Wednesday, March 24, 2010

McBone Nation Divided

Though it's only been up for a day, I admit to being a bit startled when I checked the status of the latest McBone pole.

I was startled because to me it's just seems so obvious.  When I see Chief Wahoo, I see this:

And I see this:

And this:

I think most of us would agree that, nowadays, the above images simply wouldn't fly in a public space. Yet, aside from a few mostly ignored protestors, Chief Wahoo continues get a free pass.  The McBoners are divided in the early going of this poll, and I want to know why.  If you find Chief Wahoo to be an offensive caricature of a Native American, give us your reasons.  To those who find neither the mascot nor the name problematic, feel free to post your rationale.  If you don't feel comfortable with the topic, you can always leave an anonymous comment.




Kid Shay said...

When you said this, I first thought "of course." But I'm not a Clevelander and I've never been one to stick to tradition for tradition's sake. My instincts probably go the opposite of many a Northeast Ohioan.

C.J. said...

I feel that Chief Wahoo is a part of Americana and don't find him offensive at all-- then again, I am also not a native American. I think we are waaaay too politically correct in our culture and hyper-sensitive to every little thing.

Should we change the name of the Cleveland Indians too? If so, at what point does that stop?

We can't even show a nipple on TV, although I did hear that women can be topless in Ohio now-- at least in Athens. That's a pleasant step in the right direction.

To the subject at hand, native Americans are known to be prolific drinkers and genetically have issues with addiction. They have many issues on their reservations today with these issues, which, I am sure could also be linked sociologically.

Traditional mascots, like Chief Wahoo, Chief Illiniwek, Seminole, Redskins, etc. show native Americans in a contrary manner, in many cases, to that in which they exist today. Rather than existing as the top 1% as casino moguls with many others facing their struggles, Indians are to shown as strong, proud, respected warriors.

To me, changing these icons or their team names is to attempt to forget those who preceded us. I certainly don't find them to be anywhere close to the same category as the signs you posted. Let the traditions stand. There are many more important issues to focus on in the world today, such as the United Socialist States of America.

McBone said...


We're going to have a lot to talk about when you come down in May!

Let me put it to you this way: if the team changed its name to the Cleveland Negroes (which I would argue is the cultural equivalent to 'Indians') and adopted the traditional depiction of a black man with exaggerated thick red lips and stupid grin, would you find that offensive? If so, then explain why you have a different reaction to Chief Wahoo.

I'm not sure you're going with your argument. You're saying that Native Americans are portrayed as strong, proud, respected warriors by teams, but that's not what they're like in real life? Yes, Native Americans (as well as a very large percentage of Asians) lack an enzyme that helps most people metabolize alcohol. Yes, some of them own casinos (I don't know why only Native Americans seem to be criticized for owning casinos). Does that mean they're all drunken casino moguls? NO. Most are proud, respectable people who want to be treated as such.

Every year people gather at the ballpark to protest Wahoo. Every year they are given the finger, told to "go back to the casinos" or to "go have another drink." Otherwise they are ignored, except by the very few who agree with them.

Political correctness stems from a sensitivity and cultural awareness that didn't exist before. Are we too sensitive? Maybe sometimes, but I'll take too sensitive over insensitive anyday.

Traditions that suck need to go. Chief Wahoo is one.