Mixed Messages

Anyone else see a problem with this?


HT: Baseball Analysts

55 comments… add one
  • Yeah, come to think of it, that’s f#cked up, eh?
    And the hands on the statue look like Mickey Mouse gloves.

    Devine July 14, 2008, 12:31 am
  • the classic part is the travis haffner booble head available via the link!
    all tough we don’t throw at .217 hitters, we will make a booble head out of you.

    sf rod July 14, 2008, 4:56 am
  • What’s offensive: the fact that it’s a native american portrayed on the statue of liberty, or the fact that there’s ANY design on the statue of liberty in the first place?
    It’s too early in the morning to decide how I feel about this issue. Coffee will help.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 8:03 am
  • They are also selling statue of liberty All-Star bobble heads at the stadium. I guess there is no end to what you can turn into merchandise or for that matter a bobble head.

    John - YF July 14, 2008, 8:47 am
  • Ath, I don’t think Paul is referring to the fact that a Native American is on the SoL (really, who cares what ethnic group is emblazoned across the monument, it is a symbol of freedom after all), but rather that the “image” of a Native American is a cartoony and sterotypical caricature of an American Indian, a ‘redskin’. That picture is about as representative of a “Native American” as Amos’n’Andy were of African Americans. To me (not a Native American, so I can’t rightfully speak on behalf of an entire ethnicity) it is unintentionally ironic and somewhat offensive.

    SF July 14, 2008, 9:57 am
  • “Anyone else see a problem with this?”
    What, usurping a national icon for commercial gain?
    Or her red face for a team called the Indians?
    Speaking of which, any one know where the term redskin comes from? After heads were scalped for a bounty, the “cowboys” dried them by hanging them from their saddle. In the sun, the skin tanned a deep reddish hue.
    God bless America! Go baseball!

    A YF July 14, 2008, 10:04 am
  • The problem is that when immigrants from Europe began “Indians” (Native Americans) hardly got to participate in the freedoms for which the Statue stands.

    Anonymous July 14, 2008, 10:05 am
  • The fact that there’s an offensive, racist logo plastered on a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The name is particularly amazing: Chief Wahoo.
    I like Alan Woods’ (Joy of Sox) method of dealing with the Indians’ mascot/nickname: Refuse to use it and call them by their original name — the Spiders — instead.

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 10:08 am
  • What, there can only be one problem with that image?
    Indeed, the mascot is the least offensive thing to me. I mean, once you accept that a team can be called the “Indians”, then why not a Mascot called “Chief Wahoo”?
    Why not a team called the Niggers? Or the Kikes from Brooklyn? Once we accept those names, we could have a lot of fun with the mascots.

    A YF July 14, 2008, 10:20 am
  • Yeah SF, the reason I asked was because there has been public outrage against every organization that uses native americans as their “mascot” for a while now(with the exception of the Florida State Seminoles, who are fully supported by the existing tribes). Seeing Paul mention it now, with specific mention of the Statue of Liberty, is what made me curious.
    Interestingly enough, last year the University of Illinois got rid of their mascot Chief Illiniwek. He used a 100% authentic headdress, and had the backing (and teaching) of most of the existing local tribes. He would perform at halftime shows at basketball and football games, and it was always tasteful and respectful.
    So that gets banned, but racist images like the Indians and Redskins continue exist.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 10:48 am
  • I don’t think it’s inherently racist or offensive to have a nickname like “Indians,” particularly if (and I’m not sure this is true) it’s named after a prominent American Indian athlete who starred for the team, as is often claimed in Cleveland’s case. There are cases like the Seminoles and others where such nicknames and mascots have been used respectfully and with the backing of local tribes. The word itself is a misnomer, yes, but one that was applied hundreds of years ago and has not generally been used as a derogatory name, like “Redskin” or other offensive words (besides, what other terms can you use? “Native American” isn’t bad, but it’s also overbroad, as anyone born on either of two continents is also a “native American,” and I assume that includes most of the posters here). Likewise, it’s a group of people many of whom were known for their courage and fierceness, so I don’t see it as much different from, say, “Cowboys” or “Rangers” or “Yankees” (which actually does have an origin as a slur).
    The problem comes when you delve into the cartoonish stereotypical mascots, chanting war whoops and this kind of nonsense. Chief Wahoo is far and away the most egregious example, and it’s a shame that MLB has yet to rectify something that should have died with segregation. Even more of a shame that it promotes that trash on the Statue of Liberty — which has long been a symbol (not necessarily an accurate one, but hey) of America’s generosity and fairness to people of all races — during the All-Star weekend.

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 11:05 am
  • Agreed Paul, I can’t stand the cartoonish portrayal that Indians use. The term “Indian” has actually been accepted by most tribes as inoffensive, but “Redskin” is extremely offense and is a racial slur that Native Americans still abhor today. I never had a problem with the term “Indians”, sorry if I didn’t make that clear.
    William & Mary, a prominent school around these parts, was told by the NCAA a few years back that they were banned from all bowl games unless they changed their school from the “Tribe” to something less offensive. I find it extremely hypocritical of the NCAA to go after schools where the offense is very slight as opposed to large offenders.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 11:14 am
  • One can argue that what is offensive is a very subjective matter, but Chief Wahoo is undoubtedly a cartoonish and oafish depiction of a population that was all but eradicated in this country.
    As such he is barely one step removed from the despicable “Tin Tin in the Congo” cartoon depictions of Africans that reveal, more than anything, the unadulterated racism in Belgium toward what was still a colony of theirs when those cartoons were originally printed in 1930-31.
    I mean, c’mon – is large-toothed bright-red-faced Wahoo any better than the image here:
    (sorry – I don’t know how to make a clean web-link from a comment as opposed to a post)
    How can you justify still playing under that logo? Even if you don’t think it should be offensive, what is the great principle on which you are standing when you persist in using such ugly imagery, knowing that to many, it is? I don’t get it at all.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • In all fairness IH, that book was published in 1931. It would never be allowed today.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 12:09 pm
  • My bad, I didn’t see that you had already mentioned it was published then. That’s what I get for jumping to the link before reading all of your comment!

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 12:09 pm
  • Atheose – no problem at all. The dated nature of that book was exactly the reason I referenced it. It’s like some of the Looney Tunes cartoons that are shocking by today’s standards in terms of their depictions of some minorities (esp. as they are children’s material). To have a mascot in the modern era that is eactly of the same kind of caricatured nature as those very dated cartoons is kind of sad.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 12:16 pm
  • I’m the first person to preach against too much political correctness, but the Indians logo is too offensive to let slide.
    In my area a few years ago a group called Mothers Against Offensive Programming tried to get the following cartoons censored from television:
    -Bugs Bunny skits where he kisses Elmer Fudd on the lips or cross-dresses (promotes homosexuality)
    -All Speedy Gonzalez cartoons (stereotype)
    -All Road Runner-Cayote skits (extreme violence)
    -All Pepe LePew episodes (promotes sexual harrassment and rape)
    Of course these requests were denied outright for several reasons, but it shows how people’s priorities are messed up.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 12:26 pm
  • Sidenote: MAOP is the worst accronym in the history of shitty accronyms.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 12:27 pm
  • > as they are children’s material
    They became so later on in television syndication, but Warner Bros. and other animated shorts were originally targeted at adults.

    attackgerbil July 14, 2008, 12:30 pm
  • African Americans “accepted” Negro for a long time too. Indeed, there’s a whole league named after “them”.
    So nothing wrong with “Negro” then! Start the Harlem Negros franchise! With Blackie the Bowtied Monkey! Buy watermelon and fried chicken from the vendor!
    To be honest though, I have no problem with Seminoles. There it seems to be an honest attempt to honor the local tribe, even if it didn’t start that way.
    Still, the thought of “honoring” a people decimated by genocide and concentration is worse than sickening, especially with the long-standing problems of those communities to this day. At least some now have casinos!

    A YF July 14, 2008, 12:33 pm
  • I’d vote for a ban on the Pepe le Pew cartoons simply because of the many unbelievably classic cartoons to come out of the Looney Tunes never-ending well of creativity, the Le Pew series was arguably the least entertaining!

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 12:33 pm
  • A YF it is frankly hard to tell from your comments here whether you are bothered by the racist stereotypes we are discsusing or tickled at the apparent license that the topic of this thread has given you to throw out a few of your own. Enough with the hypothetical racist team names, give-aways, and mascots please.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 12:40 pm
  • “Enough with the hypothetical racist team names, give-aways, and mascots please.”
    Ah yes, then when folks get uncomfortable with the topic it’s better to stop highlighting the hypocrisy of it all. Shhhhhhh! Only the absurdity of “Chief Wahoo” here. Hoooohoooohoooohoooo!
    If you can’t figure out where I stand then you haven’t been reading.

    A YF July 14, 2008, 12:46 pm
  • “If you can’t figure out where I stand then you haven’t been reading”
    Actually, I do tend to skip over your comments on this blog so you may have something there.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 12:54 pm
  • > it’s better to stop highlighting the hypocrisy of it all
    It isn’t a question of “where you stand.” There is an unsubtle difference between decrying the hypocrisy and reveling in the farce.

    attackgerbil July 14, 2008, 12:54 pm
  • -All Road Runner-Cayote skits (extreme violence)
    Pssh. That’s nothing. I saw an early Bugs Bunny cartoon where a guy actually shoots himself in the head. Puts the gun to his head, squeezes the trigger, big explosion, he’s against the wall with tongue hanging out and eyes closed. Most amazingly unexpected thing I’ve EVER seen in a cartoon.

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 12:55 pm
  • /insert over-the-top “woe is me” defensive statement by AYF

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 12:58 pm
  • “There is an unsubtle difference between decrying the hypocrisy and reveling in the farce.”
    So say you. Yet, there’s still the Cleveland Indians with mascot “Chief Wahoo” but no Harlem Negros with “Blackie the Monkey”.
    I see no difference between the two, especially not argued in this thread. The offensiveness doesn’t begin and end with a mascot as some here are saying. In both it’s the trivialization of an entire people by making them shills for a commercial enterprise.
    At least we still have Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.

    A YF July 14, 2008, 1:00 pm
  • I find it ironic more than anything else. Maybe this is a bit heavy for YFSF, but here’s how I see it:
    – We seize their land, kill their men, rape their women. (Manifest Destiny)
    – Our Constitution declares that “all men are created equal” — except for Blacks, Native Americans, the Irish, Jews, women, and any other minority group I’m forgetting.
    – The Statue of Liberty is erected and comes to stand for America’s acceptance of the world’s “tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” (still, all those minority groups are denied rights, oppressed, or worse)
    – Athletic teams begin adopting Native American-related names, despite the absence of any NA presence in most sports.
    – A huge, stereotypical, red Native American face is plastered across the Statue of Liberty and sold for a profit.
    Now, I’m no Native American activist, but how much of the MLB’s profits on this item are returning to the tribes? Will folks buy this “cute item” without acknowledging the irony therein while continuing to deny / downplay the horrible treatment of indigenous peoples?
    Some things — even when they are supposedly approved by tribes in the area (whatever that means) — are just not right.

    Steve H. July 14, 2008, 1:01 pm
  • “absence of any NA presence in most sports”
    I can’t recall any prominant NA athletes before the rise of Joba and Ellsbury. I’m sure I must be neglecting some. Am I?

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 1:07 pm
  • Some things — even when they are supposedly approved by tribes in the area (whatever that means) — are just not right.
    The Seminole Tribes in Florida all agree that the Florida State portrayal of them is done tastefully and respectfully, and keeps their culture alive. Their opinion is the only one that matters with regards to that.
    A portrayal is only bad if it offends the people it’s portraying. You don’t see people getting upset at Notre Dame’s mascot do you? It negatively portrays the Irish as violent drunks, but because most Irishmen (like myself) are not offended it’s okay.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 1:09 pm
  • IH, Jim Thorpe is the only one I can think of.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • > NA athletes
    Jim Thorpe, Billy Mills.

    attackgerbil July 14, 2008, 1:14 pm
  • How could I have forgotten Thorpe? Good call Atheose. One of the greatest athletes of all time.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 1:14 pm
  • sorry ath.. didn’t see your comment.

    attackgerbil July 14, 2008, 1:19 pm
  • It’s okay IH, we all love you even though you’re an obvious racist and bigot.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 1:23 pm
  • “we all love you even though you’re an obvious racist and bigot” And I thought I had you all fooled…

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 1:30 pm
  • While I agree it’s offensive and should be retired, I’ve always kinda liked the Wahoo logo strictly from a design standpoint. A couple years ago as a gag I created an alternate version of Wahoo where I made him look like Gandhi. Still offensive, but at least more accurate.
    Ath, I’m part Irish and I hate the ND logo, and the Celtic’s logo too. Not nearly as offensive as Wahoo or the Redskins, obviously. (I dislike Celtics as a name also, I’d much prefer them to be the Celts or even singular Celtic, with a hard “c”. Celtic is an adjective, not a noun.)

    ricelynnevans July 14, 2008, 1:35 pm
  • Well I’m sorry you feel that way rice, though I certainly understand why you’re offended. However the fact remains that the vast majority of Irish Americans are not offended. If they were there would be far more public outrage or requests to remove the logos.

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 1:40 pm
  • Ath
    I agree, and I’m not really offended as much as I just don’t like them. I think the general acceptance of these logos has a lot to do with the historical oppression and genocide that Native peoples faced as opposed to Irish-Americans. Taken on their face, they are just as much caricatures as Wahoo. Also the fact that both ND and the Celtics logos were intended to represent their players/fanbase (like the Minnesota Vikings) plays a big part.

    ricelynnevans July 14, 2008, 1:53 pm
  • Fantastic post, Steve. Thanks.

    A YF July 14, 2008, 2:03 pm
  • Going back to the issue of the MLB insignias being on the Statue of Liberty in the first place: It’s disappointing that Baseball even put themselves in this situation by picking the Statue to be the canvas for this promotion. Are there no other NYC icons that would be even more appropriate? The Statue, with its textured surface, doesn’t exactly make for a comfortable fit cramming the team logos and colors on it. The Empire State Building would have been a much better choice on at least two levels.

    Anonymous July 14, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • That was me.

    FenSheaParkway July 14, 2008, 2:17 pm
  • SF July 14, 2008, 2:18 pm
  • Ron Darling is part native Hawaiian. I know that’s different ancestrally than Native American, but it’s similar demographically.

    FenSheaParkway July 14, 2008, 2:24 pm
  • IH, there have also been several NHLers of NA heritage. I think Chris Simon is one, and Ted Nolan (a coach) another. There are more, I believe.

    SF July 14, 2008, 2:26 pm
  • Louis Sockalexis, the Cleveland Spiders outfielder who is said to have been the inspiration for the Indians nickname. How true that is I don’t know, seeing as how Sockalexis was in the minors by the time the Cleveland AL team opened in 1901, and the Indians nickname wasn’t chosen until 1914.
    Here’s what Wiki says:
    “With Lajoie gone, the Naps now needed a new nickname. Somers asked the local newspapers to come up with a new name, and they chose “Indians.” Legend has it that the team honored Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. Sockalexis, a Native American, had played in Cleveland 1897–99. Research indicates that this legend is mostly untrue, and that the new name was a play on the name of the Boston Braves, then known as the “Miracle Braves” after going from last place on July 4 to a sweep in the 1914 World Series. Proponents of the name acknowledged that the Cleveland Spiders of the National League had sometimes been informally called the “Indians” during Sockalexis’ short career there, a fact which merely reinforced the new name.”

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 2:29 pm
  • FTR: One of these awful statues is standing in front of the Grace Building, on 42nd Street between 5th and 6th. You can see it from the side entrance of the NYPL. I kept an eye on it for 10 minutes as i scarfed down my lunch. Exactly one person stopped to investigate. About 20 feet away, a line of Sex-in-the-City types spilled out of “Crumbs.” a cupcake shop popular with the office crowd set.

    YF July 14, 2008, 2:31 pm
  • SF – you are “The Source”. Tx.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 2:32 pm
  • It doesn’t sound like anyone’s clamoring to pay their respects to any of these crappy effigies, but in case you’re curious about which corners around town received this “honor”, MLB.com has a map: http://tinyurl.com/5sm25k
    I’ve managed to bump into only one of them so far: the Chicago White Sox one in Union Square. It was startling.

    FenSheaParkway July 14, 2008, 2:50 pm
  • Anybody seen whether the Red Sox one remains intact?

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 2:55 pm
  • What? There are two NYY statues? That’s 100% more NYY statues than Red Sox statues!

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 3:13 pm
  • That’s OK, Ath. The Red Sox have 117 percent more All-Stars. ;-)

    Paul SF July 14, 2008, 3:16 pm
  • Well played sir!

    Atheose July 14, 2008, 3:26 pm
  • Actually there are 4.33 Yankee statues to the 1 for the RS. Apparently they calculated by WS championships or something.
    (Sorry, but the exchange re: relative # of Sox/Yanks all-starts was making me want to hurl)
    Actually, the Blue Jays statue is 2 blocks from where I live and on my way to work so I’ve been passing it daily.

    IronHorse (yf) July 14, 2008, 3:47 pm

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