• Jade' Curtis

Racist Chants and Logos in Sports

Racism is ingrained in American society, and sadly, people are now realizing that their previous actions were racist. During the World Series game, the Atlanta Braves fans decided to show support for their team, but not at all in the right way. The Braves fans made tomahawk chop movements as well as chants that they consider to be war chants. 

Many sports teams have in the past or currently have racist chants and logos. An example many may know is the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins. 

Sports teams and their fans have consistently and knowingly created and supported racist logos and chants. The Atlanta Braves before changing their logo in 1990, had a Native American Iroquois man depicted as their logo. Rob Manfred, the current commissioner of Major League Baseball, claimed “Native Americans in the area are ‘wholly supportive’ of it.” However, disagreement for using the likeness of Native Americans can be easily found among Native American groups. 

These racist chants and logos are not found to be limited to the professional sphere of sports, but they are found in high schools as well. Chopticon High School, where I graduated from, had the school mascot of a Brave as well. My high school also did the tomahawk chop at all games and for spirit days students also dressed up as Native Americans. Students at Chopticon have and continue to paint their entire faces red or black and wear large headdresses to look like Native Americans. 

People who have tried to speak out about these racist incidents, in both the professional sphere and in high schools, are known as people who do not want to see their teams succeed. I do not see it that way. A team can still succeed without racist logos and chants.

Responses given to those who speak out on these racist actions do not seem right as well. The responses given are to some effect ignorant. Just because one person who is a part of a group said it does not offend them does not mean that others within that group are not offended. 

A great example of this is one black person allowing others to touch their hair. While that one black person may allow another to touch their hair, it does not mean that the person touching the hair can now touch any black persons’ hair. One person of a part of an identity cannot speak for the whole of that identity. 

The prevalence of racist logos and chants in sports does not seem like it will ever completely be gone. Fans of sports teams recognize these logos and chants as a part of their team’s history. These fans may also consider these chants and logos to do no harm, but they do. The Atlanta Braves, when using the likeness of Native Americans for its sports team logo, dehumanizes Native Americans and reduces these actual living, breathing and feeling human beings to caricatures that are replicated by others like costumes.