Monday, October 8, 2007

Indians Representation


This picture is a popular representation of the Cleveland Indians, a baseball team originating in Ohio. What they used for their logo is a very stereotypical and very inaccurate representation of Indians, or Native Americans. I chose this piece because I believe how Americans stereotypically portray races other than themselves as to be very different, and the majority of the time the representation is inaccurate and most times demeaning as well. The Cleveland caricature is not the only one that skews one’s perception of a certain race or religion. In class there was a website that had a page full of these kinds of caricatures based on their race, religion, and background. All of them seemed to exaggerate a certain type of perception that is commonly stereotyped per each race, religion or background.

As stated previously, this caricature represents how the Indians were viewed, and to this day the symbol still remains the same. The perception of Indians nowadays should be different, but this icon for the baseball team was created purely on the stereotypes that follow those who are Indian or Native American. Such characteristics are the red skin, and the feather sticking up on their head. This relates to the material in class because some of the earlier readings consisted of the Indians when the settlers first came over and “discovered” the Americans. The Indians there at first welcomed the new settlers with open arms, but then as the settlers tried to gain control of the land and use the Indians as slaves, they became hostile towards the new settlers, and did the best that they could to defend their land. From there, the new settlers once again portrayed the people who are different from themselves as savages that needed to be trained in the way of the new settlers. Therefore, saying that the new settlers have a right to claim their land, and have an attempt to capture the Indians, make them slaves, and teach them the Christian ways of life.

Overall, I believe that the icon for the Cleveland Indians should be changed, if anything at least to something that does not represent Indians in a poorly stereotypical way. Even though that this icon has been around for years, it can still be considered offensive to those who are of Indian or Native American descent. What I found most interesting was in class when we saw the other caricatures of different types of race and religion represented on Chief Wahoo to be very stereotypical of each and every race and religion. I’m sure that anyone who is a part of any of those race, religion, and background, could have felt slightly offended by such a stereotype to be exaggerated and included in the representation of all people who fall under that certain category. Though what I find amusing is that why the Cleveland baseball players chose the Indians stereotyped chief Wahoo to be their icon, when they could have chosen another one, such as the Irish, Jewish, or Chinese stereotype. Since the Indians representation is also a part of this stereotype caricatures, what made them so different than the rest that the Cleveland Indians wished to use that instead of another type of image?

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