Last week Scene magazine, Cleveland’s alt-weekly tabloid, published a cover story entitled “The Curse of Chief Wahoo” by Peter Pattakos of the website Cleveland Frowns. The story, which is well worth reading, raises the question: shouldn’t the Cleveland Indians organization rid itself of this symbol, one which is offensive to a great many people, especially the native Americans whom it is ostensibly intended to honor?
IPL co-owner Stephanie Liscio addressed this issue last year in a post for the ESPN SweetSpot. Her verdict: yes, yes, of course Wahoo should be retired. She concluded her post with these words: “There’s visible discomfort with the continued use of this image, and there would be no harm in removing Chief Wahoo and retiring him for good.” I agree completely.
Chief Wahoo was part of my childhood, but then again so was listening to people of my parents’ generation casually refer to people as “wops,” “kikes,” and “shines.” In the last generation or two, this country has made great strides toward reducing racism. Bidding goodbye and good riddance to Chief Wahoo would be another step in the right direction.