After years of controversy, the Cleveland Indians recently decided to dump their Chief Wahoo mascot after the 2018 season. Fans have expressed both praise and anger after hearing the news. Dumping Chief Wahoo, while a symbol of the Cleveland Indians since at least 1932 is a long overdue move that will contribute to Major League Baseball’s efforts to become more diverse and accepting.
Many Indians’ and baseball fans in general are angry about this decision. They’re angry because they feel Chief Wahoo is the latest victim of political correctness. Personally, I understand their anger. I would vent too if the Red Sox logo suddenly disappeared after a hundred years of tradition. But the issue isn’t the logo itself. The issue is what the logo conveys. In the Indians’ case, Chief Wahoo represents a racist stereotype of Native Americans. In this day in age where hate crimes are on the rise again after years of decline, the Indians are taking steps to ensure they will no longer be associated with something so overtly insensitive. Removing Chief Wahoo is certainly causing controversy now, but it also means that there will be one less insensitive logo in existence that will validate racism in years to come.
Think of it this way. Twenty years ago it wasn’t uncommon for kids at school to play cops and robbers. They used their fingers as “guns” and played dead. In the wake of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and now Las Vegas, many schools now forbid students from pretending to play with guns because of the impression it gives. The same principle applies to Chief Wahoo. There was a time when most people didn’t associate the logo with insensitivity. But in the wake of growing cultural awareness, its understandable why people see it in a different light now.
Dumping Chief Wahoo Is A Sign Of The Times
A large majority of the comments on social media regarding Chief Wahoo were written by fans complaining that people are too easily offended. That’s not quite accurate though. America IS becoming more diverse, and as a result, people are less tolerant of racial sterotypes. According to the Pew Research Center, “a near-record 14% of the country’s population is foreign born compared with just 5% in 1965.” This statistic reflects a growing demographic in America showing a shrinking white population in America. In fact, according to the same source, there will be no single racial or ethnic majority in America by 2055.
The fact of the matter is that America is becoming more diverse each year. Chief Wahoo’s supporters are in decline. We’re becoming a more culturally aware society who no longer see Chief Wahoo as a baseball icon. We now see it as culturally insensitive. Of course, most of Chief Wahoo’s supporters are not racist. For the most part, they are fervent baseball fans who hate to see change and in some cases it’s hard to blame them. That does not mean, however, that Chief Wahoo should stay in place. Despite their vocal opinions, they’re a smaller group than they think.
Intolerance for Chief Wahoo and similar logos will only grow. Dumping Chief Wahoo is the right move. If I was an Indians fan I’d focus more on the 2018 season than I would on the loss of a racist stereotype that has become more of a distraction than a symbol of pride.