A few weeks ago I authored a post about an ESPN commentator wearing a t-shirt on television that featured “Caucasians” written in the fashion of the Cleveland Indians’ logo. It was worn to make a statement and start a discussion about sports teams using Native American inspired logos–one I believe is worth having.
Internally, our editor Giannine, GTHU founder Lavoisier, and myself discussed whether these sports teams should drop the logos and rid themselves of the politically correct pressure to do so. I asserted that if Native Americans are actually offended, then yeah, they should. Giannine actually is an American Indian, and asserted that she isn’t offended by them at all. As much as I hold her opinion in a high regard, one person is a pretty small sample size for attempting to settle the issue.
A new poll by the Washington Post gives us a broader perspective and echo the results of a previous poll conducted in 2004 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center:
The Post reported that the responses were broadly consistent regardless of age, income, education, political party or proximity to reservations.
Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins celebrated the results and commented with the following,
“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride. Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.”
Not everyone was celebrating though. The first plaintiff against the Redskins and the protection of their logo’s trademark, dismissed the poll. Susan Harjo, 70, who belongs to the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes, responded to the results,
“I don’t agree with them, and I don’t agree that this is a valid way of surveying public opinion in Indian Country.”
Perhaps she is correct about the validity of the poll–I don’t really know if the sample size is enough to trust, but 90% is a fairly convincing number.
What’s stranger to me is the amount of people in the media and in general, who aren’t Native Americans, yet feel the need to passionately try to defend them. Assuming the poll is an accurate representation, it’s difficult for me to understand what is motivating them other than simply being hell-bent on all forms of political correctness.
I wasn’t there when the team name was dreamed up and decided upon, but I have a hard time imagining it was done with bigoted, malicious intent. Maybe it was, so I still say let the Indians decide, but as of now this overwhelming indifference is the best picture of that result we have.
Let me know in the comments if you think the poll is valid, and if you think the teams should change their logo even if one Native American is offended.