Politicus correctus, por favor

You can thank the Cleveland Indians for this column because I wouldn’t be writing it if they weren’t in the World Series.

You can thank the Cleveland Indians for this column because I wouldn’t be writing it if they weren’t in the World Series.

Whether you blame it on sportswriters or slow news cycles, the ongoing debate about the team’s nickname has surfaced again.

For the record, Louis Sockalexis was a member of the Penebscot tribe, umm, nation, First Nation? in Maine.

Nicknamed the Deerfoot of the Diamond, he was the first native American to play in the big leagues, starting his career in 1897 for the Cleveland Spiders.

Some argue the current logo is based on a caricature of Louis. I suggest you Google him before you decide if that quasi comic art form crosses the line.

If so, why haven’t we banished the artists and easels from the Inner Harbour who make a living with that kind of work?

Although some historians say the team’s name pays homage to the days when Sockalexis starred for the team, others insist it was the owner’s idea, or the result of a newspaper’s name the team contest in the 1940s.

Although many people find both the logo and the name extremely offensive, several American Indian leaders have come out swinging in support recently, muddying the politically correct waters that run deep for some and much deeper for others.

It’s too bad we can’t ask The Notre Dame educated Sockalexis how he feels about it because he died in 1913. It really wouldn’t matter what Louis thinks anyway because when it comes to PC, the minority rules.

When I worked as food services supervisor at a 99 per cent white retirement home, the kitchen staff was made up of a collection of people from Croatia, Fiji, India, China, Viet Nam and Colombia. You could say we were a united nations kind of kitchen, but that may offend those from countries not employed there.

We also had a cook from California, Glen McSomething (sorry, I can’t remember his last name) who put in a union grievance after I told a joke poking fun at the legendary thriftiness of Scottish folks. In a further cruel twist of stereotypical irony, a Colombian cook I worked with got busted for importing cocaine to pay for the surgery to change from a senor to senorita.

Personally, I object to the growing number of writers who refer to journalists as graduates of J school because I don’t particularly care for the Blue Jays.

While that makes me unCanadian to a lot of folks, especially the executives at Sportsnet, being a fan of the Montreal Canadiens means you have a deep dislike for all things Toronto.

I would even say I’m all over that like white on rice, but that would be construed as demeaning to the brown, wild and long grain varieties.

I’m also uncomfortable with rappers who use a word that rhymes with bigger without immunity, and Jewish comedians who take cheap shots with their culture the rest of us wouldn’t dare.

Unless you’re the real Mcoy, oy vay.

And don’t get me started on what you’re allowed to wear on Halloween. It’s become such a tightly tangled web of political correctedness that universities – our last bastions of freedom of expression – are issuing “what not to wear” guides.

Can we learn from our mistakes if we, dare I say it, whitewash the past? I may be Caucasian, male, heterosexual and sorry, (guilty as charged) but maybe we need to darken up a little on what’s already gone down.

Let’s shine a light on fixing what’s ahead, rather than wasting time trying to change what’s behind.

•••

Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.

 

 

 

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