With news that Washington has decided to switch its team name, the focus might soon transition to the Kansas City Chiefs.
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I already know what you’re thinking.
“But why? ‘Chiefs’ isn’t a racial slur choose the Washington team name.”
The cases aren’t completely alike — “Chiefs” is decidedly no a gyeongju slur like “Redskins.” The problem is that the franchise continues to perpetuate racism stereotypes of aboriginal Americans. Part of it has to do v the nature of the team name as it relates to aboriginal American culture.
Some psychological gymnastics, regularly utilized by fans to defend the name from its critics, is the beginning of the team name. Yes, the team wasn’t straight named with indigenous Americans in mind. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and also general manager Jack Steadman choose to name the franchise ~ Kansas City mayor, H. Roe Bartle, whose nickname was “The Chief.” His nickname, however, came from gift a establishing member that the tribe of Mic-O-Say — a young Scout troop the wore aboriginal American garb such together headdresses. That takes us to the crux that the issue.
Fans still flock to Arrowhead stadion donning faux headdresses. Warpaint, the team’s mascot horse, shows up to it is in a irreversible fixture because that Kansas City because the 50th anniversary the the team in 2009. The team even built a “drum deck” for your pregame ritual, i beg your pardon helps lead fans in maybe the most problematic article — the Tomahawk Chop.
The Chop has come to be a fixture at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s virtually synonymous v the game-day experience. That has become normalized to the level that fans think it’s entirely innocuous — the it doesn’t mock Native society in any type of way. Even if the team chose to remove it, fans would more than likely partake themselves. It’s the embedded.
While these specific instances I’ve sharp out could not be offensive to every — they’re attack to some aboriginal Americans — and also that’s a problem. Just how that imagery depicted truly impact Native human being is also a problem. The biggest problem for the team, however, is the they don’t actively discourage these things from happening. In part cases, they still encourage them.
The Chiefs franchise deserves part credit, though. Every step of the means they’ve tried to it is in better. As soon as the franchise first moved to Kansas City in 1963, they i was delegated a logo that featured a caricature of a native American, donning headdress and also loincloth while transporting a football and raising a tomahawk. It to be a problematic and also racist depiction of indigenous peoples. As soon as the team relocated to Arrowhead stadion in 1972, they moved away indigenous that logo design entirely, adopting the Arrowhead logo.
Later, they’d job-related to eliminate Native American imagery from all officially licensed NFL goods in an effort to quash any kind of stereotypes.
Since 2014, the franchise has celebrated American Indian legacy Month as component of that is commitment to honoring the indigenous community. Castle take part in a number of pregame festivities and education methods for pan to honor and also learn around Native culture.
The franchise has shown the willingness to listen and also change, yet what comes next? Sure, the franchise has done plenty of an excellent to correct problems surrounding your team nickname. In ~ what suggest does the team stop working come correct problems that persist and simply move away native the nickname bring about those worries in the very first place?
It might not occur tomorrow, however surely within the following year, this franchise will need to look themselves in the mirror and also face some difficult questions.
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It’ll take more than loud fans or critical headlines because that the team to take it action. The last straw because that Washington was sponsors threatening to pull out of their deals if the team refused to adjust its name. And also as Washington made clear in their official statement, maintaining the sponsors happy to be their peak priority in this decision.