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The Cleveland Indians: Time for good-bye to Wahoo

For as long as we all can remember, The Cleveland Indians have been the Major League Baseball Team in Northeastern Ohio. We have rejoiced with them when they have won and booed them when they have lost. They are truly a part of the city of Cleveland. Their performance as a team is truly non-fiction. You could not write the highs and lows that they have experienced. However, there is one thing about them that is fiction, and it needs to go away.

Known as Chief Wahoo, The Cleveland Indians' mascot is a character with a big red face with a strange smile. He also wears what resembles an American Indian headdress on his head. Some people may say that it is a cartoon character that just so happens to borrow from American Indians. There is only one, big problem with that statement. I have met American Indians over the years as well as seen photographs of them in the past as well as in the present. I know other people who have too. Chief Wahoo is a total and complete misrepresentation of American Indians. As a result, he should be retired.

Discrimination can come in many forms. Some stand out more than others. Maybe at one time, for some reason, this mascot was considered okay. I am not exactly sure why it would ever be considered okay. You are making someone's friend or relative look like a cartoon character. You are making fun of them and saying that the only thing they are worth is smiling ridiculously at a baseball team. It does not matter whether or not The Cleveland Indians are currently winning or losing. Many people have stood up to discrimination against African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Jews, Catholics, and other groups that have historically been discriminated against. We would hopefully never ever tolerate one of these groups being depicted in this way. Why do we continue to depict American Indians this way?

What is the solution to this problem then? The Cleveland Indians need a mascot. In my opinion, the solution should be that if The Cleveland Indians want an American Indian as their mascot, depict him/her as a human being. Since you want to have a mascot who encourages victory, how about doing some research on what an American Indian warrior from The Great Lakes ( i.e. Ohio) wore in everyday life as well as in battle? Maybe some people think sports should be about cartoon characters and fiction. In my viewpoint, not if it creates non-fiction that hurts people.

If The Cleveland Indians are not interested in representing American Indians properly, then I would say either A.) Just be The Cleveland Indians without a mascot at all; or B.) Change the team's name and use a different mascot.

Go Tribe....but, make sure Everyone is respected.