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Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Waiting to Whitewash WahooThe only thing worse than having the racist visage of Chief Wahoo staring down at you as you drive around the Indians' spring training facility is having the racist visage of Chief Wahoo staring down at you as you drive around what is no longer the Indians' spring training facility:
The face of Chief Wahoo, a symbol of the departed Cleveland Indians baseball team, will continue to smile down on Winter Haven - at least for the remainder of the city's current budget year.
Put this in the "causes I'd donate money to if I were rich" pile.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:15am
You SHOULD use more folksy slang online…‘dern it. It makes people seem less implacable.
Peace out to you as well.
Posted 03/11 at 08:41 PM
Michael Kelso said...
Careful not to fall off that water tower.
Posted 03/11 at 09:43 PM
The Common Man said...
Dammit. I go away for one freaking day and all Hell breaks loose. Craig, can you time your “controversial” posts to coincide with days when I’m not traveling?
Dude, I love you. Seriously. But just because certain Native Americans have chosen to exploit their (or other tribes’) traditions to make a little dough does not mean that all Native Americans are fair game for cynical appropriation and mocking. I think it’s easy to forget that that, when we talk about Native Americans, we’re talking about dozens upon dozens of different peoples who have been lumped together because Americans were (and still are) too damn lazy to figure out the different nuances between groups they don’t fully understand but that seem similar. My Iroquois are not your Cherokee are not Craig’s Sioux. So just because you wandered onto a reservation and paid for a show doesn’t mean that other Native Americans’ visages and traditions are up for grabs. The upshot is, with respect, I don’t think your point has any merit. (I should also point out that we don’t know much about the context in which these dances are performed and the dancers’ motivation. There’s a big deal between performing for the tourists and promoting cultural exchange, though I’m not sure how one would legitimately differentiate between the two.)
My two cents on the general issue is this: Chief Wahoo is a blatant caricature of Native American appearance. It mocks many peoples and is not based in their own representations of themselves. As such, it is a symbol of past racism, continues to promote a hurtful stereotype. And it should be eliminated because, dude, why would anyone want to keep doing something that makes other people to feel bad (especially when, as in this case, it doesn’t benefit them)? A tasteful C or I or, I dunno, something that doesn’t look like the Indians in a Bugs Bunny cartoon who could only say “how” would be nice.
Posted 03/12 at 02:33 AM
Chris H. said...
Ron: which question was that? You’ve asked several, and I’ve seen several good responses, but if there’s a particular one you’d like addressed, say the word and I’ll be all over it.
You say that most people bring issues like this up to further some agenda. I don’t have any agenda to further, other than I consider the logo racist and offensive.
Posted 03/12 at 08:56 AM
Sorry, I got the wrong name. You weren’t the one I was referring to.
My apologies for the confusion.
Posted 03/12 at 09:58 AM
Jeff Mathews said...
Yes, that’s what I’m saying: Chief Wahoo is as offensive as a golliwog. As a grossly exaggerated caricature of an AmerIndian, it is as insulting to Native Americans as an actual golliwog is to people of African descent. Using that term to describe Chief Wahoo is not disrespectful; the team’s use of him as a mascot is.
“Also, Dude, “Chinaman” is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.”
Posted 03/12 at 05:59 PM