I’m feeling really sick today but I wanted to try something that I call Tough Love week, where each day I broach a topic that affects me personally that I may have been avoiding a little bit, as to not piss off people close to me (or in my vicinity). Or at least that’s the idea. But, hell, it’s Tuesday so technically I’ve already missed the first day of Tough Love Week so who knows where I’ll end up with this thing!
This wasn’t the topic I was going to start off Tough Love Week with but it seems the best choice for the situation I’m in, since I’m not really in the mood to sugar-coat anything, especially something I feel is a topic that shouldn’t even remotely be a fucking thing anymore (or technically ever).
So, let’s hit it, shall we?
Why in the fucking hell do we still think it’s okay to be completely and totally aggressively racist to Native Americans? And how is it that we refuse to even acknowledge the very real truth of this statement?
I mean, The Washington Redskins (fuck you, very much) are literally going to the Supreme Court to argue that their fucking team’s identity is apparently more important than an entire people’s identity. And, honestly, I can’t even fucking wrap my head around the goddamn idea of this. Which is why I’m swearing even more than normal.
What in the actual fuck is wrong with people? How do you honestly think that your sports team means more than real human beings? Seriously, like I want an answer to come from the wind or something. I want someone somewhere to actually answer me right now and have that answer be carried through fucking magic or something and be spoken aloud to me as I sit here typing. Because that’s how fucking messed up this whole situation is — it makes one fucking insane.
And here is where this topic hits close to home for me. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Land where this used to be a thing:
Yeah, there he is all huge and shit. Just staring you in the face with his cherry-red skin, huge-ass grin and other lovely accouterments. Do you know how many people I’ve heard wax fucking poetic about this violently racist image? And the thing is, we know perfectly well that you don’t need a goddamn emblem to identify with your home team. We identify with the Browns pretty fucking amazingly and they have no “logo”, no cheerleaders, no identifying marks on their helmets and hardly any fucking wins. Yet, we’re still so vehemently loyal to that team that when Art fucking Modell tried to move them to stinking Baltimore, we sued his piece of shit ass and told him that he could take his fucking players anywhere he wanted but that team and everything that goes with it wasn’t his to move.
But, for real, I have heard so many goddamn people talk about Chief Wahoo like he’s a real goddamn person. Like his ethereal existence is more fucking important than every single one of the people that he has been tearing down with that toothy motherfucking grin of his.
You know what? Here’s some real talk for anyone who is still sore about Wahoo being removed from the Indians roster of identifying characters:
You are an asshole. Chief Wahoo doesn’t exist. He’s not real. I don’t care how much he’s meant to your existence and childhood. He’s fucking racist and he should have never, ever existed in the first place. Saying that he means something to you is like saying that Ronald McDonald is a buddy and that if he ever goes away, you’ll fucking cry yourself to sleep at night…IF clowns were a race of people and Ronald McDonald was a fucking offensive example of their people and culture. But it’s not and he’s not, so crying over the McDonald’s mascot would actually be less embarrassing and stomach-turning.
And that’s just Chief Wahoo. That’s nothing to say of the fact that the team is still called the Cleveland Indians. It’s still named after a fucking race of people. AND it still keeps the term “Indian” in our vernacular when that, in and of itself, is fucking racist.
I mean, for real, could we all fucking stop pretending that Columbus was awesome? I’m not trying to say that he was a moron. I didn’t know him so I have no idea. But he did mess up his little boat trip. And he did still claim to discover a land that already had fucking people there. And he fucking renamed those people that didn’t actually need new names AND he renamed them the laziest fucking name he could, probably to make himself feel better over the fact that he didn’t end up where he intended.
And we celebrate him.
Just that alone should be enough info to let go of the moniker that he established and pay just the tiniest bit of respect to both Native Americans and actual Indian people. Let alone, I dunno, maybe getting rid of stupid-ass Columbus Day. And for anyone seriously bummed at losing a federal holiday, we can easily just make Veteran’s Day a federal holiday. It’s only a month away from Columbus Day and, I don’t know, I kind of think our vets deserve a national holiday more than some lazy-ass racist who has marked our country in such an embarrassing and indelible way.
And then there’s our country’s other BIG thing. And I know that a whole shit ton of people are going to get so fucking mad here. People I know. People I don’t know. People who have never even heard of me will feel my words brush against their cheeks and automatically hate my very essence.
Let’s talk about Thanksgiving.
And please know that this one is hard for me, too. I fucking love turkey and mashed potatoes. And no one makes homemade mashed potatoes like I do. They’re seriously incredible and I’ve had people write sonnets about them. I also, for a long time, really liked that because Thanksgiving was national and non-religious that you didn’t have to hear people bitch and moan about it taking the “Christ” out of it or being pissed that someone else’s religion that takes place during the same period of time as a Christian one was somehow infringing on territory that doesn’t belong to anyone in particular. But whatever, that’s a different blog to piss off different people.
But, I digress. Delicious food aside, how can we not understand how fucked up it is to celebrate Thanksgiving? And I’ve heard more than once the fucking awesome reasoning that we celebrate all of the things that we’re thankful for at Thanksgiving and therefore the holiday is awesome. But you know what? That’s fucking bullshit. And here is why:
1. That’s a total fucking excuse. You don’t need a holiday to be thankful. But if you want one, that’s valid. The thing is, we have to move it, we have to rebrand it AND we have to take the whole first fucking thanksgiving out of it because that’s where the disgusting problems come about.
2. We have done everything in our power to turn this holiday into a pre-Christmas retail nightmare instead of a legitimate holiday. It’s become more and more about gearing up for Black Friday and fucking sales for Christmas than anything else. Like most everything in this country, it’s become all about money and things and stuff and possessions. So, tell me again, what it is exactly that we’re trying to preserve?
3. And finally, celebrating gratitude by highlighting one of our most shameful periods in history is, well, inexcusable. It’s contemptible and quite frankly, villainous. We slaughtered a people. We fucking slaughtered a people, people. And for anyone who says that you weren’t there so it wasn’t you…by owning and celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, you are taking on the actions of the pilgrims and identifying with them as Americans instead of the people already here. Therefore, you have taken these actions and spread them on yourself like the blood of the people they for very real killed. And they didn’t just kill them. They took their hospitality. They pretended to broker a peace. They let themselves be saved and then they turned around and they slaughtered their saviors. And now, we celebrate this. We teach our children about the first Thanksgiving and how beautiful it was without immediately telling them how we destroyed that beauty. How we fucking pissed into the eye-sockets of the people that wouldn’t let us die when they could have.
There are so many things that we’ve done in this country that we’ve only half-assed an apology for: slavery, internment camps, keeping civil rights from anyone without a white fucking penis, the list goes on and on. But we’ve never even shit out an apology to Native Americans. Not really. We expect them to be happy on their reservations, like they have the very first American timeshares. We feel like our gracious act of allowing them to have casinos to somehow find a way to support themselves and not die the fuck out is like the most magnanimous fucking thing that’s ever been done throughout all of history. We constantly talk about how they’re alcoholics and smoke the peyote and basically talk about them like their subhuman. And we’ve continued to fucking steal their land for whatever we want. For fuck’s sake, Mount Rushmore is on Native American land. Land they consider sacred. And we took it and then we defaced the nature of it. And we revere it like the faces fucking etched themselves onto that granite like the face of Jesus on a piece of toast or in the visage of an oil slick on the road. And yeah, that was a pretty cool thing to be able to craft but maybe, just maybe, we could’ve crafted it somewhere that belonged to us. I mean, fuck, why not just go into Canada and deface some of their shit. “But I defaced it with an American President’s face! So, that makes it okay!” But we’d never do that. Cause we think of Canada as a white country and we don’t do shit to white people. And if you need references, here are a few (some already listed): slavery, Thanksgiving, internment camps, Manifest Destiny, the fact that we sent back boats of Jews to Hitler before he started gassing people, civil rights, lynchings, Guantanamo…I’m just gonna stop there. And I’m sure there are a lot of people that don’t feel this list means anything. They’ll feel like this doesn’t show any kind of trend to our behavior. And I get it — cause it’s hard to see reality clearly when your head is firmly planted in the sand.
But, the thing is, this IS reality. This is the legacy of the white man in America. Scroll up and get a good look at Chief Wahoo again. Stare at him. Let him sink into your brain. Set a timer. Look at it for five straight minutes. Keep repeating in your head “REDSKINS, REDSKINS, REDSKINS”. Then picture yourself face to face with a Native America, something many people have probably never done. Picture yourself face to face with a Native American and then picture yourself calling him or her a “redskin”. Can you picture it? Can you really picture it? Think of how upset people get when they hear the term “hillbilly” or “white trash” and now call him a “redskin” again. And now put Chief Wahoo’s face on top of his or hers.
Are you really still okay with this? Is this really something you think is acceptable? Do you really think that turning a race of people into a caricature, minimizing their existence into simply being your pastime’s mascot and then hanging this depiction from banners, putting it on t-shirts and ball caps and chanting it over and over again (Tomahawk Chop) is anything other than contemptuous and reprehensible?
And if your answer is yes, I honestly only have one piece of advice for you. This is a piece of advice that I haven’t given anyone in a really long time. It’s not my nature and I, myself, haven’t been able to wrap my head fully around the concept in a long while. But here it is, all the same. If your answer is yes to any or all of these questions, you need to sit your ass down and pray. You need to fucking close your eyes and turn your attention to someone or something else that might help you find your way. Because you can’t manage it on your own. You’ve failed at being able to muster the most basic compassion without some God or Savior or Prophet telling you to. So, pray. Close your eyes and pray that someone or something will help you heal the soul inside of you.
You are not everything.
You are not most important.
You are not the way.
You’re just another speed bump on our road to recovery, trying to fuck up the people actually wanting to make the world a better place. And those people exist, you know. People wanting to make the world better, we exist. You can’t shut us up with your rhetoric and you can’t keep our voices out with your wall. Nothing you do will stop us from continuing to try. And that’s why, no matter what you do, we will always win. Our existence is our gold medal, the winners platform has room for us all and that National Anthem playing in the background isn’t just yours. It’s time we make America truly great, for the first time in history.