The Washington Crackers?


Is this offensive?

The time has come to axe the sports team monikers that Native Americans find so offensive.  It’s long overdue.  Slavery, a horrific tradition, lasted hundreds of years too many.  Men-only voting spanned the decades.  To this country’s shame, marriage is scarcely defined as a union between a man and woman.  So, sadly, most traditions, right or hell-fire wrong, as is tradition, come to an end.

It seems the time is tick-tock-tomahawking on The Washington Redskins.  The Cleveland Indians.  Sorry Chief Wahoo.  And other sports franchises as well.

The Washington Redskins have been the Washington Redskins for 80 years.  That the term redskin describes the bloody skin of someone scalped makes the Redskins name as odious as rancid cheese left in a small room on a hot day.  Or, whatever’s worse than that.

Washington-Redskins-logo-has-left-the-buildingIn a recent federal case, the US Patent and Trademark Office said as much.  It ruled the Redskins logo offensive and disparaging to Native Americans and, in a mostly symbolic gesture, cancelled the Washington Redskins trademarks.

The disgust Montel Williams aimed at Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson, for their black-face skit during a roast for the dredlocked comic, rises to the level of disgust that Native Americans and their sympathizers express for the Indians name (coveted since 1915), Chief Wahoo, and others–but the Redskins, in particular.  (Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson, by the way, who were dating at the time, split soon after the massive fallout.  Poor Ted . . . probably couldn’t handle the biting scrutiny.)


“We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER. You can use caps.”

Of course, it would be too easy to point the hatchet at the “redneck peckerwood crackers” because the “redneck peckerwood crackers” are the majority.

However, the very sons and daughters of slaves just happen to love these cackling nasally-challenged crimson-faced clowns as much as the “redneck peckerwood crackers” do.  Channel 5’s Danita Harris, an African American reporter native to Cleveland, Ohio, is a cheerleader—all wahoo—for keeping the Indians name and the Little Red Sambo Chief Wahoo.

Cleveland AIM (American Indian Movement) sued Cleveland Baseball for libel and slander in January of 1972 in an unsuccessful effort to change the Cleveland Indians team name and abolish its shameful and racist dead-Indian-head logo Chief Wahoo.  Every year since 1973, in their Campaign for Dignity, Cleveland AIM has demonstrated at the Cleveland Indians Home Opener.  They come bringing protest signs and awareness.  Reporters like Danita Harris come with video cameras and chat the crowd up.  All parties press repeat the next year.  Nothing changes.

About the Redskins name change

Are you part of the 60 percenters?

Miami University of Ohio, the Ivy League of the Midwest, after realizing it had a moral duty as an institution of learning and enlightenment, hacked the Redskins name and sewed on a new one, the Redhawks, years ago in ‘97 or ‘98.

What’s most disturbing is that once the once-beloved monikers and mascots are all kaput, unless captured shaking their traditional tail feathers, the Native American humble presence, so long disrespected and ignored, may fade to the dusty reservations of our American minds forever.  Sure, we will still have Thanksgiving each year when we remember how they so graciously chose corn-feeding instead of starving their enemy.  We will still have Cher, too.  (Oh, no.  Wait.  Like marriage, the rainbow symbol, men’s clothing, and buzz cuts, the gays have stolen her, too.)

We get it.  It’s an owner thing.  An old-fashioned boss thang.  It’s hard to let go of ownership.  It’s hard to let go of lands teeming with “savages”; teams of strong-bodied people who can make money—like the Clippers; and big-nosed logos on little swatches of fabric on caps and the pockets of shirts.

If this malingering persists, this pretending to be sick runs the risk of proving to those who suspect you potentially are ill that you actually are suffering.  From racism.

It’s past time for America to grow up, grow a heart, and leave the bleeding remains of racism to the ugly past.  Be brave.  It may hurt some at first.  But then it’ll be like ripping a band-aid off a very old but nasty boo boo . . . because you knew this day would come.

Because it’s necessary.

And it’s the right thing to do.

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Comments (2)

  1. Holliday Vann

    It was announced today that Cleveland Baseball will, at last, retire Chief Wahoo. I always thought he was cute, too. But when the people he was “fashioned” after decided he was a misrepresentation of who they believed themselves to be, it was wise to listen and take action.

    My family, like so many others we saw at the games, had begun to wear the generic Cleveland Baseball tee-shirts, etc., to show our support for the team–and our Native American community.

    It won’t be long before Washington Football’s logo is ripped from the shirt sleeves of their fans as well.

    Now that the curse has been lifted, I’m even more hopeful that Cleveland’s Baseball team will bring home a World Series Championship sooner than later. Go team!!!

  2. Holliday Vann

    Congratulations, Cleveland AIM!!! And Native Americans everywhere!!!

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