In my opinion, the Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, and any other name that could be deemed offensive to Native Americans should be changed.

The Cleveland Indians is a disrespectful name to real Native Americans, and their mascot, “Chief Wahoo,” is a degrading wrong portrayal as well.   Some say the negative reaction to the team mascot is out of control political correctness, but it’s not about that at all; it’s just about respect. If a whole group of people say it’s offensive, how can anyone simply disregard their outrage as political correctness?

Native Americans and others have expressed their hatred for the offensive representation time and again. If the message still isn’t clear, it’s because those who enforce the degrading logos aren’t listening. Willful ignorance is not a helpful solution to the situation. One commentator, who was a Cleveland Indians fan, said, “It keeps their heritage alive;” however, a goofy red-faced man with a silly grin doesn’t represent native Americans at all, it’s insulting.

The fact is that the Cleveland Indians are not Native American and do not understand Native American culture. By misrepresenting it they’re appropriating all Native Americans stand for. This shows the minimal understanding corporations like the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins have for Native Americans while still exploiting their long cherished and meaningful traditions. In the end the big corporations gain all the profit, gaining more power, and facing no serious consequences.

When the Redskins were put on trial for their hateful name, they defended themselves with the freedom of speech.  Free speech does not erase the use of an offensive name, nor does it make it right; it only makes It legal. Eaton, a graduate student, who is one-fourth Shawnee, says, “The term redskins to [Native Americans] personified the scalping and killing of Native Americans. The consensus among the elders was it was a deep insult.”

Using racial slurs such as “redskin” as a team name, without fully acknowledging the meaningful roots behind it, is wrong. It’s hurtful to use a phrase which has, throughout history, been used to remind Native American of their inferiority, one that represented the brutal mistreatment they had to face for generations. Most importantly, it’s not fair to force the youth of America, including Native American youth, to grow up surrounded by these outdated terms that continue to enforce a racially divided world. 

Quote credit:
The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit:
Native Circle