WEB EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: Canadians feel slighted by Faculty Senate

Robert Patrick

The Faculty Senate’s recent decision to publicly oppose some offensive sports logos on campus has been a fiercely debated issue. This bold move was expected to precipitate sweeping social reforms throughout the state. Unfortunately, most students view the situation with the same apathy usually reserved for wars, genocide and other unpleasant events in far away countries.

One mascot on the forefront is the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo. He expressed his dismay from a Mentor retirement home. The Chief said he has always been proud to be the face of the Indians, but he felt disappointed that people were upset by his appearance. He asserts that the popular image depicts him at a very happy time in his life, hence the large smile. Wahoo did say he has always felt a little self-conscious about the size of his nose. Some other sports team’s logos are causing concern among students. One team logo many find to be particularly inflammatory is that of the Cleveland Browns.

“It just hurts to see my last name associated with that team,” Baxter Brown said.

“My family isn’t even from Cleveland, but I see the shirts and hats that say Cleveland Browns on campus. They don’t know how badly it makes me feel.”

Most of the anger and sadness stems from the football team’s awful performance every year. People sharing the same name as this perennial joke find it difficult to shun the stigma that is attached to the name.

“When my name is called out in class, I feel like people are laughing on the inside,” said junior Beatrice Brown. “I sit by someone who wears a Browns hat, but I don’t hate him. I just feel sorry for him.”

The Faculty Senate is expected to discourage all Cleveland sports teams’ apparel in an attempt to appease all offended parties, including those who find the Cavaliers objectionable.

Another group of students that feels largely ignored in the matter is Canadian students. A host of professional hockey teams display logos that play off of Canadian stereotypes. Team names such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadians and the Vancouver Canucks seem to portray citizens of Canada in a poor light. Mike Papa is an international student from our innocuous neighbor to the north and came to Kent State to escape from the oppressive and tyrannical Canadian government. Mike gets made fun of enough for being Canadian and feels that these teams are reinforcing inaccurate perceptions that people might have.

Most Canadians on campus would agree that hailing from the same nation that produced Celine Dion and Richard Marx puts them at a severe social disadvantage.

“I certainly don’t want people to think that the only kinds of trees we have in Canada are maple trees.” Mike said. He also takes exception to people calling him a Cancuck.

“‘Canuck’ is actually a derogatory term where I come from,” he said. “We call it the ‘C’ word. You Americans shouldn’t be saying it — that’s our word.” Ironically, Mike oftentimes felt like an outcast in his home country due to his lack of interest in the national pastime of hockey.

For those who are directly affected by negative feelings spawned by sports mascots, the situation is of grave concern. Faculty and students remain hopeful that token gestures will serve to dissuade the anger of Chief Wahoo-weary students.


Bob Patrick is a junior political science major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].