Opinion: It's time for 'Chief Wahoo' to go

"In his historic speech on race, Sen. Barack Obama raised two important truths: America is stuck in a racial stalemate based on profound misunderstanding, and we cannot ignore these wounds "if we are to continue on the path to a more perfect union."

If you don't believe him, consider the case of Chief Wahoo.

Many people see Wahoo as an affectionate symbol of the Cleveland Indians, a harmless caricature that is threatened only by protesters who represent an attitude of political correctness run amok.

But to many American Indians, and a large number of their supporters who see the issue as a matter of moral conscience, the mascot, with its toothy grin, hooked nose and fire-engine-red complexion, is a demeaning symbol whose acceptance should be a source of shame in 2008.

"Cleveland is the home of the most offensive racial icon in the country," Charlene Teters, an artist and founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, said during a demonstration outside Progressive Field on Opening Day Monday. "Don't insult my intelligence telling me this honors me. . . . It is 'Little Red Sambo.'""

Get the Story:
David Briggs: Chief Wahoo should go (The Cleveland Plain-Dealer 4/5)