A columnist for Sporting News is running a victory lap over the decision by MLB and the Cleveland Indians, to put an end to its use of the decades-old Chief Wahoo mascot.
In his January 29 op-ed, columnist Jason Foster is imploring baseball fans to “Stop being offended by people being offended by Chief Wahoo.” By that he means, he wants people to stop getting mad at people who hate the 63-year-old cartoon mascot, Chief Wahoo.
Foster is tired of the “sensitive types” who get mad at those agitating for the end of Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland mascot that has been around since 1947:
Snowflake. Pinko. Idiot. There are many colorful monikers for people who think the Cleveland mascot is racially insensitive and should go away. And in nearly every instance of these verbal or written barbs, the ol’ chief’s most vigorous defenders are middle-age white people, essentially — but distantly — claiming to hold the monopoly on wisdom and proper judgment in social matters. And Hell hath no fury like a middle-age white person (allegedly) scorned.
Foster went on to lament the new round of “moaning and groaning ” that will surely emerge now that the Indians have firmly decided to retire the logo from its uniforms starting in 2019.
But, Foster has a message for all those who love the Chief:
So let me say this up front, dear fellow white people: We don’t get to decide what’s offensive to another race. Your need for nostalgia or a cool logo does not override another person’s desire to rid the world of dumb, stereotypical imagery. (Note: I’m aware that the chief’s supporters include non-white people. But come on: The loudest pro-Wahoo voices are reliably and overwhelmingly those of white people.)
Foster added that eliminating the racist logo is about “common sense and decency.”
The columnist proceeded to attack whites for imagining that their “emotional thing is a bigger deal than your emotional thing.” He also slammed whites for recently being mad enough to launch a boycott over holiday coffee cups, and scolded whites for not caring if the Indians’ logo upset “people of another race.”
Working up to his best level of “wokeness,” Foster insisted that “people who aren’t part of the offended class don’t get to declare something not offensive.”
In conclusion, the “sports” columnist had a warning for white people:
So, white people, if Native Americans say Chief Wahoo is offensive, don’t tell them he’s not. If they say they don’t like the Braves’ tomahawk chop, don’t call them crazy. If they want a new name for the Redskins (or Indians, or Braves), don’t give them grief.
“Stay in your lane, fellow white folks,” Foster warned. “These aren’t your truths to determine.”
However, despite these proclamations from white columnist Jason Foster, who insists Native Americans find the Chief Wahoo and other Indian-themed mascots to be “racist,” few polls on such mascots substantiate that claim. Indeed, only two years ago the Washington Postfound that nine in ten people who claim Indian heritage were not offended at all by the other proclaimed “racist” sports team name, the Washington Redskins.
Still, after the announcement of the end of the Chief, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat, was exultant:
The decision by the Cleveland Indians to retire Chief Wahoo from team uniforms is wonderful news for the city. I applaud the team’s decision to show the city, nation, and world that Cleveland is an inclusive place that values all diversity – in this case showing greater honor to our nation’s first people by retiring the Wahoo mascot from uniforms.
So, after more than 60 years, it’s goodbye to Chief Wahoo.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.