Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

Shed some light on offensive team names


PaulRigdon

I do not mean for this to start some political war that is going to get locked but why do people find it offensive that teams are named after Native American Tribes?

 

My personal view is that I have a lot of pride in my sports teams as I am sure everyone on this board does. So why would it be named in a derogatory way. It should be a sense of pride as well as a way to be represented and remembered. I could see if the team was full of wife beaters or something but otherwise...

 

If someone could shed some light on this I would greatly appreciate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

My understanding has always been that tribes do not like the use and marketing of their heritage for commercial means, especially when they do not have control over it.

 

I can certainly understand people not wanting their bloodline being represented by Chief Wahoo.

 

I also think it is ridiculous for people that aren't Native American to define "what is offensive", and I think Native Americans are irked by other people telling them what they should and should not find offensive.

 

We find pride in our sports teams, but that cannot be compared to the heritage of a people that have had a pretty violent history these last 200-300 years. There probably are not a lot of Native Americans walking around today that are not too many generations removed from either being forced from their homes at best, or violent deaths at the worse. Seeing the typical baseball fan spend $100s of dollars on tickets/shirts/plastic tomahawks, and drunkenly spewing "Go Tribe" -- is probably a very bitter pill to swallow for someone whose great-grandparents were herded onto a reservation.

 

That said, I think the PC gets taken to far. If a tribe and university are able to work together where the tribe feels suitably compensated and represented, I think the gov't or NCAA should butt out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FTC, I think you hit it right on the head. I've always figured that it had a lot to do with the fact that it wasn't the Native Americans themselves who named the teams, and initially most of the mascots and associated images/cheers were quite insensitive (for example, the 'Tomahawk Chop' or 'Chief Wahoo!'). It amounted to your identity being taken by outsiders, treated solely as a way to make money. That's pretty offensive. Sometimes I wonder what the deal is with the Fighting Irish. I'm Irish in heritage, and I went to ND for grad school. I think the issue there is that it was Irish Catholics who chose to use the name, and the "fighting" is used to symbolize toughness in the face of adversity which the Irish really felt. The fact that it might be understood differently (speaking to the stereotype of the drunken, violent Irishman) by outsiders only adds to the pride "the Irish" take in the mascot. It's as though only an insider knows the true meaning - in this case it's the cooptation and reimagination of a stereotype. Clearly, in the case of teams like the Cleveland Indians or the Washington Redskins there were not Native Americans on the inside when the teams were named, and it's the history and identity of a people being used without their consent. However, I think it's unfair to say that every team with a mascot referencing Native Americans was named with less than pure intentions. This is especially the case at the college level, where often the intent is to honor a region's history. Nonetheless, if the naming occurs without the participation of the native tribe, an honorable intention might still be interpreted as the misappropriation of sacred tradition and history. You can understand why that would be offensive.

 

All that said, the Stanford Cardinal just doesn't make any sense. Your name is a color but your symbol is a tree? Too postmodern for me.

You may run like Mays...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My grandmother grew up on the reservation in Red Cliff and I'm a member of the Red Cliff tribe. Personally, I don't mind team names like the "Indians" or named after certain tribes. The only team name I really don't like is the "Redskins" since it's a derogatory and could be likened to the "n-word," when it was in its most prevalent use. Now it's not considered as derogatory since it's a team name but at one point, it was very offensive. Another thing I don't like is things like the "tomahawk chop" and people doing "Indian calls." That kind of stuff gets to be offensive. I admit that it has gone a bit far as it seems people want to get rid of any Indian-related team name. As long as the Indians represented by the team name/mascot don't go overboard, I really don't have a problem with it.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That said, I think the PC gets taken to far
We the hops enigneers & specialist at Samuel Adams ale & loggers take displeasure in the Milwaukee Brewer name & the Burnie Brewer symbol. We are not a bunch of dumb oafs with unruly hair cuts that slide down slides & wave flags when our team hits a home run. We would appreciate a name change immeidatly.

 

 

In a related story the high seas business men & entreprenuers express displeasure with the Pirate logo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My grandmother grew up on the reservation in Red Cliff and I'm a member of the Red Cliff tribe. Personally, I don't mind team names like the "Indians" or named after certain tribes. The only team name I really don't like is the "Redskins" since it's a derogatory and could be likened to the "n-word," when it was in its most prevalent use. Now it's not considered as derogatory since it's a team name but at one point, it was very offensive. Another thing I don't like is things like the "tomahawk chop" and people doing "Indian calls." That kind of stuff gets to be offensive. I admit that it has gone a bit far as it seems people want to get rid of any Indian-related team name. As long as the Indians represented by the team name/mascot don't go overboard, I really don't have a problem with it.

My roommate is a member of an Ojibwe tribe up north, and we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. From what i understand, you opinion is the general consensus. Names like "Warriors", or FSU's use of the name Seminole isn't offensive(most tribes are proud of the usage). But using obviously racist names like Redskins and stuff like the Indian Calls are.

 

I also think it is ridiculous for people that aren't Native American to define "what is offensive", and I think Native Americans are irked by other people telling them what they should and should not find offensive.

 

I agree 100% FTJ. IMO, we(and by we, i mean white people/non Native Americans) have no right to say if it's offensive or not. That's just not up to us.

( '_')

 

( '_')>⌐■-■

 

(⌐■-■)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Chief Wahoo is offensive to me, and I have no native blood in me.

 

If the caricature were of an African American man, it might hit a little closer to home. It's just that we've had so very many absurd representations of Native Americans in comics, illustrations & cartoons that Chief Wahoo just seems to fit in with the standard issue Narive American depiction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess my attitude on it is that if there was such organized outrage over these names, they'd be changed by now. If the majority of American Indians are apathetic, or just not enraged enough to really make a statement, then I shouldn't be.

 

Don't get me started on "Warriors" though.... Completely unoffensive with a non-Indian logo.

 

I'm really offended by the Flying Dutchmen and the Fighting Irish though. One down, one to go. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/wink.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as the Indians represented by the team name/mascot don't go overboard, I really don't have a problem with it.

 

Please do me a favor and answer the question my post poses. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

 

 

If the caricature were of an African American man, it might hit a little closer to home. It's just that we've had so very many absurd representations of Native Americans in comics, illustrations & cartoons that Chief Wahoo just seems to fit in with the standard issue Narive American depiction.

 

You mean like this one?

 

 

http://z.about.com/d/cleveland/1/0/X/U/-/-/logo2.jpg

This was my dad's favorite MLB logo growing up; he just thought it was so cool. My dad is extremely conscious of p.c.-ness (for lack of a better term), caucasian, and probably one of the first people that'd agree that American Indians have every right to be offended by the exploitation of their history for team gear. It's always a bit startling to me to remember that this is still the official image the Cleveland Indians put out there. I'd love to hear others' feelings on this. I have no problem with their team name, and the logo doesn't offend me personally. But isn't this akin to having a team named the Cleveland Negroes with the following as a logo?

http://www.scurvoriginalz.com/image/29937639.jpg

 

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Good post, TLB. . .

First off, I want to repeat that my point on the Indians and Chief Wahoo are that I find that representation offensive--both in name and imagery. Their logo in the early part of the 20th century was even moreso. . .
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/OldClevelandIndiansLogo.jpg

And if the name and logo were an African American, there would be a nationwide cry to change the name and logo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to high school in Menomonie and this issue came up when i was in HS. They voted to change our name from the Menomonie Indians to the Menomonie Mustangs. A few years later that decision was reversed. However we did stop using the Indian logo as our symbol and now they use the "flying" M. I never found it offensive and most in the community didnt either. Its just those few PC crazies who are trying to make a name for themselves.

 

Edit: just did a google search and see it has came up again as of 2 weeks ago.

 

http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news.asp?id=BGBKIUNQC3B

Formerly AirShuttle6104
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never found it offensive and most in the community didnt either. Its just those few PC crazies who are trying to make a name for themselves.

 

PC crazies? It's that mentality that leads to so many bitter feelings. There are literally thousands of people who work against logos like those discussed in this thread... guess since they're offended, their opinions don't matter? Is it surprising that a community (Menomonie) that's 94% white (appx. 3% American Indian) wasn't offended? Sheesh! Oh... but since there's a greater number of ignorant white people, that makes them correct.

 

 

First off, I want to repeat that my point on the Indians and Chief Wahoo are that I find that representation offensive--both in name and imagery. Their logo in the early part of the 20th century was even moreso. . .

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/OldClevelandIndiansLogo.jpg


And if the name and logo were an African American, there would be a nationwide cry to change the name and logo.

 

 

Great point, esp. in that last sentence, Jim. This notion that American Indians are just crazy wacko libby tree-huggers (or whatever) to be upset that their heritage is exploited is just plain preposterous.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this opinion has been stated, but I think what it boils down to is that if the group of people the team is named after doesn't feel offended, then the name should stand. If it does feel offended, then pick a new name. Seems pretty obvious to me, I guess.

It's not obvious when politics are involved. What's so offensive about Warriors? I think they held Marquette for ransom (Valley Fields).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a fine line...I think the controversy over the "Warriors" name was a little over the top. A "Warrior" could be anything, really, not necessarily having any Native American connotations.

 

As far as the Indians...I don't think the name itself is likely what most Native Americans would find offensive (I'm not trying to speak for them, of course). The word Indian is extremely generic and could denote any one of a number of nations worldwide. I could see the logo being something to take issue with...but, really, I just view it as a cartoon. I really doubt too many people in 2008 see that logo and think "Well, that's what most of them Indians look like." If some team had a name like "The Caucasians" and had a smiling white guy as the logo, I would probably just laugh at it.

 

We also have to remember in any issue like this, that the viewpoints of activists do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population in question.

The Paul Molitor Statue at Miller Park: http://www.facebook.com/paulmolitorstatue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We also have to remember in any issue like this, that the viewpoints of activists do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population in question.

This is a great point.

 

 

FSU's use of the name Seminole isn't offensive(most tribes are proud of the usage).

 

I just wanted to re-visit this. IIRC, the Seminole tribe that sued FSU most recently is actually based in Oklahoma, and they sued bc they weren't getting a piece of the cash-pie that FSU reaps with the logo/name. Again, iirc, the Seminole tribe(s) in FLA were groovy with the nickname, since it meant/means kickback.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never been a big fan of using non-specific Indian names (ie, Indians and Redskins) for team sports names because if you substitute other groups into that space, it sounds bad and doesn't even make sense. Like, "The Cleveland African-Americans" or "The Washington Mexicans" - it's a dumb, slippery slope.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mind team names like the "Indians" or named after certain tribes. The only team name I really don't like is the "Redskins" since it's a derogatory and could be likened to the "n-word," when it was in its most prevalent use.

 

So true for the life of me I can't understand why that name is still in use today. The term was used in as derogatory a way as could be imagined. It was primarily used by those who hunted and killed native americans and was done as a way of dehumanizing them in order to clear the conscience of those doing the killing.

 

We also have to remember in any issue like this, that the viewpoints of activists do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population in question.

 

This is the flip side of the issue. Those who chose to be offended by everything end up making the case for such derogatory terms as redskins to be minimized.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So true for the life of me I can't understand why that name is still in use today. The term was used in as derogatory a way as could be imagined. It was primarily used by those who hunted and killed native americans and was done as a way of dehumanizing them in order to clear the conscience of those doing the killing.

 

Historians have actually debunked that origin of the term. Apparently, it simply comes from a tribe that categorized themselves as redskins while the foreigners were whiteskins.

link

The name is wrong, and people who oppose it keep perpetuating what seems to be an urban legend. Why not just stick to the truth "it offends us", that should be enough.

 

 

I think the controversy over the "Warriors" name was a little over the top. A "Warrior" could be anything, really

 

Yeah, I don't get why they didn't just keep the name and change the logo to a white guy with a sword and shield.

 

Related to my previous post, do most people know that Vikings did not have horns on their helmets? They misrepresent and mischaracterize us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not obvious when politics are involved. What's so offensive about Warriors? I think they held Marquette for ransom (Valley Fields).

The problem with names like Warriors, Indians, Red-Raiders, is that they simplify a people. No longer are there diffrences between the various Native American/First Nations peoples because all of them were great fighthers, right? That is a major issue. Is it really honoring these groups to ignore their deep history, and accomplishments, in order to deem them groups that fought well?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with what most people are saying about specific tribes--if they're ok with it, what's the big deal.

 

However, I have no idea how the NFL still allows a team to be called the "Redskins." This, along with the Cleveland Indians' logo, is openly racist. I don't even see how anyone could attempt to deny it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with what most people are saying about specific tribes--if they're ok with it, what's the big deal.

 

However, I have no idea how the NFL still allows a team to be called the "Redskins." This, along with the Cleveland Indians' logo, is openly racist. I don't even see how anyone could attempt to deny it.

What incentive do they have to change it? The fans continue to pour money into the team, so it must not bother them too much...in fact, a change would probably lead to some outrage. Those who would be happy about a name change are people who probably aren't fans of the team, or even the sport. If everybody who protests an offensive team nickname/mascot went out and bought a season ticket as soon as the name was changed, things might be different.

 

Let's say that one day, Notre Dame changes their nickname to not offend the Irish. Would there be a lot of pissed off fans? Absolutely. Would every Irish person in the country jump right on the season ticket waiting list, and watch the Notre Dame Wildcats play every Saturday? Doubtful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

×
×
  • Create New...