Editorial: Don’t be yahoos, Cleveland. Say so long to Chief Wahoo

SHARE Editorial: Don’t be yahoos, Cleveland. Say so long to Chief Wahoo

In this April 10, 2015, photo, Philip Yenyo, left, executive director of the American Indians Movement for Ohio, talks with a Cleveland Indians fan before a baseball game in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Follow @csteditorials

Across Chicago, Cubs fans are asking: “Whoa, who’s this Chief Wahoo character?”

White Sox fans know all about Chief Wahoo, the red-faced caricature of a Native American that adorns the uniforms of the Cleveland Indians. The Sox and Indians play each other all the time, both teams being in the American League. But for fans of the National League Cubs, Chief Wahoo — arguably the most racially offensive logo in professional sports — was more like a rumor, something that could be ignored.

EDITORIAL Follow @csteditorials

Not anymore. It was impossible to watch the first two World Series games in Cleveland without seeing toothy Chief Wahoo everywhere. Especially since the Cleveland Indians have brought the logo back big-time for the playoffs after downplaying it with an air of embarrassment — just a “C” on their caps and jerseys — during the regular season.

Too bad for that. Cleveland is a nice town. We’ve got a soft spot for rust-belt cities on the Great Lakes fighting for continued relevancy. But a lot of us in Chicago this week had trouble explaining to our kids while watching the World Series how a big league ball club could hang on to a logo that is so patently derogatory. American Indians in Cleveland have been protesting Chief Yahoo at every Opening Day game since — get this — 1970. They protested this week, too.

This business of Indian-themed logos and names gets tricky. Obviously, they are not all equally objectionable, and views will differ. Is the team name Indians itself offensive? How about Redskins? That one, we believe — as we’ve written before — clearly is. And what about the Blackhawks? The debate goes on.

As for Chief Wahoo, give us a break. Or, rather, give Native Americans a break. Chief Wahoo dehumanizes Native Americans in the same way black-faced minstrels dehumanized African Americans.

C’mon, Cleveland, you’re better than that.

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @csteditorials

Tweets by @CSTeditorials

The Latest
This is just another example of the great city of Chicago fixing what is not broken, a reader from Bucktown writes.
The earthquake struck early Monday about 2 kilometers northwest of Somonauk, Illinois in DeKalb County.
The man was discovered unresponsive in the 1200 block of East 71st Street with a gunshot wound to the chest, Chicago police said.
Conservatives are going after transgender youth, banning their access to medical care, public bathrooms, accurate identity documents and athletic participation.
Responding to a woman tired of hosting her husband’s friends, columnist gave the visiting husband a pass but called his wife ‘lazy and insensitive’ for failing to contribute in the kitchen.