Time to ditch racially based team names


Re: “Churches call on Cleveland Indians to change name, ditch Wahoo mascot,” Oct. 15.

It is time to remind those living in North America that the year is 2016, not 1915. Why 1915? That was the year the Cleveland baseball team took on the name the Cleveland Indians. In this time of truth and reconciliation and a move toward racial justice, is it not time to stop glorifying genocide and showing disrespect for indigenous peoples?

A hereditary chief represents leadership, responsible stewardship, cultural transference and respect for self and others. “Chief Wahoo” shows a derogatory caricature of a societal and cultural leader.

How can professional sports team members be considered role models for fans with team names such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins and others with racially derogatory names? It has been more than 100 years since some sports teams received their names. In 1915, thousands of aboriginal children were attending residential schools without parental permission, aboriginal adults were not considered citizens and could not vote, aboriginal First World War veterans were not accorded the same rights and privileges as white soldiers.

It was not until 1960 that aboriginal peoples were considered citizens of Canada, and until 1996 when the last residential school closed in Canada. What once might have been considered a fun name for a team is now racially derogatory. Note that when sports teams use a racially based name, only one race is targeted. This is not a coincidence.

Cheer for your favourite team with respect. Move toward racial justice and humanitarianism.

Arlene Ewert


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