The Cleveland Indians came to a decision to renounce their popular Chief Wahoo uniform logo beginning in 2019.
There may be many questions asked concerning the logo such as “Why the sudden change?” or “What is so wrong with the Chief Wahoo uniform logo?” To add some clarity to the confusion, “the logo has been the source of anguish and frustration for those who consider it offensive, outdated and racist,” according to The New York Times.
“Chief Wahoo, a cartoonish caricature of a Native American that has assumed several forms over the years, first appeared on the Indians’ uniforms in 1948,” according to The New York Times. To elaborate, the Chief Wahoo logo has been used for the past 70 years which indicates that Cleveland Chief Indians did not acknowledge how discrediting it is toward Native Americans and their history of bloodshed.
Like the Cleveland Indians, Shippensburg University’s original sports team’s logo “Red Raiders” was established in the 1930s before the notion of offending a culture became relevant. It was not until the 1950s when the misconceptions of Native Americans surfaced in history but years later, the university committee chose to drop the offensive logo to avoid the backlash but continued to use “Red Raiders” as the university sports names.
The use of the “red” term is how Europeans distinguished Native Americans from different cultures which is why it is viewed as offensive and disrespectful to continue to use the terms as logos. Mocking a culture by wearing the parts of their history on the chests of sports team players is the perfect example of how assumingly acceptable it is when it is by no means unacceptable.
The argument at hand is should the sports teams like The Cleveland Indians and Shippensburg Raiders keep the uniform logo despite of the controversy and history behind the logo which is sports teams robbing Native Americans of their heritage like the Europeans did their land. The blame should not be put on the people of the modern-day sports teams for naming the sports teams and using inappropriate logos but what needs to happen is the conversation about continuing to use the logos is OK or not.
Most may not see the racism in the Native American logos and names but it is in fact, racist. No one has the right to take away a culture and use for monetary gain like it does not matter. The Native Americans and their culture matters just as much as any other culture but the fact that people chose to discredit the culture as if they have not already been through enough adds insult to injury.
Every sport team and fan should question if continuing to use the logo is acceptable. There are many sports teams that continue to use the names such as The Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and Red Raiders football team since modern-day people created its own heritage out of it. The question that should be asked is a heritage tainted with racism worth keeping?