October 10, 2013

"Racism of Sports Logos Put Into Context By American Indian Group."

"The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) published a powerful poster..."
... featuring two baseball hats that each have a stereotypical racist image of a Jewish man and Chinese man to show it has the same connotation as the Cleveland Indians.

The hats were titled “New York Jews” and “San Francisco Chinamen.”


It's an effective poster, you have to admit. It says: You'd never accept those other stereotypes, so why do you accept this?


On the other hand, you can't say this doesn't exist:



Also, I would distinguish that cartoon-y Cleveland logo from the Redskins logo, which is a dignified image:


It's reminiscent of the profiles of Presidents seen on coins. And we did use to have "Indian Head" pennies. On the other hand, "Indians" is a more dignified name than "Redskins."

Thanks to Irene for sending me that top link. She stressed the use of the word "context" in the headline. "Context" is a tag here at Althouse. Irene's stress on "context" might refer to the context of some earlier blogging about context. This, about distinguishing between "implication" and "implicature"? This, about sex out of context? No, I suspect that Irene is being sarcastic about the claim that something is put into context when it is taken out of its place in the real world of culture and tradition and placed next to a couple of things that don't even exist.

But does that undercut the argument made in the poster? We — some of us — might accept the Indians/Redskins logo because we are used to it as it exists in the world that feels normal and natural, even as we would resist the intrusion of some new thing that was very much like it.

Isn't that a helpful thought experiment: What if this were introduced today, would we accept it? Is tradition enough to support something that would never be adopted if it were a proposed innovation?

Notice that I've just put the question at a very high level of abstraction. I've taken the logo controversy out of context. Please put that abstraction into other contexts and contemplate it.

124 comments:

Sorun said...

Don't forget the Fightin' Whites.

Beta Rube said...

I would buy the set through your Amazon portal if they were available. They look like three happy guys.

The Irish are portrayed as half drunk and hostile, which would offend me except that I'm Irish and it's more or less accurate. Except for the shoes. After three generations, we are finally enjoying stylish footwear.

Matt said...

Hmmm... I was not offended by the logos in the poster. But then I don't think those fake logos represent anyone anymore than the Cleveland Indians' logo. I think people take them much more seriously than they should. I also think the Washington Redskins should keep their nickname... but change their logo to a potato.

Sorun said...

"Except for the shoes."

Mexicans wear those shoes now.

the wolf said...

Then there is this...

http://www.shelflifeclothing.com/shirtpages/caucasians.html

SGT Ted said...

The Vikings

The Patriots, complete with white colonial mascot.

The Packers. Meat packing plant workers.

49ers; more white westerners, portrayed as scruffy, unshaven gold panners.

Celtics: More primitive white people

Raiders: Looks like a white guy pirate on the side of the helmet.

The Bills. Named after a specific white legendary frontiersman.

The Cowboys. 'nuff said.

The Saints: football brutes representing peaceful men of God. I am sure that's offensive to someone, somewhere.

I am sure there's more to point out the contrast to highlight oversensitivity of the Indians over sports team names.



Craig said...

Seattle's Mariners are owned by Nintendo. Go Nips!

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

How great would it be to be on a local basketball team called the Fighting Whities and we could play the B-Ball Blackies (and get our butts whipped, but FUN).

Truly, it seems like half the people in this country spend all day looking for some way to be a victim.

tim maguire said...

I accept The Fighting Irish and the drunken leprechaun logo, so I am free to tell them to piss off.

Besides, there was an actual Cleveland Indian and he was just fine with it, so these other people trying to ride the Cleveland Indian's coattails are welcome to piss off.

It's only powerful to the ignorant. Hopefully the ignorant will not win.

Chef Mojo said...

The Chinamen peed on the carpet...

SteveR said...

Where did I read that something like 93% of Native Americans are not offended by the Redskins name? OTOH I don't care for Daniel Snyder, so raise hell with him. By the way the current version of the green suited ND mascot on the sidelines is about as scary as Elmo.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Fightin' Irish is exactly in line with those other stereotypes and is accepted by the stereotyped group.

David said...

I would eliminate the name "tightly whities." Reduces my proud race to an ill fitting undergarment. Humiliating.

Sigivald said...

The other issue is that NCAI is ... an advocacy group.

I'd rather see what actual Indians* think about the Redskins, than what the NCAI wants me to think about it.

(* By all reports of actual preference, "Indian" [pronounced more like "Indin"] is what actual natives prefer to be called, over "Native American" or other crap.)

n.n said...

The tradition of naming sport teams is motivated by recognition of one or more desirable qualities in people and things. I would imagine that most athletes and owners are not masochistic. The honor of the name imparted is directed and reflected.

The motive behind a campaign matters. While I do not know the intent behind the "happy Indian", the intent of the other depictions is revealed in the context. The NCAI is exploiting a pejorative stereotype for political and financial profit.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Chef Mojo: The Chinaman is not the issue here. We're talking about unchecked aggression. We're talking about drawing a line in the sand, and across that line you do not

Anthony said...

If I were Jewish, I'd totally wear that New York Jews baseball cap. (I was born in New York.) And I don't like wearing baseball caps.

David said...

Move Cleveland to Toronto--it can support two teams.

"The Toronto Tontos"

Johnny Depp can be a "minority" owner.

Ann Althouse said...

The Cleveland Indians mascot is exaggerated but not in a way that seems stereotypically Indian. He's got the red skin and feather, like the Redskins' dignified, naturalistic profile of the Indian, but are his facial features Indian? The main feature is a huge smile, and I think the stereotypical image of an Indian is just about the extreme opposite of a smile.

David said...

Miners everywhere are humiliated by the Wisconsin mascot.

Henry said...

Funny thing. The dignified Redskins logo is a stereotype: the noble savage, the stoic warrior. The Cleveland Indians' wince-worthy Chief Wahoo is mostly just a cartoon. Except maybe the nose. You could call that out as stereotypical.

I think both teams should change their names and mascots, along with the Braves. The Redskins name is just offensive. As for the other two; it's just too easy to go wrong (Tomahawk Chop).

* * *

Sgt Ted: Purdue Boilermakers.

Henry said...

Althouse -- You beat me to it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

There was one media watchdog group that concerns itself with depictions of (Asian) Indians in the media, that stated that Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from the Simpsons is an affectionate and positive caricature and not something to take offense to, but of course they were drowned out by those who did.

Edgehopper said...

Personally, I'm offended by a different Cleveland mascot. Cavaliers are knights in shining armor, so why is our mascot a dog shaped like a basketball?

And as long as we've got Slider, maybe we can be the Cleveland Pink Alien Things!

Or maybe, since the Browns and Cavaliers both have dog mascots (Chomps and Moondoggie respectively), despite their team names being thoroughly non-dog related, we could replace Chief Wahoo with a dog of some sort? Perhaps a Malamute, the only truly Native American dog breed still popular?

Chef Mojo said...

Lest we forget the rather confusing old Negro Southern League team, "Atlanta Black Crackers."

Not to be confused with the, presumably white, "Atlanta Crackers" of the Southern Association.

n.n said...

tim maguire:

That's a relevant point. The NCAI is reducing the diversity of people, the numerous empires, nations, and tribes preceding the establishment of the United States of America to a single class, which would historically offend the citizens and members of those empires, nations, and tribes, and obfuscate the conflicts which they suffered at each other's hands. Their claim is that all of those people and groups are represented equally in their corporation, but the historical and contemporary evidence does not support their position.

mishu said...

The Cleveland Indians can change their logo and keep their name. Change his red skin to brown. Change the feather head dress to a headset. Then they'll be a team reflective of the 21st century. Is that insensitive? :P

PB Reader said...

In this situation as others, there is a small but vocal minority. They ultimately want to bring attention to themselves and seek cash compensation.

It's hard to please some of these people, because no matter what term you use to identify them, they end-up offended because they feel they are being singled-out and discriminated. However ALL there efforts seem not in the direction of integration, but "diversity" and perpetual isolation in the the effort to seek separate but equal status. Odd, huh?

Of course, if you were to walk into a meeting of the NAACP and referred to attendees as "colored people" you'd have a fight on your hands with people who have no sense of irony.

St. George said...

Nice subject to distract people from the impending multi-trillion dollar government financial debacle.

Anyway, The West Virginia Mountaineers. Just a polite word for hillbillies. The mascot of an Arkansas high school team is the Hillbilly.

There used to be a colored-league, excuse me, African-American baseball team The Atlanta Black Crackers, presumably named that way so one would confuse them with The Atlanta White Crackers.

Marshal said...

Isn't that a helpful thought experiment: What if this were introduced today, would we accept it?

A better experiment would be testing to see if the elements which make the N word so offensive actually exist in this term we're told is analogous. For example:

Was the term invented or did it evolve as a slur?

Is it used to support racism or demean a class of people?

Maybe so, but I've never seen any evidence of it. I have seen the claim that this term was invented by American Indians to distinguish themselves from Europeans. I also have no experience of anyone using the term at all except in historical context or in reference to the football team. I think skepticism is bolstered by the lack of American Indian objections to the term, would should be higher if it were used as a slur even in the distant past (one poll showed 80% think the nickname should continue).

Further I think if the elements did exist the activists would be touting them. But I find it very disturbing how many people assume the term is racist simply because it's been framed that way.

AJ Lynch said...

http://www.ncai.org/

Jeez -look at the Indian group's website- it has a picture of a young kid in an Indian headdress.
So I say tell them to STFU.

Tank said...

They could update it with the

Cleveland Croupiers.

Larry J said...

I think Florida State did it right. They have a contract with the Florida Seminole tribe that includes how their mascot, Chief Osceola is portrayed. It's hard to say that's a derogatory representation.

I thought the whole idea was to name your team after something that represented characteristics you admire and want to emulate, such as bravery, strength or courage. Yeah, some schools have taken on whimsical names but most don't.

Alan said...

The main feature is a huge smile, and I think the stereotypical image of an Indian is just about the extreme opposite of a smile.

The "stereotypical non-smiling image" of an Indian for millions of Americans is actually an Italian.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hey, in Oregon we have the Beavers and the Ducks. They've both been messing about with imagery this season. The new Beavers logo (you can see it here) is supposed to be fiercer than the old one, but the old one was IMO creepier. Meanwhile, the Ducks' uniforms have sprouted stylized wings everywhere. And I mean "stylized" as in "look like epaulets on a Roman soldier's uniform in a 50s epic movie." Bleh.

MadisonMan said...

I also think the Washington Redskins should keep their nickname... but change their logo to a potato.

I'm going to remember this, re-use it, and claim it as original.

Hope you don't mind :)

And think how healthy the food in the stadium could be! We ONLY serve potatoes!

Moose said...

I agree with renaming them the "Whiteys".

Earnest Prole said...

For the San Francisco Chinamen to be truly offensive, wouldn't the hat need to be yellow and not orange?

eddie willers said...

This horsedump also came up in the early 70's.

Russell Means of AIM (American Indian Movement) was whining about the Braves Chief Noc-A-Homa who would open the game by running to the pitcher's mound and doing a war dance and then spend most of the game holed up in a teepee set in the left field stands.

He would come out after home runs or at other times to fire up the crowd.

So Means is complaining about a white guy dressing up as an Indian blah, blah blah....when he was informed that Noc-A-Homa was portrayed by Levi Walker, Jr. who was a full blooded Indian.

He asked "What tribe?" and when told that Walker was Chippewa, he said, "Figures....all those guys did was hang around the fort anyway".

So I guess he was an Uncle Tomahawk or something.



PS. I use to go to many an Atlanta Cracker game at the old Piedmont Park Baseball field (the Black Crackers would play there when the other Crackers had road games etc.)

They won so often that they were called the 'Yankees of the South'.

When the Braves moved from Milwaukee down here, we natives tried everything we could to have them change the name of the team from Braves to Crackers.

In retrospect, that sure would have been some fun, wouldn't it?

Revenant said...

It is an effective poster, I agree. I also have sympathy with the complaints about using Indians as mascots.

That being said, I can't help but think that "New York Jews" would be a popular sports franchise with my Jewish friends from New York.

William said...

Can you name any person alive who has formed a hostile or diminished opinion of Indians because of the Cleveland logo? The Chinese and Jewish caricatures were obviously drawn to express hostility and contempt........Some prejudices are more prejudicial than others. In the early part of the 19th century D'Israeli and O'Connell had a bitter feud. D'Israeli accused O'Connell of being the cats paw of the Pope. O'Connell said that D'Israeli was a descendant of that Hebrew criminal who refused Christ's grace on the cross. Both men were bigots, but to a modern eye O'Connell's anti-semitism sounds more pernicious--although, perhaps, in that era D'israeli 's anti Catholic and anti Irish prejudices caused more real harm.

Levi Starks said...

I say we go with it.
It's just another way to be more inclusive.
In fact how about fundamentalist christian mascot?
you couldn't get much more scary than that....

Pettifogger said...

My high school team was the Texans. I never thought to take offense.

LordSomber said...

Still waiting for the return of Chief Noc-A-Homa.

Cleanthes said...

Thought experiment:

Could the sports team auction off the right to pick a name. If such a right can be sold for a positive sum of money, how is it ever insulting that some cultural/ethnic group is honored by having a sports team named after them FOR FREE?

Tank said...

Revenant said...
It is an effective poster, I agree. I also have sympathy with the complaints about using Indians as mascots.

That being said, I can't help but think that "New York Jews" would be a popular sports franchise with my Jewish friends from New York.


I think Joisey Jews has a better ring to it.

Mousebert said...

The problem is that the individual references are bigoted. "New York Jews" means something entirely different than "Jews from New York." I was told I was racist for using the first once, even though, having grown up far west of the Mississippi, I was unfamiliar with the first. Would the SF Chinese be racist? How about the SF Ming Dynasty? With redefining, the SF Orientals is racist on the west coast.

I am unaware of the word Indians being used as a pejorative by itself. That may be due to the large Asian Indian population where I am.

DanTheMan said...

I am deeply offended by an NFL team mascot. How dare we glorify those who killed, raped, robbed, and pillaged at will?
These horrible men were the terrorist murderers of their day, killing the innocent with abandon.
How can we continue to glorify them?
It's time all 500+ fans rise up and demand a name change for the Buccaneers.

The Godfather said...

Thanks to Alan we now know that Iron Eyes Cody, the "crying Indian" of the clean up America ads, was an Italian.

Reminds me of Yogi Berra's remark when he learned that the Lord Mayor of Dublin was Jewish: "Only in America!"

Guimo said...

GMAFB.

Roberto said...

How about the Althouse Whining Sycophants?

The logo could be an empty skull.

Rusty said...

The fightin' Hebes.
Go Yids!

Are the Pekin High School football team still called the "Chinks"?

surfed said...

Why don't the "Redskins" partner up with a real Native American tribe like the Seminole in Florida do. Keep the name Redskins but (by way of example) they are the Apaches this year, the Souix next year, etc. Put the real tribal emblem on their helmets and donate a shit load of money and good works to each tribe they adopt during the year. Sponsor members to come to the games free - have a reserved section for chosen tribe. Have a tribal Chief do the coin toss. It would be a promotional windfall and the tribe(s) would make out well too. Ask the Seminoles how much the LOVE having Chief Osceola throw down the flaming spear from horseback to start each home game... It's really a no brainer here....

Irene said...

I had in mind: (1) the Althouse tag; (2) the Indians/Redskin logo is in context because we recognize it, while the other two remain out of context; and (3) the headline's use of the phrase "put in context" therefore seemed strange.

LL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LL said...

The Cleveland Indians name is not offensive but the character is pretty offensive.

The Washington Redskins logo is not offensive but the name is terribly offensive.

I am not an ultra-sensitive pc kind of person but these are pretty bad and they should be changed. In my opinion, it is difficult to argue convincingly that the Redskins name and the Indians logo are honoring Native Americans. On the other hand, the Atlanta Braves name and even the North Dakota Fighting Sioux honor Native Americans. I also believe that the Fighting Irish and the Minnesota Vikings honor those respective people.

Larry J said...

It's time all 500+ fans rise up and demand a name change for the Buccaneers.

Those pirates were mostly white guys, too. Why not go down the list of NFL team names. I'm sure there's something to offend someone, somewhere.

Arizona Cardinals - that's a red bird so it's probably a conservative.

Atlanta Falcons - meat-eating bird.

Baltimore Ravens - meat-eating bird.

Buffalo Bills - white frontiersman, Indian fighter and showman who was motivated by evil profit.

Carolina Panthers - scary meat-eating animal.

Chicago Bears - scary meat-eating animals who make it dangerous for city dwelling hipsters to walk in the woods.

Cincinnati Bengals - meat-eating animal.

Cleveland Browns - what the hell is a brown anyway?

Dallas Cowboys - mostly white guys who should've been raising soybeans to make tofu.

Denver Broncos - glamorizing an invasive species brought to America by white guys.

Detroit Lions - scary meat-eating animal.

Green Bay Packers - named after meat packers, no doubt.

Houston Texans - gun-owning non-metrosexuals who make fun of city slickers.

Kansas City Chiefs - uses native american imagery.

Indianapolis Colts - invasive species brought to America by white guys.

Jacksonville Jaguars - scary meat-eating animal.

Miami Dolphins - exploiting the name and image of the wisest creatures on Earth.

Minnesota Vikings - mean white guys.

New England Patriots - come on, this one is too easy.

New Orleans Saints - probably right-wing religious fanatics.

New York Giants - discriminatory to little people.

New York Jets - jets spew tons of carbon dioxide and should only be used by people attending far-flung global warming conferences in luxury locations.

Oakland Raiders - white guy with an eye patch representing a team that's the 4th point on the axis of evil.

Philadelphia Eagles - exploiting the name and image of a bird that symbolizes a racist, homophobic nation.

Pittsburgh Steelers - pollution belching industry.

San Diego Chargers - they have a lightning bolt on their helment so that electricity probably comes from a non-green energy source.

San Francisco 49ers - profit seeking white guys who came to California displacing peaceful natives.

Seattle Seahawks - meat-eating bird.

St. Louis Rams - at least this animal isn't a meat-eater.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - mostly white criminals.

Tennessee Titans - discriminatory to weak and small people.

Washington Redskins - already covered.

surfed said...

Aside - BEST EVER scoreboard sign flash was was the South Carolina Gamecocks on goal line stand against a Big 10 Team during a long ago Gator Bowl. The scoreboard flashed "Hold em' Cocks".

LL said...

Surfed - What if the Oregon State Beavers played the South Carolina Gamecocks?

MayBee said...

An English football club has a hot controversy because it has a large Jewish fool lowing that calls itself the "Yid Army". The Tottenham Hotspurs cheer "Yid! yid! Yid!"

How to handle it is controversial because there is a history of racism among European football fans. The police have threatened to arrest anyone who says it, but fans insist they should be able to say it (because it is said with love)while opposing teams should not be able. To use it as a taunt.

So the US isn't the only conflicted sports country.

Roger Sweeny said...

If, as some have suggested, team names are chosen because the names stand for something admirable, what does that say about the NHL New Jersey Devils and the Duke (University) Blue Devils? Satanists!!!!!!!!

(I actually have wondered why Christians don't find those names offensive. "Go, Devils!" Really?)

Lonetown said...

I think the Washington Redskins should change their name to the Washington Tea Party Patriots.

Provided the New England Patriots don't change theirs to the New England Tea Party Patriots.

rhhardin said...

Nobody's an Indian who doesn't want to be.

Birches said...

If the Native American Advocacy groups were putting up a big stink about the Cleveland Indians, then I might sympathize, but they've only stuck it to the Redskins, which is clearly not offensive to most Natives. (Drive through Gallup, NM) sometime if you're not sure.) The reason they've settled on the Redskins, 99% of DC/NY media elites are pushing hard for a change to show how progressive they are.

@ Sorun lol. I love those shoes.

Old RPM Daddy said...

@Larry J: "St. Louis Rams - at least this animal isn't a meat-eater."

But it's male.

@LL: "The Washington Redskins logo is not offensive but the name is terribly offensive."

I agree. And I've always wondered what the real problem was, the name or the iconography? I can understand the desire to change the name, but what to change it to is the sticky part. Somebody in DC proposed changing the name to "Redtails" a few months ago, to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. On his radio show, LaVar Arrington disagreed, suggesting that the appeal wasn't broad enough for the team's fan base (although as retired Air Force, I can dig it). I figure "Nationals" or "Senators" would probably work, but if you really wanted to capture the flavor of DC, you can't go wrong with the "Washington Unindicted Co-Conspirators."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Larry J,

New England Patriots - come on, this one is too easy.

Amazing that they haven't been audited yet :-)

LCB said...

I'd like to think the Irish earned their title during the Civil War. Both sides had Irish Brigades that earned reputations for...well...hard fighting abilities!

LCB said...

Larry J,
The way the Bengals have played over the last 20 years or so...those meat eating Tigers SHOULD be offended at the use of their name.

And I'm a Cincy Bengals fan!!!

David said...

Seriously,

(I have trouble being serious about this even though I know that many take it seriously),

But seriously,

The Cleveland team took on the Indians name in 1915 but did not have a logo for some time thereafter. Before 1915 they were sometimes known as the "Naps," after Napoleon (Nap) Lajoie, their star player. Some wags called them the "napkins" because they folded so easily. For a while they were also called the Molly McGuires.

In 1915 Lajoie was over the hill and was traded and thus they needed a new name. "Indians" was chosen but there was no logo. Present management claims that the Indians name was to honor the first native american player in the major leagues, Louis Sockalexis, who had played for the team 1897-99. Though he indeed played for the team, his influence in the naming seems to be untrue.

The first Cleveland Indians native American logo (1928) looked like a profile of George Washington in a powdered wig, but with two feathers stuck in the wig. That lasted for only a couple of years and was replaced by a beautiful profile of an Indian Chief in full feather headdress. There were two versions of that logo, which seemed to have lasted until after World War II. The uniforms for the team went through many changes during the time of the chieftain logo, and in several years the logo was not used at all. "Branding" was apparently not a high priority.

In 1947 under Bill Veeck the team sought a new logo which was more "energetic and joyful" than the somber profile of the chief. The result was a cartoon character. (Remember, cartoons were very popular in 1947). The cartoon was created by a 17 year boy, and has persisted with some minor modifications ever since. It was and is a caricature of an indian brave (one feather) not (as previously) a dignified representation of an Indian chief in full headdress.

So when critics say that the logo is cartoonish, they are precisely correct. The name Indians has been around for about 100 years, and was obviously not intended as a slur. It really was not intended as much of anything, but it was sure better than Napkins.

Cleveland fielded the first black player in the American League, Larry Doby, who was a very good power hitter. They also employed the first big league black manager in Frank Robinson. Perhaps if they are not the Indians they could be the "Dobies" or the "Robbies." Their most famous player is probably Bob Feller. How about Cleveland Fellers?

Non Indian sports team names include Vikings, Giants, Titans, Pirates, Buccaneers, Chargers (named after a plate or a horse?), Broncos, Colts, Rams, Bears, Cardinals (birds or a sly reference to clerics?), Stockings (Reds, White Sox, Red Socks), Mariners, Angels, Devils, Canuks, Oilers, Penguins, Ravens, Saints, Marlins, Rays, Dolphins, Lions, Steelworkers, Rangers (what's with that?), Whalers, Tigers, Bengals, Oilers.

Animals seem to be safe though Cleveland might want to avoid the buffalo.. Most of these involve fierce and dynamic logos. The real problem may be that Chief Wahoo is a cartoonish wimp.

Suggestion: Keep the name. Lose the logo. Come up with a logo that makes Indians look good. Sacajawea perhaps. Geronimo. Will Rogers. Maria Tallchief.

Avoid slot machines, turkeys ,flaming arrows, firewater.

n.n said...

Roger Sweeny:

Not necessarily admirable, but possessing a quality or qualities which are desirable. The Devil is presumably undefeated in his division. Taking his name doesn't imply an admiration or affirmation of his tactics or behavior. There are other paths which lead to the same end.

Doug said...

After 81 years, hasn't the name 'Redskins' associated with this football franchise transcended any possible pejorative meaning? For God's sake, it's the name of a business, not some taunt being hurled at someone of American Indian heritage!

lemondog said...

How 'bout The Cleveland Thunderin’ Assyrians

The_Destruction_of_SennacheribThe Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on the Galilee.

Byron

lemondog said...

Indians are way over represented.

Make way for the Assyrians.

JackOfClubs said...

AJ Lynch said... http://www.ncai.org/
10/10/13, 12:08 PM


Nice catch. Even more significant is their logo which shows the left half of an Indian's face.

Hmmm, the WA Redskins' logo shows the right half. I think I am beginning to understand...

Sayyid said...

Speaking as one whose heritage (50%+ by blood) is being exploited, stereotyped, and used for profit by our local sports team, the Vikings...

When one picks a sports team name, one generally picks a name that is intimidating, known for prowess in battle, etc. (e.g., Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Vikings). Alternatively, one might pick something uniquely cultural or evocative of the region (e.g., Minnesota Lakers, Minnesota Twins). One picks the name and mascot because one wants that team's players to be associated with what is, in this context, a positive image or stereotype.

So, er, that sort of explains both why one would accept "Cleveland Indians" and also explains why not even a horrendously racist Californian would propose to name their team the "San Fransisco Chinamen."

EMD said...

"Avoid ... firewater"

For Cleveland? Too late.

Andy Freeman said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation#Libel_dispute_with_Carl_Sagan

Fritz said...

I proposed to change the Redskins to a regionally common, feisty animal, the raccoon, the way some teams are named after animals. The cheerleaders would look good in cute little raccoon outfits, and we could call the team the 'coons for short.

art.the.nerd said...

I would definitely order the New York Jews cap and wear it to synagogue!

Carl said...

You'd never accept those other stereotypes, so why do you accept this?

Who says? I'm perfectly comfortable with the other two hats, and I'm pretty sure quite a lot of Jews and Chinamen would be, too. You have to be a dweeb or under 15 to be horrified at a caricature. OMG! My nose is not that big! Let me go home and cry and cry...

Geez.

Furthermore, the analogy is inapt. A team names itself the "Redskins" for the same reason it names itself the Huskies or the Bulldogs or the Velociraptors: because it connotes insanely fierce fighting ability. Naming yourself the Redskins is a compliment to the courage and tenacity of the historical Indian tribe.

I mean, nobody is naming themselves the Redskins because they want to emphasize how poorly the team members handle liquor, or how high the unemployment rate among their fans is. If there was any clear connotation in the name that was unfavorable, they would certainly not name themselves that.

So a better example would be, for example, a financial firm that uses images of grey-haired suited men who look like bankers in its advertising, or a fast-food firm that uses images of young hip black men playing basketball in its advertising, or Viagra ads that specialize in fit, competent looking middle-age men with young beautiful wives. All of which make use of a visual shorthand (a.k.a. "stereotype") for the traits the advertiser wants to emphasize.

If you get passionate about this you're probably either a moron or have way too much time on your hands, as well as almost certainly being grossly hypocritical, because you certainly use and are sensitive to image stereotypes in your own communications. (Just find me a domestic violence hotline with an ad image of a big brawny man crying and holding the hand of a young child carrying a teddy bear, or an ad for a burglar alarm system that has a young black woman in a burglar mask, sneaking up on a house while the family sleeps innocently. What? You're stereotyping? Eeek!)

Cedarford said...

Matt said...
Hmmm... I was not offended by the logos in the poster. But then I don't think those fake logos represent anyone anymore than the Cleveland Indians' logo. I think people take them much more seriously than they should. I also think the Washington Redskins should keep their nickname... but change their logo to a potato

===========
Sounds like an oh, so clever response to contrived moral outrage.
But it is really one of those craven "I know let's please everyone responses"...that just stands pretty clear for all to see as an act of gutless surrender.

lemondog said...

ps...Re: Assyrians, we tend toward big noses so only slight logo modification is needed.......

Gahrie said...

What if the Oregon State Beavers played the South Carolina Gamecocks?

What if it was a triple meet with the USC Trojans?

Eric Jablow said...

My complaint about baseball team names is a bit different. The name of the Los Angeles Dodgers commemorates the greatest act of thievery in the history of American sport. They should change their name to the Brooklyn Dodgers and move back home.

Mark Trade said...

Sensitive liberal types will always point to the "otherness" that these logos typify, whether that otherness is dignified or not. These complaints will not go away for a very long time, if only for the fact that other people are in fact other people.

I would totally accept and embrace "The New York Jews." That looks fun and hilarious.

tmitsss said...

Help me out here is Jews supposed to be offensive?

tmitsss said...

The ''Cocks and the Trojans have played before

Lyle said...

The Cleveland Indians are apparently affectionately named after a Native-American (biracial, I think) ballplayer who starred in Cleveland in the late 19th Century.

Chief Sockalexis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Sockalexis

eddie willers said...

The ''Cocks and the Trojans have played before

And the Trojan's covered.

Archie said...

I was once accosted after a speech by an Indian audience member that accused me of making a derogatory comment about In Indians. I have no idea how she got such an idea but she was indignant. Taken aback I told her than I said no such thing but if I somehow offended her that I apologize. I just recalled that today. I was wrong. So disgruntled Indian Lady if you're out there and read this I'd like to say "eat poop". Thank you.

Scott said...

Randy Newman sings "Rednecks," possibly the most racist song ever written in the 20th century.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OchO-UJcslM

Alejandro Allen said...

Being from Wisconsin how has Bernie the Brewer been overlooked? He has cartoonish features and seems to perpetuate a stereotype as well.

But what do I know.

Alejandro Allen said...

Holy shit. Since I can't edit the previous comment, I present without comment...

Rowdy the Cowboy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowdy_(Dallas_Cowboys)

richard mcenroe said...

You seriously think you couldn't sell a hell of a lot of those two caps...to Jews and Chinese?

Ctmom4 said...

@ Roger Sweeney - isn't that why Tampa changed their name from the Devil Rays to the plain old Rays?

I don't like the Cleveland Indian because he looks too goofy, and that is offensive.

With a hat tip to Jesse jackson, shouldn't it be the NY Hymies?

richard mcenroe said...

Did any of those poor oppressed anti-Redskins redski - er, Native Americans - ever try to finance a farm? There may be some Pigford money left...

richard mcenroe said...

CTMom4 -- The Hebe Hellfires!

richard mcenroe said...

LCB The Fighting Irish...well... that or our ability to riot in NYC and Boston...

David said...

tmitsss said...
Help me out here is Jews supposed to be offensive?


It is if you are anti-Semitic.

David said...

tmitsss said...
Help me out here is Jews supposed to be offensive?


It is if you are anti-Semitic.

n.n said...

What is the standard of proof for claims of racism or more generally prejudice? Does there need to be a reasonable expectation that words, actions, or symbols claimed to be racist or prejudiced will cause harm or injury to an individual, to a group? Does an expectation need to be justified by implied, explicit, or perceived evidence? Who has the burden of proof in such a case? Are such cases brought for the purpose of forming a consensus or settlement?

n.n said...

tmitsss:

Not every Jew wears glasses. Not every Jew features a prominent nose. Those are not even common features... Actually, it's an amusing caricature of how Jews are perceived.

TML said...

That's an ad that's over 12 years old. Devito Verdi did it.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Once when a fellow teacher was on a tear about this, my husband and I suggested that the Atlanta Braves be renamed the Atlanta Carpetbaggers... instead of tomahawks, they could whirl carpetbags over their heads and whoop....

It'd be cute, and help kids learn history!

ddh said...

If the Redskins change anything, it should change the mascot to a redskin potato.

Hail to the Redskins,
Hail victory,
Spuds on the warpath,
Fight for old DC!

Austin said...

Maybe what's lost on the protestors is that a mascot is supposed to represent and celebrate the most positive characteristics and attributes it possesses. Hence, when one sees an Indian mascot (Braves, Indians, Seminoles, Redskins etc.), one is generally supposed to conjure images of a fearless, rugged, resolute warrior. So I don't see the problem. OTOH, I played football at the University of Maryland, where the team mascot is a Terrapin. Sometimes my teammates and I would joke that having a mascot that is slow, clumsy, lethargic, and timid probably does not strike fear into the opponents. So maybe they do have a point.

sojerofgod said...

where can I get a New York Jews cap? I think it is hilarious, and people who get all whipped up and 'offended' are a bunch of Pecksniffian busybodies with too much to think about and too little to do. I am not "of the faith" but so the F. what? I mean, seriously life's too crazy, too hard, brutal nasty & short etc; to worry about such trivialities.

ad hoc said...

Actually, the Redskins could change their name to Pigskins and their logo could be a football. After all, they used to have the Hogs many years ago as part of the team.

Real American said...

here's some context: get over it, losers.

Jason said...

LL,

Take your PC handwringing and shove it.

You know why?

Because you cite the Fighting Sioux as an example of a team with a positive mascot name.

The problem is: Your god-damned sitzpinkling pantiewasted drooling idiot fellow travelers in the NCAA forced the University to give up its logo and mascot name or automatically forfeit all post-season play.

That's right: Your protofascist bastards who can't leave well enough alone destroyed the logo, and are forcing the college to rebrand itself at an immense expense to taxpayers and students.

Yes, even as I, an Irish American, put up with, accepted and even loved the Fighting Irish logo, your hypocritical fucktard buddies kept that more lucrative but more offensive logo while trashing the perfectly respectable Fighting Sioux.

So take your goddamned politically-correct bullshit and shove it. I'm tired of catering to you shits.

Mousebert said...

Well, if we want a name representative of D.C. we should change the the name to the Washington Assholes, or Whiners ...

David said...

Lyle said...
The Cleveland Indians are apparently affectionately named after a Native-American (biracial, I think) ballplayer who starred in Cleveland in the late 19th Century.


That would be nice if true, but some sociologist from Ithaca College did some research that disproved it. She looked at Cleveland newspapers from the time the name was adopted. The player was Louis Sockalexis, who played for Cleveland 1897-99. There was no mention of him in any of the contemporary news stories about selection of the name Indians, which involved a public contest.

Urban legend, or (worse) manangement bullshit.

PeterK said...

national annenberg survey
"Most Indians Say Name of Washington “Redskins” Is Acceptable
While 9 Percent Call It Offensive, Annenberg Data Show"
http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/downloads/political_communication/naes/2004_03_redskins_09-24_pr.pdf

avwh said...

"Yeah, some schools have taken on whimsical names but most don't."

My son went to UC - Merced, the newest UC campus. They had a naming contest and became the "Golden Bobcats".

There is an endangered species near campus, the fairy shrimp. My son & some his friends said they wished the school team mascot/nickname had become the Fairy Shrimp: "Dad, think of the great battles between UC-Merced and UC-Santa Cruz, when the Fairy Shrimp battle the Banana Slugs."

The newer UC schools avoid the traditional fierce nicknames/mascots, needless to say.

Paco Wové said...

"American Indian groups plan to challenge NFL team's name at Metrodome"

"They call Minnesota ground zero for eradicating the use of the Redskins name and team’s logo."

"...the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement asks the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) to refrain from printing or broadcasting the Redskins’ name or logo within the Metrodome during the team’s Nov. 7 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Doing so within a publicly owned facility, they reasoned, violates federal labor laws, hate-speech protections and the civil rights of American Indians."

Larry J said...

Mousebert said...
Well, if we want a name representative of D.C. we should change the the name to the Washington Assholes, or Whiners ...


While the general idea is to not insult your audience, names like the Washington Parasites, Washington Bureaucrats and Washington Idiots come to mind.

Tibore said...

"Larry J said..
I thought the whole idea was to name your team after something that represented characteristics you admire and want to emulate..."


LOL at the University of California Santa Cruz and their Banana Slug mascot! ;)

Roger Sweeny said...

@ ctmomof4,

The team, which had played poorly and drawn poorly, had a new owner who wanted to make a symbolic break from the past. So a new name, new logo, and new team colors (thus also the hope that fans would want to buy new team merchandise).

Even prior to the change, the team was often referred to as the D-Rays or just Rays.

There was no organized campaign to drop the "devil" in the name and no group, religious or otherwise, claimed responsibility, though there had always been people who didn't like that part of the name. Some joked that the devil was responsible for the name change because he was tired of being associated with a losing team.

BTW: One more devil team: the Arizona State University Sun Devils.

Larry J said...

re said...
"Larry J said..
I thought the whole idea was to name your team after something that represented characteristics you admire and want to emulate..."

LOL at the University of California Santa Cruz and their Banana Slug mascot! ;)


Yes, that's why I also said:

Yeah, some schools have taken on whimsical names but most don't.

I think the funny names are great. It shows me they don't take themselves too seriously.

Denise Warner said...

They should replace the Cleveland Indian logo with a caricature of Elizabeth Warren. Waka, waka!

mikeski said...

Levi Starks said:
"In fact how about fundamentalist [C]hristian mascot?"

Like the Wake Forest Demon Deacons? Or is Baptist not a fundamentalist enough flavor of Christian? (I don't know how fundamentalist the Wake-Forest-founding flavor is.)

And speaking of offensive mascots... The "Demon" "Deacons"? The "Servant of the devil" "Christian Clergymen"? That goes a wee bit further than Jews-with-big-noses and Chinamen-with-straw-hats. And further than a cartoon Indian.

But, of course, Irish and Christian are not Democrat-Recognized Grievance Groups, so the Fighting Irish and the Demon Deacons are totally OK!

James Wolf said...

Back in the Doug Williams days, Sports Illustrated was on the 'Ban Inidan team names' bandwagon until they took a poll which showed that most Native Americans were not offended. They dropped the subject.

James Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.