With the Stanley Cup finals beginning tomorrow without much in the way of drama or controversy, leave it to the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox to get find an angle of which to get people talking about something completely different than but related to hockey. Cox comes out with all guns blazing claiming that the logo of the Chicago Blackhawks is completely offensive.
Does anybody notice, or should anybody notice, that the team that will open this series on home ice skates out with the cultural equivalent of a cigar store Indian on their chests every night?
At a time when sports leagues and schools around North America are either debating the dubious value of having native peoples used as mascots and nicknames or getting rid of those mascots and nicknames entirely, the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks seem awfully casual about it, supremely confident that no one will dare question the racial sensitivity of the large aboriginal likeness that serves as the logo of the hockey club.
It’s as if nobody notices, or wants to. The same folks who never would have one of those disgraceful black jockey statues on their lawn will proudly wear a cartoon aboriginal face on their chests.
Well, Damien certainly isn’t pulling any punches in his wont to get a reaction out of everyone. For what it’s worth, the Blackhawks have had the same logo since 1926. However, in his hurry to come out seemingly morally on top of everything, he fumbles his point screwing up the facts in the case of North Dakota board of education coming down against the University of North Dakota and their Fighting Sioux moniker and logo. That wasn’t his biggest faux pas however.
Clearly, no right-thinking person would name a team after an aboriginal figure these days any more than they would use Muslims or Africans or Chinese or any ethnic group to depict a specific sporting notion.
Hockey fans, of course, being overwhelmingly male and white, hate these kinds of discussions. Political correctness, they howl, just like the debate over putting women in the Hall of Fame.
Like what Brian Reynolds at Hockey Wilderness pointed out in his skewering of this piece, I guess we’ll have to introduce Damien to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Minnesota Vikings and New York Yankees to show that yes, sometimes these things do occur to other groups that aren’t Native American or otherwise. For what it’s worth, Damien did his job by getting folks to talk about something he’s written, unfortunately, it’s to rip him for being an ignoramus.