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Photo of the Day: Real Indian meets racist caricature

Apr 4, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT

From Progressive Field today. I have no idea what the guy on the right was thinking, but I am thinking that anything the guy on the left did to him after this was taken would be justified.

Of course, the guy on the left appears to have some actual personal dignity about him and, presumably a much more developed sense of human decency than the guy on the right, so maybe it’s not that strong a statement.

If you are inclined to defend this jackwagon at all, please tell me whether you’d be fine with dressing in blackface and going up to a black person. And please, be honest.

  1. lolnfl - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    nick cannon dressed up as whiteface and thought it was a joke.

    • AlmostForty - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Yes. Someday the white man will no longer have to deal with the injustices of the world. Cause we’ve had it so rough…

      • jrob23 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        stupid logic, way to blow off someone’s obvious racist actions because of some media driven guilt you are feeling because maybe your ancestors partook in slavery. What fail

      • cocheese000 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        People like almostforty are disgusting and wish nothing but awful things on them

      • AlmostForty - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Hugs and kisses sweetie.

    • crispybasil - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      If you don’t already understand why that’s different than a white person being made up with blackface, then it’s not worth trying to explain it to you.

      • jrob23 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        no please explain. This should be rich

      • bh192012 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        If you don’t already know what my reply to your reply is already, then it’s not worth trying to explain it to you.

      • cohnjusack - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        no please explain. This should be rich

        You see sir, yes, your ancestors took part in slavery. When that ended, things didn’t become suddenly awesome for black people. Instead, we had another century of Jim Crow until the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. That also didn’t make things suddenly awesome…see, racism is less and certainly getting better, but hasn’t exactly gone away. And when you dress in blackface, you are usually doing so as a way to mock and stereotype black people, therefore harkening back to the even more racist days.

        Since white people were never blatantly repressed in American society, someone dressing in white face doesn’t really have the same power.

        Rich enough for ya?

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        Cohn, let’s not forget that the decades of Jim Crow were accompanied by a campaign of terrorism led by groups such as the KKK. The reign of terror included the lynchings of more than 3,400 black people, including women. And as Douglas Blackmon has documented, several Southern states managed to reconstitute slavery under the guise of punishing mostly black “criminals” who would be arrested*, shackled and sold to a company to work off their “debt” in a mine or other brutal labor, always subject to whippings and other punishments. That as many black Americans did as well as they did in those days is extraordinary. (*Crimes could include such things as walking on train tracks, not having enough money in your pocket, or not showing enough deference to a white person.)

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        If dressing up in blackface or redface or whateverface is racist, so is dressing up in whiteface. There may not be much of a history of injustice against Caucasians in America, but that does not mean they are immune from being targets of racism. Racism is racism, and should not be tolerated in any form.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      It wasn’t funny either.

    • lieutenanthearn - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Reverse racism is not a thing. Luckily someone explained it in comedy so you can understand:

      • tadthebad - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:37 AM

        Correct. It’s actually just called racism. Distinct histories and practices notwithstanding, racism exists in many forms against all races. It’s nauseating in all forms, too. As for the photo, Craig said it well: one man appears dignified and tolerant, the other appears to be a racist jack wagon. There’s no excuse for that pathetic demonstration.

    • scatterbrian - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:57 PM

      It was funnier when Eddie Murphy did it.

  2. tribescribe - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    This guy is why I won’t wear Wahoo.

  3. emdash01 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    The best (worst) part is that the guy’s body language pretty clearly indicates that he thinks he’s explaining something to the Native Americans, like he’s going to tell them something they’ve never heard the kind of person who wears redface say before. Ugh.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      It’s like he really thinks he’s reasonable…with the teeth painted big and the “headdress.” I think some people just can’t get it or something. He seems utterly devoid of a sense of shame…or the ability to observe that the actual Indian he is talking to is not swayed by his “reasoned” buffoonery.

  4. jrob23 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Disgusting behavior really

  5. alexo0 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    I wonder what Selig thinks about this picture?

    • 18thstreet - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      I wonder what the people who own the team think.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        I hope they are mainlining antacids at this point.

  6. jdr1919 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Isn’t the term “Indian” inappropriate when describing the Native American man? I mean, unless he’s from India…

    We’re talking about inappropriate ways to interact with racially sensitive situations. Just because the term “Indian” has been used for hundreds of years doesn’t make it correct in any way.

    • fleaman1381 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Technically… yes. An Indian is someone from India. They should either change their name to Cleveland Native Americans. Or change the logo, but I have the feeling that would be much more racially insensitive.

    • raysfan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Feel free to contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tell them about it.

      Native American is the preferred term, but almost nobody sees the term Indian as remotely racist.

  7. stupudasso - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Intolerant, overly sensitive libs hating again. What’s new?

    • The Common Man - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Yeah, it’s totally liberal to want people to stop being assholes.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        If it is, that’s an excellent reason to want to be liberal…but, honestly, that’s a sadly low bar.

      • paperlions - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        Yeah, and most people still can’t clear it.

  8. dangle1223 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Wow another shot at Wahoo Calcaterra I guess you find it hard to find things to write about.

  9. cocheese000 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Does her ever post anything before deadspin? I think they just copy all of the stories deadspin does.

  10. djandujar - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Call it a plug, but considering Americans largely don’t seem to think much of the genocide that has occurred in their name I feel that it is an appropriate time to share some authentic First Nations music. This is from a radio show I sat in on around Thanksgiving and we played lots of styles of music made by indigenous citizens, most (but not all) of it from the 60s/70s.
    Here’s a link to a recording of the program:

  11. Wesley Clark - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I am an everyday reader of Hardball Talk and rarely comment, mostly becuase I forgot my WordPress password. What is the deal with all the negative, hateful, neaderthals commenting lately? I am all for a good debate (you know, well thought out and reasoned), but senseless name calling and mindless putdowns are poor form. Give it a rest and go back over to Pro Football talk.

    • paperlions - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      It is opening week, a lot of casual fans. Wait until they get bored after a couple of weeks. Same thing happens during the playoffs.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:05 PM


      • paperlions - Apr 6, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        I figure Craig will write about it tomorrow, but thought you would find this piece interesting:

      • historiophiliac - Apr 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Thanks! I was just asking someone on Twitter if they had seen anything more on the story.

  12. realgone2 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    They went and got drunk after the photo was taken.

    • lostsok - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      I can’t bring myself to give you a thumbs up, but I suspect that was an ironic comment meant play on a stereotype more-so than reinforce it.

      If so, pretty funny.

      If not…dude! C’mon!

  13. pappageorgio - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Clearly the team name needs to be changed if the media get to call people racists for dressing up as the mascot to their favorite club.

    I’ve never gotten the whole dressing up or wearing make-up for a game……or the drunk idiots that wear no shirts in 20 degree weather but it takes all kinds. Tigers fans can paint their faces like tigers, angels fans can dress up like angels…..but where is PETA and the bible thumpers to tell us how wrong they all are. Maybe all teams should just be something benign like a color or a number. The New York purple, Detroit orange, the LA number 7s.

    This guy wasn’t mocking Indians or inferring they were inferior by dressing up in (cheaply made) Indian garb…..he was dressed as his team’s mascot….let’s just take him out and shoot him. The media should set a dress code, so they can change to every 5 minutes as people change their minds and become offended by everything.

    • Wesley Clark - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      You really can’t tell the difference between dressing up, mockinly, as a minority group and dressing up as a Tiger? You do realize that the Native American Headdress is an important, and sacred, part of their culture.

      • pappageorgio - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        I can…..PETA can’t. They think it’s offensive.

        Who are you to decide who’s right about what to be offended about? Maybe PETA is right about the poor animals, I mean it’s not going to stop me from ordering a steak, but who gets to be the judge? You? Craig?

        The fighting Irish? Offensive?
        The Central Michigan Chippawas (my alma mater). Offensive?
        The angels/padres? Baseball seems like a silly thing to get god involved in.

        My point is…..if something wasn’t created for the purpose of being offensive and isn’t a racial slur or a profanity then is it? Because maybe we all decide that “Indians” is now not appropriate and change it……next week it’ll be something else they’re telling us we’re all wrong about. The easily offended and self-loathing will continue to be that way.

      • nightman13 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        No, he doesn’t realize the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground. I think that’s apparent from his comment.

      • pappageorgio - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        Nightman……I’m not going to ask you how old you are because it’s quite apparent that you’re still young enough to know everything.

      • clemente2 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        pappa, I am old enough and more, and your comments are ill-considered and incoherent. Your reference to PETA thinking using tigers as a sports team logo is bad is all that is needed to understand your ‘level’ of thought.

        Yes, many things were created by people who did not know better. But now we do. And we learn from that and change. Under your version, if I can discern it in the wreakage of your comment, we should let all those mindless things continue because they started ‘innocently’.


    • NatsLady - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      I love animals as much as the next person, and especially my kitties, but if you can’t tell the difference between dressing up as an animal or a myth, versus dressing in the sacred apparel of a minority, there is little hope.

  14. thomas844 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    “If you are inclined to defend this jackwagon at all, please tell me whether you’d be fine with dressing in blackface and going up to a black person. And please, be honest.”

    I am not defending the Indians fan and think that anyone painting themselves as a different race is wrong, but Craig, your statement about blackface seems to imply that people would not go with blackface to an African-American as opposed to redface with a Native American because you feel that black people are more likely to have a violent reaction. Am I wrong in saying that?

    • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      I think he’s trying to say that people know better than to wear blackface — and yet, they don’t get that redface is offensive in the same way. He’s saying that it would be the same thing.

      • thomas844 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        Yeah, that makes sense when you put it that way. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • shadowcell - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      It…in no way implies that, no.

      You’re the one who supplied that implication, which says a whole lot more about you than it does about anything else.

      • thomas844 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        It seemed implied to me when I first read it because he specifically brought up the African-American race (even though plenty of people wear racist caricatures like yellowface or sombreros with mustaches) and said that people generally would not want to wear blackface in front of them.

        And if you are trying to call me a racist with your comment, save it. You know nothing about me.

  15. kindasporty - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I’m not defending the guy on the right, even a little bit. But tell me how the guy on the left looks like he has dignity about him? I mean, it doesn’t look like he doesn’t have dignity. I just can’t tell from the pic. But from what I hear, some people are really good at telling things about people just by their appearance.

    • nightman13 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      I think the fact that the guy on the right still has all his teeth is pretty telling.

  16. zdravit - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Good for him. The libs can suck it.

  17. coldyron - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    I don’t have a problem with these posts on Chief Wahoo but why aren’t there similar articles on the Braves’ tomahawk chop? That seems just as offensive and ignorant as what this guy did and that’s something an entire crowd participates in.

    • raysfan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      Craig has posted on the tomahawk chop before. Below is a link to one. There are others; feel free to use Google for yourself.

      • Old Gator - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        I used to love watching Ms. Fashionably Leftist, Jane Fonda, performing the chop next to ex hubby Ted Turner when he owned the Braves. Or maybe she was just trying to signal a taxi.

  18. sawxalicious - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Firstly, I am not defending the guy on the right, nor am I condemning him…I tend to look at each situation in the context in which it is presented. This context is a sports fan dressing up as his favorite sports team’s mascot. I personally think dressing up like a mascot and painting one’s face is silly, whether it’s Chief Wahoo, a Fightin’ Irishman, a Tiger, or Mr. Met. I don’t think anyone on this message board could honestly say the guy is being racist or I intentionally demeaning the Native American race or culture. I think the Indian’s fan is trying to support his team and the Indians’ name is celebrating the ferocious nature of Native American warriors in years past; that’s why the mascot is Chief Wahoo and not Squaw Wahoo. I think the Braves do a better job of celebrating the warrior culture, as they do not have a silly grinning Native American (Chief Wahoo) as their primary (for now) logo. The picture on its own does look a little awkward and inappropriate, but I refuse to jump on the race card bandwagon. If that picture was taken at a White Supremacist rally to protest Native American rights, one could conclude the photo depicts racism. I think it is a leap to say this photo = white man in black face. I would imagine the guy on the right probably feels a bit foolish and maybe embarrassed as he looks at the guy on the left, as he ought to. Not because he’s being outed as a racist, but because he has an opportunity to genuinely reflect on how his presentation might make the Native American feel.

    I do believe the Indians’ front office is very slowly backing away from Chief Wahoo. If he is to be eliminated, that is the best way. If they got rid of him altogether, a large segment of the fans would likely be very vocal and demand his return (a la the Duck Dynasty fiasco).

    • clemente2 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      “I don’t think anyone on this message board could honestly say the guy is being racist or I intentionally demeaning the Native American race or culture”

      Ummm, yes we are. Intentionally. Demeaning. Native Aerican. Race and Culture.

      There, got it?

  19. pappageorgio - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    People like to believe that the current generation/time is so much better and more enlightened from the any previous generations.

    In some ways I suppose we are…..but I grew up in a time when people were not so easily offended and were proud of their heritage. Does a generation that has to put labels on an iron that says “don’t iron clothes while on” or “caution contents may be hot” on a coffee cup… some idiot doesn’t sue….really have the ability to see themselves as so superior from previous generations? We weren’t so easily offended.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      This comment made me suddenly miss All in the Family.

    • Old Gator - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      Perhaps you weren’t, but you burned down a lot of houses and scalded your palates a lot, too.

    • American of African Descent - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      Readings this reminds me of when Ronald Regan said that the country didn’t know it had a race problem when he was young. It’s not that your generation wasn’t so easily offended—it is that the power structure in your generation was oblivious to the offense caused.

      • yahmule - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        And Reagan was a huge racist.

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      You weren’t so easily offended because you were narrow-minded morons who didn’t look beyond your own immediate vicinity.

      And we have those labels on things NOW because of things YOUR stupid generation did.

      You dumbass.

  20. tfbuckfutter - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    I really can’t add anything to this, but it really is one of the saddest pictures I’ve ever seen.

    It’s really really awkward to see two ends of the dignity spectrum on display so vividly, and I really hope the weight of it hits that guy like an effing brick.

    I can’t even imagine the shame I would feel if I were caught in that situation behaving like that.

  21. yahmule - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Well, this thread is like all the other ones about this topic,with one difference. The people defending the racism aren’t falling back on their completely fallacious claim that only white people care about these disgusting caricatures this time.

  22. scruffmagee - Apr 5, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    Oh the irony of this taking place at Progressive Field

  23. tigerlou75 - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    This cracks me up! “That guy is just so racist!” You people kill me! The death of America to fools who think this is racist. Stop being such a pud, and suck it up sweet heart. It’s meant to be funny, just like the black guy dressed up like a “white chick” Is that racist too?

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      I found this picture of you.

  24. AlmostForty - Apr 5, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Looks like this may be this guy’s thing.

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