The Indians Logo, Chief Wahoo, Is Not Racist

I once went to one of those Indian pow-wow deals when I was in high school.  I was wearing a Cleveland Indians ballcap and never realized it meant anything until we left when I mentioned to the friends I was with that the people seemed rude and cold toward me.  It was then brought to my attention that I had Chief Wahoo on my head.  Obviously, I may have offended some of the people participating.  I did not do it intentionally and nobody asked me to remove the hat or to leave.   

I do not feel that the artwork on the current Indians logo is racially offensive.  I have a friend who is part Sioux who I asked (he is an Indians fan).  He explained to me that Redskins is much more offensive because it is a generalization that stereotypes skin color.  Without getting too controversial, many races would go nuts over a team name that did that. 

A few more things to ponder:

  • While growing up I played Cowboys and Indians.  Nobody corrected me saying it was wrong, so I kept playing.
  • I was raised to believe that Thanksgiving was a holiday that the Pilgrims celebrated with their friends, the Indians who occupied their fair share of the land.  Kids in schoold still make head dresses out of construction paper this time of the year.  If that would seem racially offensive, I’m sure schools would halt the gestures.
  • Indians had more controversy with each other than with the early English settlers.  Had they banded together, history would surely be different in a few ways.

Bottom Line:  I am sorry to all people that this logo offends.  I have spoken with a few Native Americans about it over time and they say the minority cries about it.  Most are not offended and could care less.  I am also sure that over the next twenty or so years that the logo will be changed because a new politician from Oklahoma will feel he is doing his job by creating new laws about racially insensitive sports names.

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Tags: Chief Wahoo Cleveland Indians Indians MLB Logos Racial Sioux

  • Nate

    Just going over a few points on your post:

    -So the name “Redskins” stereotypes skin color, but Chief Wahoo’s flamboyantly red skin does not?

    -Playing cowboys and Indians as a child has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    -History lessons at school taught you that Pilgrims and Indians shared the first Thanksgiving together. Did it also tell you that white colonists also, through disease and genocide, came damned close to making native populations extinct in this country? So do you think it might be time to reconsider the merit of you history lessons?

    -This point is so ludicrous I don’t even know what to say. White settlers and, later, the US government systematically wiped out and marginalized our native populations. Whites took the land and oh so generously parceled out the land nobody wanted for the Native Americans.

    Bottom Line: Chief Wahoo is a relic from days when it was still reasonably acceptable to caricature minority groups with grotesque drawings. He was, is, and will always be racist.