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Let’s lose offensive mascots

Published: Thu, December 3, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Let’s lose offensive mascots


I wanted to applaud The Vindicator for printing an editorial from the Los Angeles Times, “‘Redskins’ is wrong” on the Nov. 28 editorial page that culminated with the line, “The Washington franchise’s name is an embarrassment to the Nation’s capital and a blight on the NFL.” Likewise, our beloved Chief Wahoo is an embarrassment to Northeast Ohio.

I was born and raised in Boardman and proudly donned my Chief Wahoo hat for years. I bought into the excuse that the disfigured caricature and name actually honored Louis Sockalexis, an member of the Penobscot tribe who played for Cleveland for two years. As professor Kimberly Roppolo states in her essay “Symbolic Racism, History, and Reality: The Real Problem With Indian Mascots”: “I realize that many people see no problem with the use of American Indians as sports mascots ... we are in a day and age where racial tolerance and tolerance for all kinds of diversity have increased. But this is not the case with racism against American Indians, largely so ingrained in the American consciousness that it is invisible.”

What began as belittling Native Americans to cover up national guilt has become mindless racism we associate with entertainment — that I, a 23-year-old Caucasian girl, associated with trips to Jacobs Field with my father. We must demand sports teams stop brainwashing our children to associate blind hate with family and tradition. Revert to an old name: the Cleveland Blues, Cleveland Spiders, Cleveland Naps. Transition to a “C” logo on the hats and uniforms. Do something before we are known as the Cleveland Racists.




1umpire7586(4 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I think there is way too much made of the use of nicknames for sporting teams. I do agree that the team "Redskins" is wrong but as for Chief Wahoo, a friendly cartoon face that is loved by children and adults I do not agree. You do not see Irish people complaining about the "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame and their mascot, and the Seminole Indians approve the costume of the mascot at Florida State. The Chippewas have no problem with Central Michigan.
The use of a native American group in many cases does honor that particular group. Many of the mascots are based on actual members dress and styles, just as the Mountaineer in West Virginia with his rifle is a part of their sports tradition and is considered one of the highest honors to be chosen to be "The Mountaineer."
Enjoy these mascots for what they are, symbols of respect in most all cases. Change the ones that are not, I agree, but not all.

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2FormerYtowner(96 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Simple solution...quit watching sports. Screwball.

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3ojanet22(134 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Just because someone expresses an opinion that is different from yours doesn't make them a nut job or a screwball. How about some intelligent debate, people?

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4Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

They are nothing but a team name and a mascot, nothing more nothing less. The Redskins have been around since 1933 and the Indians since 1914, back then people could've cared less. But of course nowadays everything is politically incorrect. Why is that? Did someone just have nothing better to do then start on sport mascots. In 2004, a poll showed that 91% of American Indians found the redskins name acceptable. 91%! Whatever happened going to a sporting event and just enjoying yourself, there is no harm in mascots or names, it's for entertainment purposes only. Why does everything have to be such a major issue. Americans have had a history of "playing Indian" that dates back to at least the 1700s, but in today's society everyone has to complain. Unreal. Just go to the games and enjoy it, don't make more of it then what it is...geez.

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5eebee(13 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Mascots that are racial stereotypes are racist and should be eliminated. Wahoo is a caricature of a group of people. Get rid of it. I don't care how "beloved" it is to children. I hope we are a little more enlightened to how demeaning these mascots are than people were in 1914 or the 1700s.

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6Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

If 91% of American Indians have no problems with it, then why do you? Are you a American Indian? What is it that bothers you so much about it? If I brought a company for millions of dollars that included a trademark logo that was well known around the world, that is my right. Why is everything always racist? Were talking about a mascot, isn't there more important things in life to worry about and protest about then a mascot? We really need to get our priorities straight when we have to say a mascot is racist.
*mascot : a person, animal or object believed to bring good luck. Thats all it is.

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7BIGAL4REAL(8 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

oooooh i'm soooooo ofended. Such nonsense !

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8Courtney(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The difference is that we're talking about ethnic groups. Teams would never get away with calling themselves the Boston Blacks or the Jersey Jews. It just wouldn't be allowed Why is it allowed for Native Americans? A Mountaineer is not an ethnic group and not offensive. The very word "Redskins" is offensive and was created to demean another group of people. There is no honor in that word, likewise for a team calling themselves the Savages. Find the honor in that. Comparing them to animals like the Lions or Penguins is ridiculous. It's absolutely not the same thing and shouldn't even need to be addressed.

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9FormerYtowner(96 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I heard the Browns and Reds are being forced to change their names too. The oranges, pinks, blues, and purples are feeling left out and a lawsuit is pending.

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10steeltown(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah! Let's just tell them, "We don't care if you're offended by our mascots! We're honoring you whether you like it or not! We only took your land and murdered your ancestors, but now we want to honor you through our materialism that mocks your traditions and ruins your land!"

For real, Youngstown. No wonder we can't get people to move here...

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11Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Political correctness should not impede the right to free speech. A sports team should be able to call themselves whatever they want no matter who doesn't like it, especially if the owner paid billions of dollars for that trademark/logo. (which all it is, is a trademark and logo, not history 101) For crying out loud, its a sports team.
It amazes me that people talk about history and such when the naming of the team had nothing to do with that, it's a sports name and mascot, nothing more nothing less.

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12Courtney(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

But the word Irish isn't offensive. Redskins is. When you say that no one uses the term anymore, you're mistaken. It is still used in a cruel way in some areas of the country. I agree that most people won't see a silly mascot in fake regalia and then see the word 'savages' and make the connection that Native Americans must be savages. It's does bring up negative feelings for Native Americans though and that is why it matters and must be changed. There are many ethnic groups and stereotypes that could be used as team mascots but they aren't. It would be obviously unacceptable. I don't get why we accept it for Native Americans just because of tradition.

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13steeltown(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree Courtney. How come we get freedom of speech but offended Native American's don't? Also, the mascot is a just metaphor for the deeper truth: America can never admit that what it did to the Native American's was wrong. The mascot issue is just a buffer, a way for the government to subconciously control how Americans feel about Native Americans: we romanticize the people our country ethnically cleansed. Instead of facing this charge, our govenrment instead wants citizens to feel like we are in fact ironically "honoring" Native Americans thought exploiting them and making money off of a distorted view of their culture. And Native Americans do NOT like Chief Wahoo: see this article from 1995. The Supreme Court wouldn't even listen to them.

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14Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Unbelievable, now mascots are a government conspiracy? Come on, you really can't be serious.

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15woolyd(579 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Rancho Cucamonga Cracker Killers

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16CR32(1 comment)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, the amount of people that are just willing to accept that things should stay the way they are because they always have been is sad. Hey, she brings up a good point, and anyone that says they wouldn't be offended if their heritage was being represented in this way is either lying, or disgustingly apathetic. What is just entertainment for some is an incessant mockery for others. And, just because 91% of people say they're okay with something, doesn't make it right.


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17Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

How exactly is it a mockery? It's a team mascot. It has absolutely nothing to do with the history of native americans, nothing. It's a nickname for a sports franchise, no more no less. I could see if they named the team out of spite, but they didn't, they named the team the Redskins and it was intended to honor the bravery and dignity of Native Americans,regardless of past usage, the word "redskins" today refers to the football team. And if my company was valued at around $1.55 billion for a company I owned that came with a popular worldwide logo/trademark, that everyone knew, I would have that right to keep it the same as what people perceive as just a nickname for a FOOTBALL team. That's all. It's a football team, not some company that is trying to downgrade native Americans or try to be politically incorrect. It's a MASCOT. geez....

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18hellothere(9 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Only if a small percentage of people are offended by Chief Wahoo thats reason enough for changing it to one that is inoffensive. I think Chief Wahoo is popular because its one of the last racist caricatures being used in popular media. Its hard to let go of the past but the Wahoo can no longer be seen as an inoffensive cartoon depicting a Native American its a racist caricature.

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