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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/22/15

American Indian Mascots and Team Names Need to be Retired and Banned

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* "A smiling Indian, so what? Why is that offensive?"

* "Chief Wahoo - we should get rid of the people who are against having that. That Indian has been around as long as time, as far as I'm concerned. And the people that don't like it? Tell them we'll buy them a ticket out of the country and they can go somewhere else."

* It's probably one of the most recognizable logos in sports in America and it certainly isn't offensive, in the opinion of most."

* "Chief Wahoo has been the face of the Cleveland Indians since their inception, which includes being a charter member of the American League. Why deny generations to come the opportunity to enjoy Chief Wahoo through association, or by probably wearing Chief Wahoo apparel?"

* "There are more important things involving lives of innocent people than to spend so much time worrying about Chief Wahoo. Get a life, please!"

* "Ah, everybody's rallied around the Indians for all these years and now you want to change the mascot? I mean for who and why?"

* "The white man annihilated the American Indians. To use a caricature is really in poor taste."

* "Chief Wahoo is just another rich and hidden gem in our Northeastern Ohio history. He's dotted our cultural, social, and sports landscape for nearly a century."

* "...Imagine a team of a team named the Cleveland Jews and it had a caricature with big nose. Or named it the Cleveland Chinamen and it was a caricature with buck teeth or an Irishman with potatoes. Nobody would stand for those kind of caricatures, yet we still have Chief Wahoo."

Most of the responses were by people who wanted to keep Chief Wahoo. And although nobody on the voice stream provided much biographical information about themselves, one guy mentioned he was "part Cherokee" and added he was all for keeping the name. From the sounds of the voices, the tones of the comments, along with the vitriol coughed-up by these callers, I doubt if many of the responders were Indians or had any Indian blood flowing through their veins. Most sounded as white at George Custer.

I have a friend who is an Italian-American lady and we were talking a few days ago about American Indian team names and mascots. I told her that I'd attended the Cleveland Indians home opener - not really the game, but I drove to Cleveland and spent some time around Progressive Field on April 10. She said that she'd never really given the issue of Indian mascots and team names much thought, but I remember her saying that if there was a team with a mascot of a big, fat, Italian fellow with a big nose, an apron, a white chef's hat, and a round pizza in his hand, she probably wouldn't like it much.

"But I guess some of us wouldn't mind. Some might find some pride in it all," she laughed. "Why pick on the Indians?"

The Indian team names and mascots seem to be an impetus for a proliferation of hack sportswriters putting headlines like "Cowboys Slaughter the Redskins," or "Little Man is Big Chief in Wigwam". And what's worse, even company marquees in front of restaurants having racist rhetoric before a big game, along busy thoroughfares, is deplorable. Are we still living in the Dark Ages? In a sophisticated and democratic society, are we to tolerate this form of injustice?

In an online article, "The 2,128 Native American Mascots People Aren't Talking About," writer Hayley Munguia writes in that it's unfair that American society has come down very hard on "the big five" professional sports teams - and the Washington R$d$k$ns, in particular, while "we've overlooked thousands of team names and mascots depicting Native Americans, often stereotypically. These teams are not feeling the kind of pressure that Snyder is. To understand the Washington Redskins, we have to understand the Estelline Redmen, the Natick Redmen, and the Molalla Indians, too."

"Some 92 percent of those 2,129 team names belong to high schools (the rest were college, semi-pro, pro and amateur league teams). Of all the active high schools in the database, 8.2 percent have Native American team names," Munguia writes.

The worst genocide in world history didn't occur in Hitler's Germany or even in Stalin's Russia, but right here on American soil. Whether we want to admit it or not, we as a white race stole this land from the Indians. It was their land. Many of them are still very upset about all this. And like Ian Washburn said in the ICTMN video, having all these Indian team names and mascots is a celebration of our manifest destiny and the genocide of this innocent race of people. Why can't we just leave them alone?

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Samuel Vargo worked as a full-time reporter and editor for more than 20 years at a number of daily newspapers and business journals. He was also an adjunct English professor at colleges and universities in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi (more...)

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