Cleveland, Ohio (Accredited Times) – With a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon, the Cleveland Indians have now won a record 21 straight games. The mark equals the overall win streak of the 1935 Chicago Cubs and bests the former American League record of 20 games, set by the Oakland Athletics in 2002.
Many ordinary sports fans in Cleveland are ecstatic that their team may finally get a chance to lose in the playoffs to a major market team. But the win streak conceals something evil, dark, and very wrong in the Cleveland Indians organization: racism.
As the accredited media has repeatedly instructed us, using Native Americans in team names, mascots, and logos is racist. USA Today has instructed that “[e]verything about the red-hot Cleveland Indians is awesome except their very racist logo.” ESPN similarly has explained that the “caricature of a Native American” is “offensive and racially insensitive.” Sports Illustrated likewise has told us that it’s “time for [the] Indians [and] [Major League Baseball] to get rid of [the] ridiculous and offensive Chief Wahoo.” Chief Wahoo is the name of the cartoon character in the Indians’ logo.
Fundamentally, there is a major problem with the Indians’ logo that makes it deeply racist: Chief Wahoo is smiling. But why would a Native American smile given the history of genocide, prejudice, and smallpox blankets perpetrated by whites? The Cleveland Indians want you to believe that Native Americans are happy-go-lucky baseball fans, just like Louis Sockalexis, a beloved Native American who played outfield for Cleveland from 1897 to 1899 and whose popularity led to the franchise renaming itself the Cleveland Indians. But real Native Americans never smile. The real Chief Wahoo would be crying — not smiling. The real Chief Wahoo would be protesting — not playing baseball.
Fortunately, progressives have gone on a warpath in recent decades against Native American team names. Starting with Dartmouth College and Stanford University in the 1970s, forty-four colleges and universities have changed their team names. Sixteen teams have dumped the name “Indians,” including Dartmouth and Stanford, which changed their names to the “Big Green” and “Cardinal,” respectively. Six teams have dumped the name “Braves.” Three teams have dumped the name “Chiefs.” Two teams have dumped the name “Warriors.” And another two teams have dumped the name “Redskins.”
These same racist names, however, continue to be used by professional sports teams, including the Cleveland Indians (baseball), the Atlanta Braves (baseball), the Kansas City Chiefs (football), the Golden State Warriors (basketball), and the Washington Redskins (football). Although other team names use Caucasian monikers, such as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Minnesota Vikings, and the University of Northern Colorado Fightin’ Whities, it is deeply racist to use the names of People of Color because People of Color are oppressed. Notably, the Cleveland Indians previously were named the “Cleveland Naps” after Caucasian second baseman Nap Lajoie, but Cleveland dumped that name — undoubtedly because Cleveland listened to the whites who complained about the use of the name. Why has the team refused to listen to People of Color who complain about the use of the name “Indians”? Racism.
The Cleveland Indians may have won 21 games straight, but People of Color have lost. It’s time for the Cleveland Indians to rename the team and pay reparations to People of Color.