Portage County, Ohio — In a controversial move, Portage County Security Officer Bruce Zuchowski visited Facebook over the weekend to oppose the long-discussed name change of the Cleveland Indians in northeastern Ohio.
You can read the full statement made by Sheriff Zuchowski below:
“In response to the recent announcement by the Cleveland Major League Baseball Team, I felt compelled to make a statement on behalf of Silent Majority.
For the past few days, the release has weighed on my heart with disappointment and despair. We looked back on the roots of baseball, a tradition of the American family. Baseball games, sometimes referred to as American national entertainment, have played an active role in our country for centuries. I remember when I was a kid I watched my grandfather watch Indians games on TV and listen to them on AM radio. They both loved the Indians of the time. Today, I know they are upset in their graves with distress and disgust at their recent actions. My wife is a descendant of the Cherokee and Blackfoot American Indian tribes. Both she and her relatives saw the Cleveland Indians as a home baseball franchise, not as a prejudiced or prejudiced team. This is another attempt to erase our history because of the protests of a few who affect many.
I’ve boycotted professional sports for the past three years, but when asked who the Indian starters are, I don’t know. If I’m not willing to see or track their progress, one might wonder why I need to worry about their renaming. In fact, the general view is not about this particular position the team takes, but about the principles of the decision-making process.
These unfortunate decisions are being made with ongoing impact on individuals and industries across the country. Both lawmakers and decision makers need to start thinking about the majority of their members before succumbing to impulsive demands from a small number of people. “
So, I’d like to break this down for those who don’t understand why the name change is needed and how it is not about the history while at the same time, it is all about our history.
Let’s start with the ignorant use of the name Indian in reference to Native Americans. Native Americans were never Indians to begin with. This is the first and easiest answer to the issue. The use of Indian in reference to Native Americans was brought about by the mistaken explorers in search of the Indies by sailing west. Christopher Columbus and his cronies were commissioned to make a journey to the Indies by way of the Atlantic Ocean via a westward journey. Upon their arrival in America - another name that is disputable, but that’s neither here nor there, they thought that they had sailed to the Indies. Instead of correcting this very dumb mistake, the “colonialists” decided to call the people who were not anywhere near where they thought they were, Indians. That by itself is enough for me to request that all people stop calling Native Americans this incorrect name. The idea that Native Americans are referred to as Indians has no place in any language to begin with. However, entitled white Americans will assess, well that’s what they’re called now. Why should we change that? Basically proving that they have no respect for any other race and lack understanding of the significance of history’s impact on our societal views. How about if we know your name isn't Paul, but we are going to call you that anyway. Then when you die, we're going to make a flag for you with the name Paul on it. This is the essence of disrespect, you know the truth, but refuse to acknowledge it out of your own privilege and pride. At the same time, you decide for them that they aren't offended and it is not offensive in any way.
Well, if the name, Indians, doesn’t sway the conversation for you. Let’s talk about race and characterizations of people as mascots. A mascot is defined as a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization. This sounds great from a fundamental and strictly definition perspective. You might even be able to justify some of the mascots we now have. However, the purpose of a “thing” that brings you good luck is directly associated with the dehumanization of said thing. Especially, as it relates to race. Race begins to play a completely different part in the application of a mascot based on a race. For instance, have you heard of the Miami Jews? Or the Birmingham Caucasians? Or the San Diego Mexicans? Furthermore, the Indian reference goes even further because White America has rendered the Native American population to near extinction. So, now you want to revere them? Seriously, this is your way of making others represent good luck to you? You kill, steal and remove them from public sight, but now you suddenly feel the need to make reference to them as “good luck.” Wow!
Maybe, why this is offensive to others is hard for you to relate to because you’re not racist and the name isn’t meant to be racist in your mind and heart. The intent of being racist or not does not mean it isn’t racist. Additionally, the fact that your wife or husband is of another race doesn’t make you somehow exempt from doing racist things. Racism is not simply based on your intent or relationships. Racism is no more based on intent than the person who “accidentally” kills his friend. The intent argument has absolutely no merit for consideration. Funny how white people want to justify their racism by explaining that they have non-white friends and relationships. Have you ever met anyone who cheated on their significant other? Do you think they are exempt from cheating because they are married? You see, we all know what the words mean, but as humans, we are constantly doing things that aren’t representative of our “character” that we’ve sold to those who know us. Therefore, you’re just as likely to be racist as the overt racist yelling obscenities. We wish that you were immune and incapable, but we all are for that matter.
Simply put, let’s just be adults and say sorry. You don’t need to defend racism by trying to explain your intent or your position. As much as you think it is about how you feel and that what you think has some real place in the conversation, it is about someone else. It is about our history and not your story. And, as long as you want to defend and offer your intent, you’ve ignored the simple fact that the premise of calling your team, Indians, is flat out wrong. There isn’t an argument with that. Racist mascots should be removed for no other reason than if they are related to race. By the way, this isn't even addressing the racist red faced caricature logo. Adding insult to injury, you’re justifying using a racist name to represent a race that isn’t even correct to begin with… Well, that’s just stupid. I wonder if Mr. Zuchowski believes that stupidity is a reason to keep the name as well. History should represent the facts, but when it doesn't, at least it should be corrected. We owe our Native American citizens that courtesy.
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