Retire Chief Wahoo

Submitted by bart on Sun, 10/23/2016 - 19:33

I grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. Willie Stargell and the lumber company. I never really thought about pirates out of the context of being the team's mascot/logo. I never watched pirate movies on TV. Peter Pan or the Goonies is about as close as it comes to me and my interest in pirates.

In the '90's I moved to Cleveland and started following the Indians. Chief Wahoo was not something that mattered too much to me. It seemed an odd caricature to honor the strength and power of Native Americans. The bright red skin and large hooked nose seemed strange, but it was "historical".

My high school mascot was also the indians. But those indians were always depicted as strong, fierce competitors. Caricatures, by definition, exaggerate what the creator sees. Chief Wahoo has over exaggerated red skin, a large hooked nose, and a shit-eating grin. Nothing about this caricature shows that we value and honor Native Americans.

Native people are still marginalized. Alcoholism and suicide is running rampant on reservations. We've become so far removed from the native people that it's okay to make them into caricatures for our sports teams.

It's time for Chief Wahoo to retire, and someday the use of "Indians" as a mascot will just be footnote in the history of social justice.