mathematical 
Member since Apr 29, 2012

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Re: “The Curse of Chief Wahoo

Racism is a slippery topic so let's slide for a bit.

One of the first arguments I want to address is the 'Get Thicker Skin' argument. First, telling one to get thicker skin is not a denial of the implicit racism of Chief Wahoo. In fact, it's an admission of guilt. It IS a racist emblem (it characterizes an entire group of people in a demeaning way). I understand there's some super rich history that associated with the club and the game it plays but I still stand unimpressed. The association with the logo is racism—and everything associated with it. It doesn't take a liberal to see that. It takes one with eyes and a very basic understanding of our shared history in the United States.

The next argument is in regard to the anecdotes: "My friend Mary is the daughter of a Native American Chief and she said that this is just a blip on the radar and says we should keep it.," or even better, "I'm half Sioux! I don't' care about this!" That's nice. Once again though, this is a denial of the evidence that stands before you, crystal clear. I understand that it's hard to change and your good hearted intentions are being misconstrued but the logo is racist. The only way to eliminate the problem of racism from the logo is through it being dropped. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter that your friend Mary is the daughter of a Native American chief. What matters in the principle behind the logo. And once again, seeing if it's "clear" from a minority buddy does not wipe the racism away from the logo. It only further smears the stain of it.

And quick note: just because the organization decided to desegregate does not mean the logo can't be racist. That's a strange tie in and quite frankly doesn't hold water.

Being white myself, I understand why one might want to try and just ignore the overt racism. It's kind of hard knowing that my forefathers perpetuated the hate and ignorance that led to such symbols. Leaving them intact and branding them as innocent is a convenient way of glossing over it. But what's right is not always what's convenient. In fact, it's typically what's most difficult. The people that I come from clearly did not care for certain sections of the population as demonstrated through negative caricatures describing entire groups of people.

Calling one a "pussy" or a "whiner" is not conducive to the conversation. What it shows is an apparent lack of maturity for this type of conversation.

The broader topic is how habitual our thought gets. Think—for many, the logo is an innocent display of the club's history and many of the popular associations are not even linked to the emblem itself (based off several comments and quotes). We've habituated a way of thinking about the emblem as something innocent, symbolic and stand-alone. Yet, it isn't. The direct representation is racist. We've moved from something that's a negative caricature of an entire section of the population to something that's representative of good, simple, light-hearted fun. Many have used mental gymnastics in order to justify its existence at the ballpark.

Taking a moment to observe the obvious is something that's needed when it comes to Chief Wahoo. Reducing the pain of Native Americans is not needed—and, once more—we shouldn't tell a group that's sustained and survived despite the attempted eradication and relocation to get thicker skin when in all reality, it's probably you who should get thicker skin. You, who can't stand the dissent of a population that doesn't want to be represented as a wide-eyed, red faced, goofy-looking cartoon character.

35 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by mathematical on 04/29/2012 at 4:27 PM

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