Thursday, June 23, 2005

Kinston Indians

Today's random review is of the Kinston Indians of the Carolina League. Apparently political correctness hasn't affected life in Kinston too much. Actually, maybe it's common sense that hasn't affected life in Kinston. The Kinston Indians logo, in my opinion, comes in a close second for "worst example of racism toward Native Americans in sports" barely missing out on the top spot to the Washington Redskins use of the word "Redskin". But at least the Redskin's logo is pretty innocuous.

Now I really am not that big of PC guy. I like to be respectful and mindful of the feelings and issues that surround these kind of topics but I also feel that there are some people who are too sensitive for their own good. I would actually defend the use of words such as Indians, Illini, Braves, Seminoles, Warriors or whatever as team names. Usually the intent is not to degrade or harm these groups with these simple names. To have teams named for your group or tradition should be considered an honor if it is handled right.

What I mainly oppose is the use of images, like the Kinston Indian logo, that portray any racial group in such a stereotypical fashion. I also oppose the bastardization of traditions and symbols by teams. What I'm talking about here is something like the dance that the "Chief" at Fightin' Illini does at games. It's an insult to the area's Native population because it is supposed to emulate a dance that is very sacred to these people. Or the stupid tomahawk chop and chant that the you hear at Atlanta Braves games. Besides being really lame, it's also very degrading and insulting.

There are some logos that are well crafted that honor rather than degrade and I have no problem with these. Like the Florida State Seminoles for example. The Seminole Tribe has routinely backed the University and given them their blessing to use the name and their traditions and both parties seem to understand and respect each other.

But it's logos like the Kinston Indians that continue to cause problems and attempt to bring down harmonious relationships like FSU and the Seminole Tribe. This is a logo that has to go regardless of it's intent or history. It's a relic of a much more close-minded time gone by and should be retired right now. Or is that much more close-minded time still alive and kicking in Kinston?

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