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Chuck's Collegiate Politics: Indians mascot Chief Wahoo promotes racism

Things come and go. This is just how life works. For example: significant others come and go, various restaurants on Court Street come and go, birthdays and I guess death. However, some things should have never existed in the first place. 

Take a look at the Cleveland Indians mascot for example.

Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio – shout out to "the dirty 330" – I have been a devout Cleveland sports fan my entire life. Yes, this does include the Browns who have never really given us anything to cheer about. 

While Cleveland’s economy mostly revolves around LeBron James, Cleveland is also home to a major league baseball team. The Indians, to be precise. I am assuming you may have heard of them recently, since they are in the World Series. I know, two Cleveland teams in the championships of their respective sports is even more surreal to me than you.

Here is the issue: Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Indians, is incredibly racist and distasteful. And, yeah, that is actually still on the Indians uniforms.

Chief Wahoo capitalizes on all of the incredibly racist stereotypes of the Native American people. Even being called the “Indians” is offensive as Christopher Columbus drunkenly hit a continent and just assumed this group of people were Indians from India.

Is this what we actually think of our Native people? This logo should have never existed in the first place? 

Sure, many people will say that it’s tradition and should be gone. To the Native people of America, this is the equivalent of "blackface." "Blackface," being the practice of painting oneself in black paint to mock the black population of America, was deemed as offensive decades upon decades ago. 

However, there are still those partaking in a similar practice. 

Seen in this photo, here are some Cleveland fans enjoying the game with their faces painted as Chief Wahoo.

“They’re just painted as the mascot, they don’t mean to offend anyone,” is something I have heard in defense of this practice.

Here’s the deal. "Redface" is no different from "blackface."

“They’re so different.”

No they aren’t.

Painting your face like a Native American's is in no way different. There is no difference in when you mock someone else's race no matter how you do it. 

Our Native American population sees these as the same, and honestly it is ridiculous we are still debating on whether or not the Indians is offensive because a couple of people are bent on the tradition of Cleveland sports.

Cleveland has started to phase in what they refer to as a “Block C” logo, which is just a "C" for Cleveland in block-style font, but so long as their jerseys and caps brandish Chief Wahoo, prejudice and racism toward Native Americans is far from over. 

Chuck Greenlee is a sophomore studying communications and public advocacy at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How do you feel about Chief Wahoo? Let Chuck know by tweeting him @ChuckingAround.

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