So I don’t know if you follow baseball or not but the team, Cleveland Indians, have had their logo as Chief Wahoo for many years. Yesterday, it was announced that in 2019 they’re removing Chief Wahoo from all uniforms, merchandise, etc. This has actually been a controversy for many years because people began to deem that the logo was racist to Native American indigenous peoples. To give you more context to where this story is going, here’s a picture of the logo in case you’ve never seen it:
Because this final decision has been made, there’s even more controversy surrounding it because die hard fans see it as iconic and don’t want it removed while others are cheering that it finally happening.
Curious as always, I read the comments of an article about it. One woman stated she was sad to see it go because she thought it was a symbol showing strength and power of Native Americans and that other teams should fear the Cleveland Indians over this symbol. A different commenter responded to her by saying she was wrong because it was racist cartoon propaganda used many years ago and should have never been etched in sports. Tension rose as it usually does and the comments started getting angry. I looked to my husband and asked him what he thought. He, like me, never really thought much of it because we don’t follow baseball so there’s no reason for it to bother us.
From here however, my husband thought of a music video he watched by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and how he viewed the video at first. So, he made me watch it to see what my reaction would be. Here’s the video:
So my initial thoughts were literally, how did they get so many black people to do this video. Then I thought about some of the typical stereotypes that were shown like the gold teeth, hair braiding on the porch and the grandma feeding him watermelon and I was like, “huh..” BUT! the tune is so damn catchy, it didn’t affect me as much as it probably should have and I thought the video was actually quite fun. My husband said when he first watched it, he felt like it was all wrong. But then he found out that Chris Rock directed the whole thing and his view of the video shifted from feeling wrong to feeling fun. Isn’t that quite interesting? He was so ready to be a little frustrated with this portrayal but to find out a prominent comedian directed the whole thing made him look at it differently.
All of this made me think of book reviews. I was reading a few on a book last night to gauge if it was something I would be interesting in reading since the cover drew me in and I came across some thought provoking comments. One reviewer rated the book 1 star then listed a novel’s length on everything he liked and disliked about the story. Many of the commenters found his review helpful and decided they’d steer clear of the book. Some agreed with some of the things he said but told him that they were sorry he didn’t like the book because the loved it. One commenter however was genuinely upset that he rated the book 1 star. She told him that he didn’t understand the book correctly and used phrases like “that’s not how the author portrayed the story”. He in turn got upset because he was being reviewed on his review and felt that it was his opinion and shouldn’t take flack for it because someone disagreed.
It got me thinking about all the books I read. Not every book can be a 4-5 star winner. I think of 3 star and below books I’ve read and left reviews on and I’ve never really thought about if a person would be upset about reading my review or not. Stories, videos, movies, logos, they’re all going to be interpreted differently when you have different people. I don’t think no one person can be right or wrong and they shouldn’t get shredded or told they’re opinion is inferior because they didn’t see the big vision that everyone else was supposed to see. Where’s the fun in that? Nobody likes to be told what to think or that their way of thinking is inferior you know? Specifically when it comes to books, authors release them hoping readers views will be aligned with theirs but it definitely should not be expected or condemned and belittled when it’s not.
Do you accept different interpretations of media or art? Have you ever been told a borderline snide comment because your interpretation didn’t color in the lines? Let me know in the comments below!