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Orville Reginbacher

After the Washington Redskins Matter, Should Chief Wahoo Go?

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Recently it was announced that the US Patent Office cancelled the Washington Redskins' (an American football, not soccer, team) because the term Redskins was offensive to Native Americans.  The term Redskin is a racially/color related term that is usually disparaging, and used to describe Native Americans.  Source  There are strong feels on both sides, making some ask whether we are becoming too politically correct, what the role of tradition and the free market should be, and whether we should care whether we offend someone else or not.

 

In Cleveland, Ohio, USA, where I live, we have a baseball team called the Indians, and our mascot has always been Chief Wahoo.  Here is what the Logo looks like today:

 

 

IMAGE (because it won't let me post it)

 

The large sign on the left is now gone from the field, but the mascot on the right still remains.  This is a largely stereotypical depiction of a Native American.  Some say it is not that much different from these images, which are almost universally considered to be unquestionably offensive:

 

Black Cartoon Image

 

Japanese Cartoon Image

 

Black Cartoon Image 2

 

 

So, the question is, should Chief Wahoo go.

 

I'd say yes.  There is, practically, no logical difference between Chief Wahoo's stereotypical characteristics and those of other cartoons and images that are considered to be highly offensive and, ultimately, racist.  The only real argument I have been hearing from others is that it is "tradition" and we shouldn't change "tradition."

 

If "tradition" were a good enough reason in and of itself to keep something around, then fraternities should still haze, we could still encourage slavery in America, and black people would still be considered 3/5ths of a person as they were originally considered under the United States Constitution, because changing those things would be taboo or would harm tradition.  Tradition, in and of itself, is not a valid reason to maintain the status quo, and it is not an inherently good thing.

 

I have also heard opponents say "the native americans don't really care, they aren't out there protesting all the time."  Two things.  First, some of them are out there protesting at the games.  Second, we as a country did our best to kill most Native Americans off and push the remaining population into small reservations far away from Cleveland, Ohio.  That may have some impact on that.

 

However, doing something simple--getting rid of Chief Wahoo so as to not to offend a group of people that we have practically killed off with guns, alcohol, wars, and small pox blankets, and who we forced to relocate to small reservations in the Western US where no one really wants to live--that is an inherently good thing.  

 

It will be appreciated by a large portion of the Native American community, and it will teach out children a valuable lesson in the future--yes you have free speech, but your speech can be very harmful and can hurt people, and you should understand circumstances that surround something before you talk, draw, etc. about it.  There is something inherently good about understanding, compassion, and respect.  There is nothing inherently good about Chief Wahoo, tradition, or racial stereotypes.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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I'm a Steelers fan myself, so the Redskins have always been irrelevant in my eyes. I do understand why the Native population would consider it offensive though. The thing is, I don't understand why everyone gets so upset about terms that have been used in the past and present. They're words and the only time they have any weight is when you allow them to upset you. Should Cheif Wahoo go? I don't think so. If that's the case, then so should the Braves. I mean their chant is a tomahawk chop, when it's clearly known that Indians that lived in the south were fond of clubs and not tomahawks. I'm descended from Irish immigrants, but you don't see me getting all upset when every jackass and their brother runs around retarded on St. Patrick's Day, or about the Notre Dame leprechaun mascot, I embrace everything about it, even the stereotypes. Sure the Natives got a raw deal, but just like anyone else that breathes, they could've done more to prevent their own demise. If they're changing names to not offend anyone anymore, then I'm suing the Cracker Barrel for their racist name and sign. An old white guy sitting by a barrel? Come on. If that sounds stupid, it's because it is. Just like changing names of anything else that's been tolerated for decades. Only because the black community cries all the time about being treated unfairly, which by the way is complete and total bull, I mean come on, the president is black, several government officials are black, law enforcement and military members are black, what the hell isn't fair anymore? I think that American's as a whole should stop getting so damn butt hurt about things that really don't matter. Wow they're changing the name of the Redskins and guess what? While we're all discussing that, more people are being sent back to Iraq to help an army that won't do the job themselves. I personally helped liberate Fallujah TWICE, and now the opposition has it again. Lost many good friends and some family and this is how the Iraqi government returns the favor? They abandon the field? All of this about football is a diversion tactic so they can do what they want with impunity because we all know that in America, the NFL is wayyy more important than what's going on in the rest of the world.

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I'm a Steelers fan myself, so the Redskins have always been irrelevant in my eyes. I do understand why the Native population would consider it offensive though. The thing is, I don't understand why everyone gets so upset about terms that have been used in the past and present. They're words and the only time they have any weight is when you allow them to upset you. Should Cheif Wahoo go? I don't think so. If that's the case, then so should the Braves. I mean their chant is a tomahawk chop, when it's clearly known that Indians that lived in the south were fond of clubs and not tomahawks. I'm descended from Irish immigrants, but you don't see me getting all upset when every jackass and their brother runs around retarded on St. Patrick's Day, or about the Notre Dame leprechaun mascot, I embrace everything about it, even the stereotypes. Sure the Natives got a raw deal, but just like anyone else that breathes, they could've done more to prevent their own demise. If they're changing names to not offend anyone anymore, then I'm suing the Cracker Barrel for their racist name and sign. An old white guy sitting by a barrel? Come on. If that sounds stupid, it's because it is. Just like changing names of anything else that's been tolerated for decades. Only because the black community cries all the time about being treated unfairly, which by the way is complete and total bull, I mean come on, the president is black, several government officials are black, law enforcement and military members are black, what the hell isn't fair anymore? I think that American's as a whole should stop getting so damn butt hurt about things that really don't matter. Wow they're changing the name of the Redskins and guess what? While we're all discussing that, more people are being sent back to Iraq to help an army that won't do the job themselves. I personally helped liberate Fallujah TWICE, and now the opposition has it again. Lost many good friends and some family and this is how the Iraqi government returns the favor? They abandon the field? All of this about football is a diversion tactic so they can do what they want with impunity because we all know that in America, the NFL is wayyy more important than what's going on in the rest of the world.

 

Just to be clear, the Redskins thing has been in the work for some time now, well before ISIS began its current surge.  While I do believe we have "Wag the Dog" scenarios in modern politics (like the IRS email deletion), this isn't one of them.

 

Depending on where you are, some racial minorities still get a raw deal.  I'm a lawyer, and I got to know one person who, when she started working for a company, was the only black employee there, out of 30, in a diverse area, and no special degree or training was required.  Daily there would be other employees singing slave songs as they walked by her location, supervisors would punish her for alleged violations while leaving white employees alone.  This even though she was the best performing employee of this company, nationally (we had proof, i.e. an award from the company for this).  She reported the discrimination, and was fired less than two weeks later, just after receiving the national award.  You stand up to it, and you get punished by some folks for doing so.  When oppressed peoples stand up to it, they are criticized for whining, or being too soft, or having no sense of humor, or being a complainer and insubordinate.  

 

I won't comment about you being a Steelers fan because I read the debate rules and couldn't do so within the confines of the rules.  :-P  Needless to say, my money is on the Browns winning the opening game.

 

I could see a distinction between Redskins and Chief Wahoo.  Maybe Redskins, as a name, is more akin to using a racial slur, because it is a racial slur, while Chief Wahoo is just a caricature, which has always been a kind of humor, less mean spirited.  It would be inappropriate for some professional sports team in San Francisco being called the "Chinamen," or Detroit Tigers being the Detroit [insert your slur here] (either due to a high arab population in Dearborn, MI or large amount of african americans living in Detroit).  I would put Redksins on the same footing as a slur.  Chief Wahoo on the other hand is a character, like Mickey Mouse, that has never been meanspirited or slur-related thing.

 

At the same time, people are offended, and do we really need it?  I say no, we don't.

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Ewww, Browns. Sure in some areas minorities, depending on what you define as a minority, surely get treated differently. I'm from the southern US, and the history here hasn't been great as far as race relations. Sure Redskins is offensive, but once you open that can of worms, what's next? I mean Cincinnati Reds, is basically the same thing. The Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, they should be forced to give up their patents also. The Cracker Barrel should change their name because it's offensive. I mean I can't start a restaurant and call it the Spade Bucket or Gook Spoon. It's the same principle, the only difference is white people aren't considered as important when it comes to hurting feelings. I don't think any of it should be changed because I believe it's retarded. Yes, I know the Redskins thing has been going on for years, I remember seeing Diane Sawyer interviewing some Indian and he had some good points. We wouldn't tolerate a team called the Alabama Negroes that whenever they scored everyone stood up and did a watermelon chop. His words, not mine, still pretty funny though. When it comes to pro sport teams, the owners spend their money on it, we're allowed free speech, and I personally think they should be able to do whatever they want. If it's rejected by a majority of Americans it will only hurt the owners pockets so in effect they're doing it to themselves. People are just too hung up on being PC these days and the more PC we become, the less freedoms we have.

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I can see how it can be offensive, but at the same time it's something that's been used for a long time. So I'm a bit indifferent on that issue.

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This ad pretty much says it all for me

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