I realize that I am likely in the minority with my opinion on this, but I wanted to share my reasons for why the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team should keep their classic Chief Wahoo figure in their brand. Here are my reasons why they should keep big red around:
1. He’s a Caricature
The caricature aspects of Chief Wahoo are where most criticizers of the logo take offense, from the red color of his face to the ceremonial feather- many Native Americans and other protesters have stated that these elements create a racist depiction of the Native American man. The problem here is that’s exactly what a caricature is, an over exaggerated portrait taking someone’s most extreme feature and putting them on display, of which none of these extreme feature are intentionally offensive or negative towards the Native American people.
2. Double Standards
There are plenty of professional sports logos with stereotypical depictions of groups of people, like.. The Minnesota Vikings, The Oakland (Los Vegas, Los Angeles..) Raiders, The New England Patriots, The Boston Celtics, etc. None of these brands are under the same scrutiny as Chief Wahoo.
3. Diminishing Free Speech
I fully support making voluntary adjustments to our culture to prevent hurting other human beings, but this modern PC culture is making free speech more and more limited. With things like YouTube losing ad revenue over a minority of videos appearing on questionable content, it’s getting harder to speak your mind or create content without incidentally offending someone, and losing money in the process. This scandal shows the acceptable line being moved closer and closer making it more difficult for creative freedom to be a public right.
4. Erasing History
This goes in line with historic media outlets removing things such as the swastika and confederate flag from movies, games, and publications. There seems to be a movement to get rid of offensive history in an attempt to clean house and prevent symbols believed to be hurtful from appearing in popular culture. Due to the rough history with the forming of the United States, the naming “Indians” and imagery Chief Wahoo has brought many people to question whether a brand update is necessary. In this specific instance however there is nothing in the depiction of Cheif Wahoo that relates to the conflict between the original settlers and the Native Americans apart from the nomenclature “Indians”.
I get why people are questioning the logo- that’s totally fair, and their rights as an American, but I don’t think Chief Wahoo was ever intended to offend or stereotype anyone, and is deserving of another chance and at place in Cleveland and in the hearts of fans.