The name and the mascot are a disgrace. We look like a national laughingstock by holding on stubbornly to the hateful, bigoted image and name. It's the small-minded kind of attitude that creeps into the way we treat our communities in other ways, and neglect the concerns of the people who live in Cleveland.
I heard a suggestion from someone that we change the mascot/name to one of the older iterations, like the Spiders or Naps. Or, we could use one of the most majestic and powerful symbols for Cleveland (which stand RIGHT outside of the Jake/Progressive Field): the Guardians of Transportation. I mean, the Lorain-Carnegie bridge could practically be the honorary gateway to the team's games.
Joel Solow here!
I think there's plenty of recognition within the black community (which of course, isn't monolithic) that there are both internal and external issues. Should black people stop killing black people? Duh. There are myriad community organizations and grassroots leaders doing a heroic job of working to fight that. This idea that 'the black community isn't taking responsibility for itself' is a gross mischaracterization.
My concern is that calls for community responsibility often focus solely on members of the community, rather than the systems within which that community's situation came up in. The black community in Cleveland has been devastated by disinvestment, segregation, mass-incarceration and a heap of other problems that were *not* internal. They were imposed upon them by primarily White power structures, which were then inherited by mostly Black power structures (and there's absolutely a responsibility from black elected officials to do better in changing them). When you start the story of how an event happened at the moment a black youth pulls the trigger it's very convenient: they messed up. But it's incomplete, and fails to take into effect the complicated and systemic choices- made by many communities- that got them there.
Where was the White responsibility in the 60s up until now for race-hatred towards black residents? Where was White responsibility from then until now among the folks who fled the city en masse, starving it of resources that could have supported police, firefighters, teachers, and all the public services that could have prevented crime? Where was the White responsibility when redlining was occurring, and when Black folks were terrified for their lives in parts of the city, for fear that their children would be murdered- as we are now seeing black children murdered by fellow blacks as well as White police and citizens?
While I am not a blanket cop-hater, it's perfectly understandable how folks' lived experience, and major perceptions of the police are shaped by what they see as negligence and lack of care at best, and total animosity and murderous hostility at worse. The police *absolutely* bear some responsibility for the culture of violence, as it is allowed to persist by the lack of legitimacy the police system has allowed itself to develop. And that's on them.
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