loosely organized committee of sportswriters choosing the name wanted to piggyback off the success of the Boston Braves, which had won the World Series the year before. And naming the team the Indians lent itself to the sort of colorful war metaphors favored by such writers at the time.
Sockalexis had played for an even earlier incarnation of the team, the Cleveland Spiders. He was one of, if not the, first Native American to play for the Major Leagues. Sockalexis, an outfielder who was renowned for his distance throwing and hitting skills, was one of a handful of professional players at the time who had played for a college team – for Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and Notre Dame in Indiana – before being recruited to Cleveland.
The tall, muscular fielder played for just two years. Months after signing with the Spiders in 1897, he severely injured an ankle after jumping or falling from a second-story window while drunk. The man hailed as one of the greatest natural talents of his time saw his batting average go from .338 to .273, and his apparent instability led him to be let go from the team in 1899. He died in 1913 of heart failure, at 42 years old.
According to an 1897 article by Elmer Bates in the "Sporting Life" newspaper, Sockalexis was sometimes taunted by fans because of his heritage. "In many cases these demonstrations border on extreme rudeness," Bates wrote. "In almost every instance they are calculated to disconcert the player."
The bigotry displayed by those fans seeps through to the behavior of fans today, said Staurowsky, the Drexel professor, who said she occasionally travels to attend the yearly protests.
"I've always found it compelling that the club has claimed that the whole purpose of the naming is to honor an American Indian, and the behavior of the fans when they're confronted with actual American Indians protesting is quite contrary to honor," Staurowsky says. "The fact that this has been going on for years and the behavior essentially hasn't changed speaks to a level of racism that is so very difficult to eradicate."
It’s a fact that makes the fans in Wahoo caps' heckling of the protesters even more galling, said protest organizer Sundance, a Muskogee tribal member and director of Cleveland’s chapter of the American Indian Movement.
"People know what they’ve been taught," said Sundance, who goes by only one name. "In the United States, we have propaganda that allows this to go unchecked because it's convenient to subjugate Native Americans to sell merchandise."
A poll on the Cleveland.com news site this week said local attitudes are mixed. It asked readers, "Chief Wahoo and other Native American mascots, logos, and names: Racist or not?" Out of more than 5,300 votes cast by Friday afternoon, nearly a third said such depictions of ethnic groups were racist and that Chief Wahoo should be replaced. Another 31% said "No way. Chief Wahoo in particular is a beloved part of the Cleveland sports culture, not a racist symbol." Another 26% said that the name and logo were not racist and only "overly sensitive, politically correct people" would be offended by them. About 10% of voters said some such symbols were racist – "but there’s nothing wrong with 'Warriors' or 'Braves' because they imply strength, not racist exaggeration."
Daniel Fall, a native Ohioan who flew in from his current home of Atlanta to see Thursday's game, said he's "not crazy" about Chief Wahoo. But Fall said he doesn't believe the Indians name indicates any ill will toward Native Americans, and wants the name to stay.
Still, he said, "I'm glad people want to come out and voice concern. There's nothing wrong with a little introspection."
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Does anyone know where I can purchase a sticky decal with just the Indian I? I would like to cover my son's little league Wahoo decal on his uniform.
Wow, I'm embarassed for your child. I can only imagine how he will feel. Thanks mom.
As a "Native American" or indigenous person, the USA needs to learn the history in a truthful, forthright way. "Indians" are native to India. The only reason we are called Indians is because when Columbus came to the Americas, he thought he was in India. WE prefer to be called what we are. Penobscot, Apache, Ojibway, Comanche, Seminole, Skatacoke, Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Abanaki, so on and so forth. There are over 1000 different languages among the Indigenous people of North America and need not be placed in the same category. Similar be;liefs but very different languages.
If the Native Americans (trying to PC so I do not tick anybody off) have issues with a team named after them. Then how about everything else with Indian names. Like roads, cities, rivers, lakes, and States. Should we change all of those names as well.
America has what appears to be a daily cornucopia of race issues.
Bigotry = Low IQ ( G. Hodson et al., 2012 ).
Thanks to Eric. I'm going to be chillin since I'm wayyy out there & clean out my tepee & beat on my drum – not.. My opinion is Chief Wahoo has to go because he was created during the time when there were no civil rights in America. I know it was to honor an American Inidan player but the newspaper from that era indicates no mention of him being honored. I can't imagine the racism Sokalexis suffered when he played a century ago. Here we are still fighting racial profiling – American Indians didn't come very far. Chief Wahoo looks similar to the character the Germans used to depict Jews. I know I'm repeating myself. The Cleveland Indians should changed their name back to Cleveland Spiders. PS To Prash – nothing personal.
People are way too sensative these days. I'm a native american (or Indian because I don't feel very politically correct today) and the mascot issue is so ridiculous. If the native american population wants to protest something, protest the fact that a majority if the reservations in this country are worse than some third world countries. Young adults and teenagers grow up feeling like they have no options or oppourunities. A large majority turn into criminals and alcholics. If Disney's Pochahantas makes them upset, they should read her real story, then they would have a legitimate reason to feel desolate. The mascots may be silly, but then again, its a mascot! All these animals and pirates and cowboys and patriots should be outraged!! Wow people, find another soapbox please.
Yes, there are a lot of problems & issues on the reservations. But you should know that there are a lot of Government Red Tape. For example: If I decide to open a business on the reservation – I have to talk to the Tribal Government, landowners (right of way), and then it has to be approve by the Dept of Interior. Do you know how long that will take? What is your suggestion of helping the younger Indian generation to battle drugs & alcoholism? The fact that we (American Indians) have the highest rate of suicide? So jump of the band wagon – help your people.
I’m a Scandinavian from Minnesota and I take great offence to the Minnesota Vikings logo. It's racist and needs to go! No wait a minute, that’s just stupid! OMG people!
Exactly... and, BTW, there is no logo more offensive than that little leprechaun the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" use.
Gee its funny, people of Nordic descent don't seem to have a problem with the Vikings or of Celtic descent with the Celtics...hmmmm.
Hmmm... the Viking and Celtic logos aren't grinning mindlessly with bug eyes.
The Vikings and Celtics weren't obliterated by the fans who are now mocking them were they Mark? Big difference but of course I wouldn't expect you to understand that. 95% of Native Americans were wiped out by people with your same mentality. Now you celebrate that genocide by turning our people into a bunch of cartoon characters and mocking our traditions. You people are very troubled.
well said Redcrow.
This sentence in the artlce says it all: only "overly sensitive, politically correct people" would be offended.
If it wasn't for the Indian type mascots on sports teams and colleges – the American Indian would be totally forgotten about and out of sight of the non-gambling public. The only things keeping the American Indian populations relevant in todays American society is their use as sports mascots and the gambling that is allowed on Indian land.
cleveland should change their name to the cleveland decay.
So who is going to protest the Dallas Cowboys mascot?
you mean Jerry Jones? I dont know – that's a good question.
What about Washington Redskins?
They suck BIG TIME – terrible record every season. They don't have a good quarterback. ...Oh, you mean their mascot and team name. Same – derogatory team name & mascot (not as cheesy looking as Chief Wahoo though). Oh I despised their "Hail to the Redskins" crap song.
The coach sucks. They should have stick with McNabb for a season and see what happens. Rex Grossman? Please...
It is about a half cheesy looking mascot.
Prash. Yes, I’m sitting here with “Hate” & looking for revenge. Are you kidding me? So you are saying that I should step aside while others make fun of me – doing dancing war whoops and wear war paints. Yes, you are an ignorant minority who probably never experience harsh racism because you immigrated to this country recently. Yes, I'm really American Indian – are you really Pakistani?
So many things wrong with your statement. I think the most egregious part was saying "Yes, you are an ignorant minority who probably never experience harsh racism because you immigrated to this country recently." You obviously didn't read my earlier post because I told you I'm a Christian....from a Muslim country. Why do you think I'm here now? America is the most laid-back place on the planet when it comes to tolerance. Perhaps you should take your own suggestion and go to the library and learn about the rest of the world treats people who are different from themselves.
I've made an egregious statement? But you never answer my quesiton of war whoops or wear war paints – you avoided it. Perhaps we can meet at the library – you can read about the American history while I will read about the world history. Of course, I know what's going on in this world. Did the Muslims mock you for being Christian?
So are you saying it's ok to be a Pakistani Christian who is a baseball fan & doesn't think Chief Wahoo is racist character?
Prash, dont let one persons "unique" view of things make you feel bad. Some people are just out there and can be all tough sitting at home making internet posts all day. The educated of us welcome your thoughts.
Yeah, Prash. Don't feel bad because Chief Wahoo is not a Paskiani. I'm just American Indian (uneducated) who HATES Chief Wahoo. I still say chief wahool looks like the character the germans used to depict the Jews in the 1930s.
Fine, let us change the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Crushers or whatever. However, what are we going to do about Indian reservations? It seems like so many live on the Indian reservations and do not work. What do you suggest?
What does this idiotic mascot have to do with living on the reservations? The reservations were created by the US Government (US History). Did the American Indians wake up one day & said, "Hey let's get some reservations – see if Uncle Sam will agree to it. Hey, Chief Wahoo – we should make room for the settlers? " My suggestion is to make a few calls to Dept of Interior – see if they release us.
Man, Wahoo...you need to relax some...your angry posts are exactly why this happens. Trying to make someone else feel ignorant or yourself feel smart is no way to discuss anything. You arent helping yourself much the way you are talking, chill out.
Yep, I'm chillin. Just because I'm opinionated (maybe smart) doesn't mean I have to been not heard. I just hate that.
They should change the team name to the Cleveland Investment Bankers and modify Chief Wahoo to look like a grinning white man with a paisley tie wrapped around his head. The luxury box owners will love it!
It's a Mascot..............Jesus
100% agree...people need to chill out...its getting ridiculous these days
Wahoo is absolutely and obviously racist, we can quite tap-dancing about that. The Native Americans are a true minority – – without a vocal lobby, a large voting bloc, significant riches, the ability to threaten violent protest, or strong representation in government. And as such, the Native Americans will remain powerless to address the racism unless and until they could unite with a larger minority group capable of some level of empathy. But as most minority groups hold fast that only they could ever have been "wronged," I don't see that happening. The beauty of democracy – – unless you have the numbers or the money, you will be trampled by the "silent majority" of uneducated white trash that is the fabric of America.
...unlike a Communist society like China, where minorities are loaded onto trains and sent to detention camps, never to be seen again. When I see an Indian immolating himself before a game, I'd say the two were similar. They aren't...
If you don't like democracy or being able to even MAKE posts like this, I have a few places you should visit in the world. Good luck having a voice there. Of course here anyone can hide behind their computer all tough throwing out "white trash" terms which only stir the pot further. Nice way of talking about a racist subject in a racist way. Think before you post next time, the educated population will thank you.
Honestly, As a white man from the North I am offended that the Yankees and Cowboys get away with the same thing. By honestly i really mean not at all.
And the Fighting Irish
Having worked with and socialized with a variety of Native American tribal members I find most of them to be intelligent, hard working and reasonabliy decent HUMAN BEINGS. Few are bothered by mascot nicknames and in many cases follow one or more teams with those nicknames. In otherwords- people. The problem is caused by the disease political correctness which seeks to level everyone to one pale, pacified group of cogs for the industrial machine that will be directed and controlled by our "masters", all of whom look doen on ALL of us. Chill out everyone
Thanks for your input. You having socialized with many Native Americans must mean you are qualified to make the statement that most Native Americans are "fine" with being mocked. Yeah we love seeing drunk white frat boys dressed up like our leaders, grabbing their crotch and puking all over themselves. Makes us all very proud.
How about we start up a baseball team in Alabama and call them the Birmingham Bushmen? The mascot will be an African tribal leader with a bone through it's nose. He'll run around between innings with a big stick and chase a wild pig. Wouldn't that be great? How about a city in Germany names a soccer team the Auschwitz Jews? The mascot will be a malnurished Jewish person and during intermission they can lead him around the field with a piece of food hanging off a piece of rope on a stick, keeping it just out of his reach! When they're ready for the game to restart they'll lead him into a makeshift oven until the next intermission. Only the PC crowd would be offended,
I think sometimes people get too over sensitive about things but...c'mon, Chief Wahoo? Even the name is offensive.
Yep, Chief Wahoo looks like the character the Germans used to depict the Jews in the 1930s.
Buckeye4life. Yep, Einstein. This is baseball season. Yep, I don't like the Washington Redskins or Kansas Chiefs with their idiotic war chant. No, I don't like NHL – bunch of white players with hockey sticks. What have I done to make a world a better place? I like to see the world in perfect harmony..da da da. Hey, I just sang a song for you.
There are several mascots all over the U.S. with Native American references. As a Native American myself, I do not find most of them offensive. It is the fans or the opponents who make them offensive. I do however disagree with the "logo" of many. There are schools that use the term "Indians" and they simply leave it at that, there is no mascot. The poorly drawn character that Cleveland holds is outdated and needs a revamp or better yet just completely tossed out. There are some questionable names out there but I think those have already either been changed or are on the verge of being changed at this time. Now what really drives me insane is the Atlanta Braves' stupid Tomahawk chop song! It's stupid and that is offensive, just my opinon,
Don't people have anything better to do with their time than whine about such crap? Get a life and worry about something important.
Don't people have anything better to do with their time than whine about such crap? Get a life and worry about something important.
You sound just like an Indian Agentl. When the U.S. government took our lands, traditional beliefs, and our languages, they said, "Get a life! worry about something important. Don't whine because we are giving you food ration (rotten meats with worms). Get a life but don't hunt on white lands."
Wow, your equating this to that. This is nothing, and not important to anyone's life.
I am american indian and have no problem with mascots. The difference being I have a level head on my shoulders.
Whiners are destroying a great legacy.
Heheheh. Great legacy of what?
So not that I want you to reply but where are your comments about the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL? oh sorry, must not be the season. Are you religious? What about the NHL's New Jersey Devils? There are way worse things in the world than a mascot for a professional sports team. So what have you done to make the world a better place today? I would say you have done nothing because you're too ignorant to figure it out.
It's time to change it.
Native American team names were chosen because Native Americans were admired for being tough and strong. Now that Native Americans are becoming known only for complaining and making excuses, it doesn't make much sense to keep them as a mascot.
Yippee Yaa.Yah..About time somebody noticed that we (American Indians) no longer attack white settlers & fight the blue coats like John Wayne Movies & thanks to Clay & have red cloths. We've become soft & demure like our conquerors.
A h8er like you, using the name of "The Lord" as yours....appalling. You should be ashamed!
Indians are from India. Americans are from America. Those Americans who were here before the white people invaded are commonly referred to as Native Americans.
Even referring to Native Americans is an ignorant misnomer which is made even worse by the gross characterization used to depict "Chief Wahoo."
Cleveland you are a disgusting town full of disgusting people displaying your bigotry as some sort of badge of honor. Next time your lake catches on fire, perhaps it will take the whole ignorant lot of you with it.
Though outdated, the Indians were named in honor of the first American Indian who played in the major league over 100 years ago. Though not PC, the intentions of the team were honorable. Your hate of our city and our team just shows your ignorance. The team mascot SHOULD be changed and the team, which we refer to as "The Tribe" locally should be named just that.
Having lived there in the past, I saw the rampant racism in the Cleveland area, directed at many non-white groups. More to the point, however, did you not read the article? Specifically, did you not read the part where the article pointed out that the whole "honoring Native Americans" talk is a myth? "The Indians" is just a placeholder moniker that stuck. The fans from more than a century ago were equally nasty to the Native American player the team is allegedly honoring as the current fans are to the protesters now.
Thank you. KWDragon. This honoring stuff is just a "smoke" screen to keep that awful looking Chief Wahoo. Chief Wahoo is similar to the character that the Germans used to depict the Jews as the 1930s in Germany.
This is America, I have as much of a right to speak out against racism as you have to speak in it's favor.
First it was the river that caught fire and second if you look at the make of Cleveland Ohio you will see that it has more ethnic diversity than most major cities in America. Whether you are Irish. Polish Ukrainian , Italian, German, Jewish. Lebanese Jordanian Russian French Spanish or African American or just about anything else. We all live together and work together without much trouble. So being racist is quite far fetched. Most of us have groan up with the Indians as the name and mascot. I mean if you really think the mascot or caracture please note the fighting Irish's if you don't find that one demeaning then you shouldn't find the wahoo demeaning
History lesson for you: The Cuyahoga RIVER, not LAKE ERIE, caught fire a few decades ago!!! And your name' The Lord' is discriminatory because to a religious person, you use it in vain! Also, it is ignorant people like you that keep racism alive and growing. What have you done to make someone you know, your neighborhood, your city, etc. better today????
Are you for keeping the Cleveland Indians' mascot or not? What have YOU done, as a resident of the great, progressive metropolis of Cleveland to prevent the furthering of racist stereoptypes?
Nothing? Oh, that's what I thought. Carry on.
Yes, Our river caught on fire!! O-H
Talk about gross characterization....all people from Cleveland are bigots? You are the bigot. It is a baseball team, the logo is just that, a logo....there are far more inportant things in life. Please leave us alone and we will be pleased to never have you visit our city. Only ignorant fools make statements like the ones you made.
Ah, baseball season is here again. As American Indian, I will pray to the Great Spirit so that Cleveland Indians will NEVER win the World Series this year. For hecklers with painted faces & fake feathers, I hope they will lose their jobs.
That photo of the awful fan is not recent. These fans don't dress as Indans. The team was named in honor of the first American Inidan to ever play in the major league. Though not PC, the name should be changed and so should the mascot. But the team's intentions were honorable. I hope you include Notre Dame in your hate of teams for dispareging the Irish!
don't care about Notre Dame. I only care that the Diamond Backs & the Rockies. I hate Cleveland Indians and their stupid looking mascot.
They stand no chance of winning the WS this year, the Tigers are in their division. As for wishing job losses on people...shame on you. Economic hardship transcends political belief.
Shame on me? Am I racist? What goes around – comes around.
Yes, you are racist. I'm from Pakistan, but I certainly don't wish hardship on white people, black people, native American people, Jews, Muslims, Christians, anyone. Imagine my life in America as a Pakistani. I'm Christian, but most view me as Muslim. The MAJORITY of people are good people, it's the few who are truly racist that give everyone a bad name. My best friends are white...but if I were black, that would make me what, an uncle Tom? You are just as racist as those you claim are the racists. Yes, shame on you for wishing people would lose their jobs.
Well, Prash from Pakistan. What's your view of American Indians? I betta you never met one or are best friends with one or watched any John Wayne Movies. As far as racist, you obviously don't know the history of America against American Indians or African Americans. Perhaps you should go to the library read about the horrible history of American Indians than you will know why are racial profiling exist. You are just ignorant like your white best friends. Does every white person like you? Probably not. Shame on me for saying bad stuff on people who depict Native Americans. As life long minorities in America, we fought hard on Racial Equality such as 1964 Civil Rights Act so ignorant minorities like you can enjoy the fruits of America.
I respect them enough not to call them "Indians." The Native Americans I've met have never called themselves Indians. This makes me wonder if you really are a Native American. You exacerbate your ignorance by calling me an ignorant minority. You justify your hate because of your perception that others "hate" you. You are seething with hate and nothing will get better until people like you stop looking for revenge.
Give'em some whiskey and some red cloth, they'll go away for a few more years.
Wow. Clay BO. Since you do racial profiling with "red cloths" crap, I must say you probably are White and middle aged who puts likes to pu on a "Robin Hood" tights..
I am Native American, and by the looks of it a lot more than those who claim.
I am tired of these few mouth pieces acting like they represent everyone, they sure as heck do not represent me.
I see nothing worng with this team, the KC Chiefs, or anyone else. It is not mockery, to me it is great that a team would name themselves after something as it invokes all the positives a team is suppose to have.
I do not hear anything about the NE Patriots, yet their character is just as cartoonish as anyone elses.
It seems there are just people out there looking for any cause to latch on to, just for the sakes of doing it. They would find something to protest about in a perfect world.
I agree. If you are happy with who you are, you don't spend every waking moment looking for hidden messages in names, or even looks. Better to spend your time on doing good rather than wasting it.
Thank you, Jon, for your candor. I've concluded that there are people in this world who suffer from too thin skin. Why is it so hard for these individuals to see that naming a sports team after Native Americans reflects admiration for the tenacity of those same people fighting against incredible odds? Nothing racist in that.
Thank You, Jon!
I had the same feelings, at first, until I started reading extensive amounts of studies that have shown that even though Native American youth have positive associations with mascots, being exposed to mascots actually caused decreased self-esteem, decreased self-worth, and devaluing of tribal communities in interviews.
Just the fact that you compared the NE Patriots with a Native Indian mascot tells me there is no way in hell you are Native American, either that or you are like 3%. A patriot is a white mascot and the patriots never were subjected to a mass genocide by other white people. Quit yer lying!
Hmmm. Perhaps I should protest the Boston Celtics. After all, they have a caricatured Irishman/leprechaun and most of the players are black, anyway. That doesn't exactly compute.
Yeah I remember reading about how the Celtics were completely destroyed as a race by black people! You're right Celtics should be p!ssed off!
"completely destroyed" is a little much considering your still around to jump on the bandwagon redcrow.
A caricature of Chief Wahoo would appeal to me as an American Indian more than the impressions most people have of Indians which is that of drunks and casinos.
You say "the impression most people have" but I think you meant to say "the impression most ignorant bigots have." There you go, your welcome.
And my guess is you have never met a real Native American. Nice stereotyping and it's comforting to know you aren't willing to hide your racist views. The thought that you back Cleveland's mascot comes as no surpirse.
If you changed it from a shamrock to a cartoon of a drunken Irish man with a bright red nose and crooked teeth, yes, I think some people might take offense.
Have you checked out the Boston Celtics logo (not the shamrock they use on the jerseys but the diminutive ginger person in a green suit holding up his fists. Jeesh.)?
No one seems to be offended by Notre Dame's link to the heritage of drunken Irish brawlers, hence "fighting irish".....
Only in America can a conquered people hold a protest claiming that they are offended by a cartoon. After all of the autrocities committed against Indians by an expansionist government, someone thinks that protesting a name is going to remedy their situation. History is filled with cultures lost through war and time. Early America waged a war against the earlier settlers of this land. It's not the first, last, or only time this has happened. So, if the name is really so troubling to some people, they should revisit their history books.
We keep enabling these publicity seeking individuals.
Funny, you don't see Irishmen getting upset about Notre Dame's "fighting irish", which celebrates the Irish heritage of being drunken brawlers.
Seems like being seriously offended by trivia is the new national past time.
Then filing a lawsuit for trauma, pain and suffering.
Why is a name more important than people? Changing the name is not a big deal. Why are people so attached to a name? It doesn't matter if some are not offended, it is offensive to some Americans, so change it. No harm in changing the name.
And that is exactly one of the problems in this country: if someone is offended by something, then that is all the reason we need to take action. Some people are offended by the word "Oreo", so I guess the cookie needs to be renamed, too.
Claire..........that name offends me.
I want you to change it to Wahoo. After all, it's just a name.
As an Italian I can honestly say I'm not the slightest offended by Super Mario, because I'm not running around asking people to feel sorry for me and looking for something to be offended about. Recent polls have shown that over 90% of Native Americans aren't bothered at all by this harmless mascot, it's a non issue. Stop giving a voice to these fringe people with nothing better to do.
Source your poll. Oh you can't, because you just made that up....
86.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
You don't select a group as your mascot because you hate them! As someone whose last name comes from Ireland, I'm pleased that Notre Dame calls itself the fighting Irish and has used a clownish Leprechaun character to dance the jig after touchdowns. Likewise with the Boston Celtics. And I'm sure the same goes for those of Scandinavian origin about the Minnesota Vikings. Etc.
If they all of a sudden in 1973 decided to start protesting... how does this make sense.... this logo started being used by the cleveland indians in 1947. They should have started on opening day in 1947. not 1973 and not now. People may get offended but this is baseball. Do bulldogs get offended because Georgia uses them as a mascot. Do Pirates get offended when Pittsburgh uses a pirate as a mascot? No. There is no reason this should have become an issue that started in 1973. This is pointless and should not have been brought up in the news now. Bring it up in 1947 where it could have been taken care of if it was that big of an issue.
Cleveland and the fans of cleveland indians have never deemed this as a racist issue. Never has this been a negative thing for native americans or the city of cleveland. Chief Wahoo has always been a positive thing for cleveland and will remain that forever. Like I said. There is no point to ever have started arguing this or protesting.
I agree! If anything, Cleveland uses this as an opportunity to celebrate the heritage and culture...
If Chief Illiniwek was deemed offensive enough to be removed as the symbol for the University of Illinois, Chief Wahoo can't be far behind.
Change the name to "Red Necks", change the mascot to a tobacco chewing, toothless backwoods idiot named Bubba and the problem is solved. What could be more loveable. Besides, the new name and mascot would be something the fans could really relate to.
Interestingly enough, if their name was changed to "Red Necks" it would be much more incendiary as it is intended to denigrate, whereas "Indians" is offensive to some, but is not intended to be derogatory. Yet, NOONE in the PC crowd would give one flip about anyone being offended by that mascot or your very insensitive and boorish comments. Hypocrisy at its finest.
On subject of the mascot, I believe if a group is offended by having their likeness portrayed by an athletic (or any other type) organization, then I would support that name being changed. But for me, I am quite proud of Notre Dame's "Fighting Irish" mascot.
oh for...you are crazy if you think anyone on the left would Actually support them naming the team the Red Necks
I am not crazy and I did not say anyone on the left would support the name "Red Necks". I said noone would care about the denigration of that particular group of people the term Red Necks portray. I was simply trying to point out the double standard that comes with determining whose feelings are protected against name-calling; the hypocrisy of someone spouting off negative epithats to describe one who uses negative epithats.
The mistake I made was to generalize an entire group of people, that in itself is what I would like for people not to do. Certainly there would be many people on the "Left" opposed to calling others "Red Necks", but I just read SO many so-called liberals spewing vitriol about one very generalized enemy.
First off, "Indian" refers to people who are from India, as opposed to, come to our casino, "Indians" who are correctly called "Native Americans". Secondly, if they were promoting racism with Chief Wahoo, then along with all the other things, bright red skin, a toothy grin, hooked nose and feather headband, they would need to make him a drunk too.
It is just a mascot, but I can understand why it would be offensive to some people. It is a pretty banal stereotypical image representative of an ethnic group, so it is bound to offend that ethnic group in some way. What is truly appalling, tragic, and yet not really surprising, is the behavior of the fans. If anything, is that same behavior that garners the support the protesters need.
People need to get over the political correct bull and get on with life
**sigh** every year. No, it is NOT racist. Racism is the belief that one race is superior or inferior to all others. There is nothing about the Indians name or mascot that implies inferiority.
you want the Indian baseball team to be called the "white people" or "black people"? I bet people like you who think it's not a big deal will burn their town down. It's only racist when it's about white people or black people, it's never racist when about the Indians or the Asians.
Brooklyn/LA Dodgers, New York Knickerbockers, Boston Celtics, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, USC Trojans, Minnesota Vikings, and on and on. All white stereotypes. Its just an excuse to whine,
Rangers, Royals, Yankees, and Pirates have white people in them.
I wonder how many people got offended by the headline. Shouldn't "indians" be "native americans"?
Must be pretty boring in Cleveland if this is making headlines on CNN. They've been there for years. Isn't there some news or something to report on?
"What's the big deal with racism?? Stop being so sensitive!" -white people
I'm from Texas and am really offended that the Houston football team calls itself the "Texans." It is demeaning to me, and has damaged me psychologically. Is there a liberal white lawyer somewhere who would take my case? My father, who worked in the oil field for thirty years, has still not recovered from the last Houston football team, even though they now abide in Tennessee. What is the statute of limitations on this?
The Cleveland Spiders changed their name decades ago to honor the up-to-that-time best player they had ever had, a Native American. The name was one of honor.
I am so tired of the cluelessness of protesters who seem to have nothing better to do, including reading.
"in fact, i'm so tired of it, that i'm going to stop reading articles like this, and posting complaints about them."
Thanks for your wise insight. I had never thought about that. I will now humbly crawl into a cave somewhere and let these things happen. I will never read news again. I appreciate your wonderful advice. I wouldn't have thought of it myself.
That's not true, just a myth you heard that you take as fact....you probably watch Fox News 24-7 as well and believe it as gospel....
Again with the stupidity! The reason people use the animals and the different people groups is because they are respected. Native americans were well known for their bravery and fierce fighting. That is more than I can say for their modern day whiner ancestors. Yes there are still racism issues among all people. we are different with, sometimes very different perspectives. The over sensitivity by every one against only the whities there aren't even that many of them around any more. Almost every race/people group/nationality has had racial issues. tribes in Africa killed each other for this reason and so did the native americans, which is much worser than placing a cartoon of a feared and respected warrior for a mascot. Please have some self respect, dignity and move on.
In order to gain that dignity and respect, they need to be respected. Something that Chief Wahoo makes difficult, wouldn't you agree?
Pretty easy for you to say those things as a white person, eh?
No I wouldn't agree Dave. Respect is taught, taught by parents primarily and, in this day and age of "my religion says, so I don't have to" and "it violates my personal rights so I don't have to", respect isn't being taught very well by most United States parents. That said, Cheif Wahoo is COMIC RELIEF, not intended to be an exact depiction of a Native North Ameircan. With your blatant ignorance, you have offended my common sense (AGAIN, something not being taught by United States parents very well) so, I am about to offend yours....knock it off with the "victimization cries" and come down off the cross; be green and preserve the wood.
How about the images of whites being potrayed as Buccaneers,Raiders,and Pirates?..is that considered racist also?..Not hardly.The Native American tribes should instead be concerned about more important things on their reservations such as extreme poverty,violent crimes,alcoholism,diabetes,and drug abuse.Though not culturally sensitive,Chief Wahoo is not a true threat to the lives of Native American tribes.Too many bigger issues should instead be the focus of these protesters.
Dennis, there are huge differences between "Indians" and groups like "Pirates," Buccaneers," "Raiders," etc. First, these groups you mention are not just limited to white people. Most, if not all, "races" have fulfilled those roles at one point or another, and second, people have a choice to be one of these things. Last time I checked, the Native Americans were not given a choice of their race before they were born. Whether or not the name "Indians" is degrading is one thing. I really don't know which side of the fence I am on. However, it's hard to argue that the mascot itself is insulting. If someone doesn't think so, then let's rename a team the "Clevelanders" and have the mascot be a black, obese, toothless, drunk and see what the people of Cleveland think. And before you cry about how that not how the average Cleveland resident looks, I will say I am aware of that. I'm grossly exaggerating to make a point. If you're ok with a ridiculous mascot for the Indians, then unless you are a hypocrite, you would be ok with my mascot as well.
There have been countless studies on the psychological consequences of Native American mascots. The most prominent have come out of Stanford, and have shown that even though Native American youth say that they have positive associations with mascots, their interviews show decreased self-esteem, devaluing of their community, and they envision less successful future-selves (compared to those who were not shown any images, and compared to those who were shown positive cultural images and pictures from AICF's ad campaign)
The only people who are "affected" by this are white liberals.
And Native Americans? Native Americans are obviously affected by this, as they are the protesters. I am speaking to you as a Native person myself
I know, especially at the end of the story ..they mentioned a persons name,and say a Native ohioan=cmon,Any other time they would have said .. such and such ..a resident of .. or a Native of ,ya know :/
I still dont understand why Native Americans are still referred to as Indians. They are not. Indians are from Asia, (INDIA).
You sound a little possessive over a word there, buddy.
Dave- Indian is an adjective for India, which has nothing to do with Native Americans. And would you like indiscriminate use of the word American to call anyone who's not? Technically, anybody from the two American continents should qualify as American.
As an American I would have no problem with a Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian etc... calling themselves American. They generally would not do this since "American" is synonymous with one from the United States.
Native Americans are called Indians because Columbus thought he had made it to India when he first landed in the new world (unless I was told incorrectly as a child). The name stuck and there it is. I don't think it is going to change, though I wish any one who lived here was simply called "American".
First of all someone please explain to me how using Chief Wahoo as a mascot is " Teaching Your Children Racism" as they put it, am I missing something? What's next PETA comes out and wants a ban against all teams that use animals as mascots? Why don't you idiots put your extra time to a more important cause? Theres plenty of them. Now all 10 of you, take your meds and get back to the mental hospital before they miss you, bed-check is at 8:ooPM!
You're an idiot. If the mascot was a guy in blackface named Jim Crow would that not be racist? It's the exact same thing.
Cheif Wahoo is COMIC RELIEF, not intended to be an exact depiction of a Native North Ameircan. Yet ANOTHER bufoon offending my common sensewith his lack there-of so, I am about to offend his with COMIC RELIEF of this Holiday Season....knock it off with the "victimization cries" and come down off the cross; be green and preserve the wood.
JES the fact that they are using a racial caricature as comic relief is what Makes it racist....this is obvious to anyone with a brain
And here is the irony of all of this: People crying for equality and rights, as if people have value. According to the 'intelligent' people the 'free-thinkers' we are all evolved animals. Suggesting that PETA would have a problem with teams having animals as team names, implies there is a difference between animals and humans. But, according to the smart people, we are all just evolved animals.
"What's next PETA comes out and wants a ban against all teams that use animals as mascots?" Don't worry, I'm sure that's coming.
The logo is bad. They nee a new one.
Who speaks for all the animals who are used?
10 people outside a stadium somehow becomes news.
My thought too. When did 10 protesters become a news worthy story? The fact that someone can be offended by anything does not make news. I am of Irish heritage; should I be offended by the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish or their mascot, the leprechaun? ...and if I am, is that news? Give me a break!
The guy likely dragged these people into doing such insults against him be heckling them himself. It's called "projective identification". It's something that crazy women do who always want to be in a victim role. They'll act like you are something and whine about it so much until they force you to lose your cool and snap back and then the woman would be like, "SEE I TOLD YOU SO!!!". This "man" is nothing more than a woman with borderline personality disorder.
Did you take your meddies today? If you didn`t, do avoid standing near the barbie today.
My point being that if there was only one white dude left on the planet and everyone made fun of him, he wouldn't give a crap. What's up with that?
Well, it's a stupid scenario. That's what's up with that.
let's all join hands and sing kumbaya.
OK, i`m near Sydney. Where can we meet and do I bring a guitar?
Yes,use the guitar as a paddle and make it on over.Try not to offend any of the Polynesians along the way as you navigate to North America in your outrigger canoe.
If there was a professional team called the black skins or the white skins with a cartoon character of their face for a mascott people would be rioting all over the country. Why should it be any different with the Native Americans?
Yeah, the redskins are an offensive term, but not indians. This is about the cleveland indians so don't bring up the Washington Redskins.
Do you seriously not see the connection there?
YEA, like we Irish riot in the streets everyday to protest the Boston Celtics mascot & logo, GIVE IT A BREAK! Some people are still able to look at something like this and put it into perspective that it's not disrespectful or degrading, it's just a logo & mascot, but I guess there are damn few of us left.
Yes, thankfully your breed of ignorance is dying out.
But unfortunately Dave, yours is not.....where is Natural Selection when you need it?!!?
Hey Rexie, hell of a situation we got here, two on, two out, bottom of the ninth, your team down by a run. Chance for you to be a hero on national television, if you don't blow it. By the way, saw your wife last night, hell of a dancer. You must be very, very proud. That guy she was with must have been a close personal friend. But tell me Rexie, what was he doing with her panties on his head?
I have lived in NE Ohio my entire life. I strongly support equality and the end to racism and discrimination.
That said, there is a big part of this matter that isn't being focused on. Having grown up watching the Tribe (also, a great symbol for the community of Cleveland), I can honestly say that I was never lead to believe "Indians" were like Chief Wahoo. As a matter of fact, I always made the distinction between 'Indians' and Native Americans. It's something that many school here in Ohio as a teachable moment. When discussing U.S. History, teachers can point to Cleveland's mascot and discuss how it is simply a characterized representation of something much larger.
I grew up with a tremendous amount of respect for the Native American culture. I am studying to be a music educator and have frequently taught Native American songs, traditions and culture.
The positive ways in which the Indians have influenced my education far outweigh the amount of negativity that the cartoonish character of Chief Wahoo has had on me.
I don't hear anyone complaining about the "Fighting Irish" or "The Celtics", or "The Vikings" or the...oh, well, you get the point.
Yeah cause Celtics, Fightin' Irish, and Vikings are all white. In modern society it is impossible to be racist against white people.
If the team revamped their marketing efforts by creating a brand that looks more professional versus the current caricature they have, perhaps they may get more support. Take FSUs logo for example of the Seminoles. I think it looks very professional and it is embraced. Cleveland's mascot looks childish.
My heritage Irish, and I would find it hilarious if there was a mascot made out of the indigenous peoples of Ireland. And if your comment back is that my family has had many generations between where I have come from and where I live now, well then these American-Indians are four to five generations away from having to deal with the problems of their race. And congrats to the guy in the article who said that "racism is alive and well" the closer to the game because of the people coming from the bars... no duh idiot, drunk people say stupid things.
Um...Ever heard of a team called "The Celtics"?
Your comment goes to show that you have no idea about anything to do with Native Americans. They are still dealing with the effects of the wrongs that were done to them today. They are not five generations removed from anything EXCEPT their lands.
A better question is what will they do with themelves?
Dennis. A better question is what will they do with themelves? Let's see – first force us to forget our languages, embraced Christianity, and cut our hairs. Did we better ourselves? You betta. We have tribal sovereignty and thanks to rich retirees – have successful casinos. Should we do better ourselves? Mmm.
I have been a hard core fan of the Cleveland Indians my entire life, but I truly believe they will never win a World Series until they change their name/mascot. How about the "Rockers"?
Maybe the could be a little more focused with their protests and protest Cleveland's pitching staff.
Disney's Pocahontas was a negative image? How? I found her to be quite hot, myself.
DIsney's Pocahontas was classified as a negative image after the studies were done, based on the outcomes of the studies. At first, she was included as a "positive" image, but it was found that she had the same effect as the mascots (decreased self esteem, negative feelings about their tribal community, less hope for their future).
Come to think of it, looking in the mirror depresses the majority of people!
Fortunately, the rest of the world gets to decide what is important to them, rather than you deciding.
For those who don't see why there is something wrong with it, guess you wouldn't mind a basketball team called, and please excuse me to any one I possibly offend, the Blacks...and have the fans wear black face? Or a hockey team called the Jews, and have their fans wear big noses like those depicted by racists in France in the 1300's? Or a baseball team called the Mexicans, and have their fans walk around with wetback t-shirts? Or a soccer team called the Irish, and give their fans big styrofoam stuffed potatoes to swing around when they score? We could go a step further and call our national volleyball team the Gays, and they can wear pink uniforms with the Stars and Stripes, and the fans can wave big stuffed....well, you get the idea. Wonder how these people would feel? Probably be a riot somewhere huh? But because Native Americans are less than vocal, because they rarely stand up and say anything, people think they're exagerating.
In 2012 we have to let go of stereotypes and racist comments if we are to evolve as a race....a HUMAN race. This country is a melting pot of every possible culture in the world. Respect one another, that's my view. Again, sorry for the terms used in my rant.
I regret to inform you that I find your idea of mutual respect ... boring. It is hereby rejected for lack of lulz.
To the Irish guy who thinks its cool, great! To black people who accept it, excellent! But according to a survey, Native Americans don't and find it offensive. Guess it doesn't matter though, cause as long as Cleveland fans want it, it doesn't matter!
So when other countries call us the great satan, or say we are terrorists, its ok, even though we, as Americans know thats not the message we want to send? Yeah, cause all that matters is that people have the right to do and say what they want, irregardless of whom it insults. Think i'll go dress in black face and drive around Detroit....see if they understand my way of thinking.
cool story Rob. Let's go Tribe! and to the protesters...better luck next year!
Sorry, but your argument is garbage. I'll tell you why. Indians is not a skin color. It is a collection of people. It is no worse than the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame. Calling them Redskins would be offensive though. If people wanna gripe and moan...then go do such in Washington DC.
Lol actually your rebuttle is garbage. Historically the term indian referred to the misconception that Christopher Columbus had landed in India. So the politically correct term for this group of people would either be Native Americans
Speaking as someone who is Irish, if they are going to wave around a big styrofoam potato when the "Irish" score, I for one would be offended; they should wave around a 6 pack and a potato.
Dear Protesters (especially the ugly-looking scarecrow one): You've been doing this since 1973 and nothing's changed. This is nature's way of telling you that IT'S NOT WORKING! You are free to return to a more productive life doing something people actually give a flip about.
To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can't please all of the people, all of the time. They have the Cleveland Plains Dealer. Perhaps they could rename the team the Plainsmen? No, that would probably offend some women! I guess old Abe knew a thing or two.
The Indians should agree to change the mascot and name as soon as they win a World Series. That will satisfy protesters and Wahoo fans....kind of.
Good ol' Abe Lincoln was once a strong supporter of slavery who found out that he could not attain higher office in Illinois if he continued to support slavery. So Honest Abe switched sentiments and his former allies (Booth, et al) swore to kill him and did.
Let us make this a compassionate Easter http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3288140.ece?homepage=true
If anything, it pays tribute to the American Indian heritage that many Americans have forgotten. I don't think anyone views the image of Chief Wahoo as a real representation of American Indians. It's an iconic part of MLB and I hope it stays. I also understand how people may feel it's offensive, but in the end, it's a team name that the people of Cleveland are proud to bear.
Here is a thought....if you don't like the name, buy the team and change the name. The Cleveland Indians have been up for sale on more than one occasion so people that don't like the name have had ample opportunity to take care of it if the issue really is important to them. If you aren't willing to buy the team, then shut up!!!!
The next thing you know, the lions, tigers and bears will be protesting too. I just saw a boat load of vikings making up signs.
Oh, those Norwegian troublemakers!
You all say he is wasting his time and it stupid, but if that mascot was a Cleveland N****er and had a super black face with huge red lips you would all say it's wrong and needs to be changed. Native Americans have had it just as bad if not worse than blacks and there isn't much affirmative action or Native American only colleges. Black people have the NAACP and colleges like Howard University. No one ever cares about us, you continue to hate and live on land that isn't yours.
No, no, no – there's no zing to Cleveland N***ers. That would be more appropriate for, say, New Orleans. The New Orleans N***ers just sounds better. The Toledo W*ps also sort of rolls off the tongue. Or maybe the San Antonio Sp*cs. or Green Bay Gre*sers. You can't just assign any name to any city. It had to "ring".
I don't think one race hates all people any more than yours does.Besides,it is not your land either.It is Gods land or maybe even Mother Natures land.
Your comment is unfounded. There are Native American only colleges. And several organizations that only cater to Native Americans. Wake up and look into these resources. I have used them myself.
i dont care either way, but to suggest that this protest is meritless is silly. the red-skin indian with a goofy face is racist, and so are the washington redskins.
The Cleveland Indians mascot is not racist. The Washington Redskins are an offensive term though (not racist though...as they are redskins). People are stupid and need to learn what racism and racist actually means.
I agree the Cleveland mascot is horribly racist. I refuse to watch when our team plays Cleveland. The mascot needs to be changed. And to those who think the Vikings/Fighting Irish are racist, you can't be racist against the majority people who make the country's rules.
"you can't be racist against the majority people who make the country's rules." Did you really just say that? True racism doesn't care who's in "power". This is the issue we have in America today. Racism has become a business. The Cleveland protestors say the Indian mascot promotes racism in the name of merchandising. How about the other way around? Pushing racism for ratings and votes? Both sides are at fault here. As an Asian, I've seen my share of discrimination. But, I wonder why a white person isn't able to express an opinion without being charged with racism? Because racism is a business...on both sides.
Wow....what an idiot. You can't be racist against the majority? That is like saying black people can't be racist against white people because there are more white people.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot (the bare-knuckle brawling leprechaun) is MUCH more racist than Chief Wahoo.
They probably think they're the 99%. It would make just about as much sense as OWS.
Uness you are a millionaire or have more monetary value,it should matter to you also.
pretty soon PETA will be protesting animals that are mascots and all teams will eventually be colors. so the cleveland browns won't have any issue
It's not named after a color. It was a for a person whose last name is Brown.
Some people have too much time on their hands and a really weird sense of social priorities.
i do not believe that there is anything weird about protesting racist symbols.
The fans in Cleveland dont say nasty things about Indians. They support their team. Let us look at the intent of the name and symbol before you paint it as racist.
The sports fan seems to have nothing better to do than watch, play, keep up with, or bet on his games. As the white women has long and correctly pointed out: BOYS WILL BE BOYS! Unfortunately, few of them grow up or mature into men. From little boys, to big boys, to good ol' boys, to dirty old men, is all they do.
So you are comparing human beings to animals? Speaking of idiots, take a look in the mirror.
Rob, we are animals. Drrrrrr.
I guess that is an accurate description of yourself.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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