Thursday, October 18, 2007

Offensive? I'll Show You Offensive

Well, here we go again with the Chief Wahoo thing. Okay, let's stipulate that the Chief is a racist stereotype and should go. Really, he should. But you know what else needs to go? The constant denigration of this city and the people who live here that's been going on for more than a generation, and that's caused a hell of a lot more damage than some stupid cartoon character ever did.

Cleveland's a joke, huh? Well, we've stopped laughing. It's time to go on the offensive.

Folks, you are jackasses, pure and simple. You nitwits focus on some dumb logo and make the people of Cleveland out to be bad guys because of their sentimental attachment to it. Yup, we're all racist rubes here in funny, dirty, run-down old Cleveland. We can't hold a candle to more enlightened cities like New York or Boston, who've always led the way when it comes to matters of race.

Never mind that the Cleveland Browns kicked everybody's asses for years largely because they were actively signing players on the basis of talent instead of skin color, or that the Cleveland Indians were the first American League team to have an African-American player, and the first MLB team to hire an African-American manager, or that the Cleveland Cavaliers were the first NBA team with an African-American CEO, or that Cleveland was the first major American city to elect an African-American mayor.

We never hear anything about any of that. Instead, we get the stupid logo thrown in our face. What kills me, of course, is that the Tribe's opponent in this series is the freaking poster child for racism in sports. I know we were all supposed to blame Boston's 80 year title drought on a charming fable that they like to call "The Curse of the Bambino." Of course, the real explanation has a lot less to do with Harry Frazee and Babe Ruth and a lot more to do with the Tom Yawkey and his aversion to black ballplayers, doesn't it?

You heard quite a bit about the Curse of the Bambino back in 2004, but I don't recall anyone taking the time to discuss the racism part of the story, although it was out there for all to see. People just preferred not to focus on it. Of course, that's not the case when the city in question is a benighted place like Cleveland, Ohio, where the media ignores all achievements and puts every shortcoming under a microscope.

Enjoy your moral orgasm, America. Then go piss up a rope.


Erik said...

I could personally take or leave Chief Wahoo. It's the baseball logo I grew up with, so I do have a bit of an attachment. But sports teams change logos all the time, so if the Indians decided to drop Wahoo tomorrow, I wouldn't throw a hissy fit.

What the protestors have found is a sort of pariah in Wahoo, a famous stereotype that serves (at least in their minds) as a representation of years of Native American oppression at the hands of whites.

I think the main problem is that Wahoo crosses racial lines, a white man's depiction of another race. That's the line in the sand when it comes to acceptable stereotyping.

This is why you don't see people protest the Notre Dame leprechaun-man, which if anyone wants to read their history books, actually has its roots in negative ethnic typecasting far more than Wahoo.

The Notre Dame sports teams are called the Fighting Irish, the story goes, because a newspaper reporter once saw the football team play, and thought their aggressive style of play recalled drunk, brawling Irishmen.

But the Notre Dame mascot depicts a white man, so no one thinks about oppression and stereotyping, even though the Irish were pretty much viewed as vermin in 19th-century Boston.

In other words, the concept of "Fighting Irish" is not flattering in origin.

I'm not going to be like the loud oafs that give mocking war whoops to Wahoo protestors outside of Jacobs Field. If you think the logo is racist and insensitive, then it is to you. In fact, I have far more respect for the people who protest that logo year-round than the bleeding-heart wannabes who are picking up the story simply because the Tribe is in the spotlight, making Wahoo an easy target.

I jsut wish that the people who view Wahoo as abhorrent would go after the Braves' tomahawk, the Notre Dame leprechaun and the Washington Redskins' nickname with equal verve.

(Sorry. I probably just would have posted this to my blog if I would known it was going to be this long.)

CTownfan said...

Great article and comment.. definitely didn't know that about the Fighting Irish...

I've always said, "Once our nation's capital changes its name from the "Redskins" maybe we'll change our Chief Wahoo!!!"

Until then, I want 5 just like him!!