Is Chief Wahoo Really Gone?

February 2, 2018

What’s your school mascot? At Xyza, it’s our funny-looking sea monster who’s both curious and silly. Mascots can serve a number of roles, such as keeping a crowd entertained. Take Lou Seal of the San Francisco Giants, for example. Have you ever seen him at a game? He dances around, tosses out T-shirts, and gives you the I’m-so-cute look through his sunglasses half hanging off his nose. He’s funny, cute, sassy, and quite entertaining. He’s a seal, dressed in Giants gear—something completely unreal. But how about mascots that represent a group of people—are they all in good fun, or can they be offensive?

By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA (Indians fans are pumped for the ALDS.) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
This week, the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball team, announced that by 2019, players will no longer be sporting team mascot Chief Wahoo on their jerseys, nor will images of Chief Wahoo be displayed in their ballpark. Although some fans are disappointed with the change, some Native American leaders, who have been fighting for the removal of Chief Wahoo due to its offensive stereotyping of Native Americans, are celebrating this small victory.

By Fibonacci Blue [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Why is this only a small victory, and perhaps not a victory at all to some? Well, Chief Wahoo will still appear on merchandise, and the Cleveland Indians have no intention of renaming the team. Other sports teams, such as the Atlanta Braves and the National Football League’s Washington Redskins, aren’t changing their team names or mascots despite pressure to do so—at least not for now.

What do you think makes a mascot offensive?