Writer Breaks Down Why Whites Can’t Be Offended By A Baseball Team Retiring Its Logo

“Stay in your lane, fellow white folks. These aren’t your truths to determine.”

Major League Baseball announced that the Cleveland Indians will drop the Chief Wahoo logo from on-field use in 2019, three years after it stopped using the controversial image as its main logo. And though the news was commended by Native American advocates — many of whom had long protested the mascot and its negative stereotypes — some die-hard fans are protesting the change.


In a strong statement of allyship, however, Sporting News MLB Editor Jason Foster told his "fellow white folks" to "Stop Being Offended by People Being Offended by Chief Wahoo" in an op-ed by that name published on January 29. Here are five of his main arguments:

1. Those protesting the change are often those of privilege.

"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," Foster wrote. "And Hell hath no fury like a middle-age white person (allegedly) scorned."

Granted, Foster does acknowledge there are some supporters of the original logo who aren't White. "But come on," he said. "The loudest pro-Wahoo voices are reliably and overwhelmingly those of white people."

2. The oppressed should be the arbiter of what’s offensive.

"White people don't get to decide what's offensive to people of other races," Foster asserted. "Your need for nostalgia or a cool logo does not override another person's desire to rid the world of dumb, stereotypical imagery."

3. The Cleveland Indians themselves support the change

"While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I'm ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred's desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019," Cleveland Chief Executive Paul Dolan said in a statement released by the MLB, as Foster noted.

4. The change is more about common sense, not political correctness

"Think about it," Foster said. "By using the nickname 'Indians,' Cleveland's use of Chief Wahoo is essentially saying, 'This is an Indian. This is what they look like,' which makes it easy to understand why someone would find such a stereotyped caricature offensive."

5. This same logic applies elsewhere, too.

The Cleveland Indians weren't the only sports team perpetuating stereotypes about Native Americans — the Washington Redskins are still called the Washington Redskins, after all — but Foster said we have to honor the offense expressed by any demographic.

"If a majority of Native Americans is offended over a name or a mascot, non-Native Americans don't get to dismiss that. Same goes for any other race, religion or nationality," he wrote. "Stay in your lane, fellow white folks. These aren't your truths to determine."


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