ESPN host Bomani Jones wore a “Caucasians” t-shirt mocking the Cleveland Indians’ “Chief Wahoo” logo during the “Mike & Mike” show on Thursday.
The shirt includes the word “Caucasians” in the Indians’ font, with a character based on “Chief Wahoo” that has white skin (instead of red), a basic nose (instead of a large, hooked nose), blonde hair (instead of dark hair parted, and held down by a head band), and a dollar sign (instead of a feather).
Here are the two logos side-by-side:
The logo is ingenious because it shows how one must leap to racial stereotypes in order to create Chief Wahoo. There are no racial stereotypes that can be used to create a caricature of a white person, other than using a dollar sign to symbolize greed.
Some variation of Chief Wahoo has been an official mascot of the Indians since the mid-1940s. It was their primary logo until 2013 and ever-present on the front of their caps. In 2011, the team switched to a block-C logo on their road caps and in 2013, that logo became their primary logo.
However, Chief Wahoo is still present on the sleeves…
- Getty Images
…and on their home caps.
- Getty Images
Despite attempts by the Cleveland Indians to marginalize their controversial – most would say racist – “Chief Wahoo” logo, the caricature is still a fan favorite.
Some fans even goes as far as to wear “red face” to games.
- Jason Miller/Getty Images
Native Americans have been protesting the use of the mascot and logos for years, something that appears to fall on deaf ears for many Indians fans.
— Peter Pattakos (@ClevelandFrowns) April 4, 2014
At the end of the day, the use of Chief Wahoo comes down to this: If Cleveland didn’t have a professional baseball team and was given an expansion franchise in 2016, would the vast majority of people think it would be OK to call them the Indians and use a Chief Wahoo logo? The simple answer is “no.”