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Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

As Charles Krauthammer opined last Fall in the context of a similar controversy over the name of the Washington NFL team:

Redskins and reason
By Charles Krauthammer, Published: October 17

In re the (Washington) Redskins. Should the name be changed?

I don’t like being lectured by sportscasters about ethnic sensitivity. Or advised by the president of the United States about changing team names. Or blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card.

I don’t like the language police ensuring that no one anywhere gives offense to anyone about anything. And I fully credit the claim of Redskins owner Dan Snyder and many passionate fans that they intend no malice or prejudice and that “Redskins” has a proud 80-year history they wish to maintain.

The fact is, however, that words don’t stand still. They evolve.

Fifty years ago the preferred, most respectful term for African Americans was Negro. The word appears 15 times in Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Negro replaced a long list of insulting words in common use during decades of public and legal discrimination.

And then, for complicated historical reasons (having to do with the black power and “black is beautiful” movements), usage changed. The preferred term is now black or African American. With a rare few legacy exceptions, Negro carries an unmistakably patronizing and demeaning tone.

If you were detailing the racial composition of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “Well, to start with, there are 44 Negroes.” If you’d been asleep for 50 years, you might. But upon being informed how the word had changed in nuance, you would stop using it and choose another.

And here’s the key point: You would stop not because of the language police. Not because you might incur a Bob Costas harangue. Not because the president would wag a finger. But simply because the word was tainted, freighted with negative connotations with which you would not want to be associated.

Proof? You wouldn’t even use the word in private, where being harassed for political incorrectness is not an issue.

Similarly, regarding the further racial breakdown of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “And by my count, there are two redskins.” It’s inconceivable, because no matter how the word was used 80 years ago, it carries invidious connotations today.

I know there are surveys that say that most Native Americans aren’t bothered by the word. But that’s not the point. My objection is not rooted in pressure from various minorities or fear of public polls or public scolds.

When I was growing up, I thought “gyp” was simply a synonym for “cheat,” and used it accordingly. It was only when I was an adult that I learned that gyp was short for gypsy. At which point, I stopped using it.

Not because I took a poll of Roma to find out if they were offended. If some mysterious disease had carried away every gypsy on the planet, and there were none left to offend, I still wouldn’t use it.

Why? Simple decency. I wouldn’t want to use a word that defines a people — living or dead, offended or not — in a most demeaning way. It’s a question not of who or how many had their feelings hurt, but of whether you want to associate yourself with a word that, for whatever historical reason having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations.

Years ago, the word “retarded” emerged as the enlightened substitute for such cruel terms as “feeble-minded” or “mongoloid.” Today, however, it is considered a form of denigration, having been replaced by the clumsy but now conventional “developmentally disabled.” There is no particular logic to this evolution. But it’s a social fact. Unless you’re looking to give gratuitous offense, you don’t call someone “retarded.”

Let’s recognize that there are many people of good will for whom “Washington Redskins” contains sentimental and historical attachment — and not an ounce of intended animus. So let’s turn down the temperature. What’s at issue is not high principle but adaptation to a change in linguistic nuance. A close call, though I personally would err on the side of not using the word if others are available.

How about Skins, a contraction already applied to the Washington football team? And that carries a sports connotation, as in skins vs. shirts in pickup basketball.

Choose whatever name you like. But let’s go easy on the other side. We’re not talking Brown v. Board of Education here. There’s no demand that Native Americans man the team’s offensive line. This is a matter of usage — and usage changes. If you shot a remake of 1934’s “The Gay Divorcee,” you’d have to change that title too.

Not because the lady changed but because the word did.

Hail Skins.

12 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Life-long Tribe Fan living in exile in the East on 04/06/2014 at 11:00 AM

Re: “Welshly Arms/Teddy Boys/Dan Miraldi & the Albino Winos

This show was incredible. It made me so very happy to see this kind of world-class rock show come from Local-and-Proud musicians! I danced all night and enjoyed the all-ages crowd full of the best of Cleveland. Easily the best $10 you could spend on entertainment this month. Go see Welshly Arms!

Posted by Bethany L. Costilow on 04/06/2014 at 9:26 AM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

I am a Native American and direct disendent of Chiefs. I find this whole costume depicting leaders of my people racial. I cannot see any pride given to Natives in those photo's. In my heart all that I see is racism. To me, this states that racism lives strong in this great nation.
I myself have served in our military. My father whom was wounded twice in Korea would not say this is acceptable. It should also not be acceptable to any America.
This nation was born of many races and some of those races suffer from the action of hate. We Natives still see and have hate placed upon us. This hate needs to stop and people should hold Native America's with great honors.
Our people enlist and serve this country with question. The Natives were of great benefit to the victory of World War I and World War II. As a group of race, Native have the highest service enlistment. Yet we are honored by such statements.
Also as a race we Native cannot have much of an impact on the political world. So we truly need others to stand up and end such acts upon us. We Native Americans are indeed a minority of America.
I myself have been a victim of racism in schools where I was beaten just because of my race and being left handed. I also faced racism in the military, police academy and as a Lawmen and life in general.
So I would say this to the population of America, please do not accept this as a pride issue, but that of racism in full color. The only way racism and racist acts is by knowing this is truly wrong.
My wish for my grandchildren and my children is to stomp out acts of hate, acts of racism upon a proud people, my people. I would also ask the people, is, How many times must we turn our cheeks to slap in our face.

33 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Bfp on 04/06/2014 at 4:51 AM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

I do not understand the racism, arent they Indians? Seriously this city needs to stand up to bullshit claims like this. It is getting out of hand, you can not take a shit without hurting somebody's feelings

2 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by Gregg Kelley on 04/06/2014 at 2:17 AM

Re: “Ohio Man Cited after Driving a Wheelchair While Intoxicated

I didn't know that driving a wheelchair drunk would result in disorderly conduct. I guess you can chalk that up as my fun new fact of the day.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by AdamHall on 04/06/2014 at 1:31 AM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

When will people learn that anything-face is a horrible idea? I mean, I never heard anyone say, "oh, blackface, what a great idea," or, "oh, redface, what a great idea." Heck, no one even thought that Michael Jackson's whiteface act was a good idea either.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by AdamHall on 04/06/2014 at 1:29 AM

Re: “Invisible PD Editor Debra Adams Simmons to Leave Post

So, she sat up when told to, jumped through all the hoops, and clapped when asked to. As a reward for being a good little circus seal, they threw her a fish and promoted her. Ah, how wonderful. I'm glad she didn't have to do anything like "a good job" in order to be promoted, because the PD is obviously in better position now at the end of her tenure than it was at the beginning.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by AdamHall on 04/06/2014 at 1:22 AM

Re: “Frontier Airlines to Add Six New Nonstop Destinations from Cleveland Hopkins in June

What does "Seasonal" mean? I need a direct route to SEA.

Posted by Barb Morgen on 04/06/2014 at 1:16 AM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

DetroitITheArmpitOfUSA - I haven’t seen the data to which you are referring, so I can't speak to the rates of increase to which you are referring. Obviously things have gotten worse since the arrival of Europeans – that is the whole issue. But even if those problems were getting worse in recent years, it wouldn’t be evidence that people are not trying to address them, or that the people trying to address those problems don’t think their work would be more effective without Chief Wahoo. These are big, long-term problems that might get worse over time even if a lot of people are working hard to improve the situation.

We clearly agree that there are social problems on reservations. What do you think would be an effective way of improving the situation there? Looking at data is one thing, and it has its place. But I would suggest that if you do have a strong opinion about this issue that you try to spend some time on a reservation and get a feel for what you think might improve things. I have a friend who is working on and thinking about the issues, and I think he would say that dignity and basic self-respect are the minimum starting points for solving a lot of these problems. A mocking caricature like Chief Wahoo doesn’t help.

I find it incredible that there is any room for disagreement on this issue when one side might help to improve the circumstances of a group of people who have been through hell, while the other side thinks this is outweighed by their own loss - of a name carrying a level of sentimental value on par with that of other teams in the league represented by birds and even socks of various colors.

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Anonymous on 04/06/2014 at 12:37 AM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

Posts by Anonymous and Shawn Jaworski, I will withdraw my comment that activists are prioritizing their efforts solely on changing a sports team logo rather than trying to fix bigger issues occurring on Indian reservations such as drugs, alcoholism, poverty, etc when you provide me info that these activist are in fact doing both. Since data shows these social issue rates are increasing, I will stand my ground on my comments and say they are only trying to fix something that won't help any of the American Indians social issues by eliminating a major league's team logo.

1 like, 27 dislikes
Posted by DetroitITheArmpitOfUSA on 04/05/2014 at 9:42 PM

Re: “Photos from the Home Opener Anti-Wahoo Protest

The 'People Not Mascots' Logo depicted in these Scene Magazine photo's is meant to be a Native American protest caricature of the racists Chief Wahoo logo of the Cleveland Indians Baseball team. It was originally painted by David Jakupca at the historic ARK in Berea incorporating elements of the Theory of Iceality on Environmental Arts, it has drawn criticism from some sportswriters, fans and local businessmen, but gained immediate acceptance among humanitarian, religious groups and Native Americans. It gained international popular attention when it was it exhibited by ICEA at the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria and has become one of the most recognized anti-racists logo's in existence. It also caused repercussions for the groups connected with using the logo in protest demonstrations and this has been documented in the INTERNECINE MATRIX..
Google Reference Link:
"INTERNECINE MATRIX'

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by enviroarts on 04/05/2014 at 9:10 PM

Re: “35 Photos from the Cleveland Indians' Opening Day

in Slide 4?

Posted by justkidding on 04/05/2014 at 9:04 PM

Re: “20 Musical Memories From the Richfield Coliseum

Frank Oct '74. Tossing M&M's down my girlfriend's dress, and then going in after them

Posted by Tigger on 04/05/2014 at 8:52 PM

Re: “Compelling Love Story at Heart of The Lunchbox, which Opened this Weekend at the Cedar Lee

Oops. Thanks for that correction!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jniesel on 04/05/2014 at 7:46 PM

Re: “Health-Focused Phuel Café to Open in the Heart of Playhouse Square

Really cool! Wish he's open this up all over the city!!!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matt on 04/05/2014 at 6:44 PM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

Well, Cleveland has not looked this bad since a little boy was knocked down for wearing the "wrong" sport team's clothing. Way to go, Rodriguez, you asshole.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Madeline on 04/05/2014 at 5:24 PM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

People just love to define both sides of an argument- badly. It's the American Way.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by FreddieP on 04/05/2014 at 5:15 PM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

The idiot in the redface is just that, an idiot. The thing is that now, we as Native people are speaking up. Keep putting up his picture. Mock him, denigrate him, and show him for what he is simply by showing his picture.

He is a racist idiot. Plain and simple.......

28 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robin Ladue on 04/05/2014 at 5:12 PM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

While I don't agree with some of the tactics used by the pro CHief forces, I do support keeping the Chief Wahoo Logo. It would have been better if a majority of the fans came to the game wearing the "Chief Wahoo" symbol on a cap , shirt, jacket etc., and say nothing but parade by the protesters. That would be keeping it simple and still supporting the Chief. Too much political correctness today. It is a logo period. Get real and tackle more important issues like getting our elected officials to find common ground that is in the best interest of the Nation and not their own political party.

7 likes, 39 dislikes
Posted by Dave Gross on 04/05/2014 at 4:21 PM

Re: “"It's Not Racist!" And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

Beth, many ordinary, everyday occurrences are not enacted or participated in out of hate, yet they are still racist. See: Institutionalized racism. It's funny that you would say that, among all people here; Do you think that historically men HATED women in America and that's why they weren't given the right to vote all those years? I dunno about you and your relationships from the past, but relationships built on hate are uncomfortable and painful. Or, that many legitimatized slavery by saying something like the following: "The slaves are good people, they just don't know any better. It's our duty, nay, the white man's burden, to look out for these lost souls (and coincidentally force them to do free labor for us while we keep them essentially in cages)."

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Beth is an idiot on 04/05/2014 at 4:13 PM

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