Indians Fans Alternately Rally Around and Spit Hate at New #DeChief Twitter Campaign

The newly launched @DeChiefWahoo Twitter account is featuring photos of Indians fans showing off their Tribe merch sans Wahoo. Here's the first tweet, published yesterday:

The concept, completely unsurprisingly, has garnered all sorts of hate messages. User @I_AM_RONIMAL tweets: "Actually one more. If I go to a game and see defaced gear I will. I repeat. I WILL smack you in front of everyone. Cock suckers these days"

Charming stuff.

Still, the account has accrued plenty of fans, as well, who are now busting out the needles and removing the team's red Sambo caricatures from their gear.

This year, the Chief Wahoo debate has become louder than in years past. The Plain Dealer patted itself on the back for publishing an anti-Wahoo editorial finally. Scene's own 2012 feature on the racist cartoon has been linked with vigor since its publishing. On the other side of the #DeChief coin, GV Artwork and Design unveiled a "Keep the Chief" T-shirt that many are clamoring to purchase and wear this year.

The odd thing about all of the discussion is how thoroughly people misunderstand the decades-long backlash against using a caricature of a human race as a sports logo. The refrains of the pro-Wahoo crowd have become a steady din in the background of this city, always missing the mark and excusing the team for employing blatant dehumanization in its fucking marketing repertoire.

The Louis Sockalexis "honor" story has been debunked long ago. There's nothing prideful about Chief Wahoo, nor the name "Indians" in representing a baseball team. Of course, the team's top brass has sidestepped any real questioning about the logo, preferring instead to cherish either nostalgia or, worse, ethnocentricity.

Somewhere in the organization, though, they're aware of how demeaning the logo actually is: "When we’ve been in Arizona, we’ve really focused on the block C - being in that region, in that area, we’re certainly cognizant of that.” That's senior director of communications Chris Danberg dancing around the subject. The team is, of course, in Arizona right now.

Anyway, the #DeChiefWahoo campaign is under way and attracting all sorts of praise and aggression. Tweet your pics of de-Chief'd apparel. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, haters gonna hate.


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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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