The New York Times has published a new story that tackles the issue of ethnically charged product naming, this time in the auto industry. The paper dusts off the discourse because Chrysler has resurrected the Jeep Cherokee moniker for its latest model. Writer Glenn Collins uses the new Jeep as a jumping off point for a merry stroll through the auto industry's history of culturally insensitive and/or politically incorrect names and advertising.

In the piece, Chrysler representatives say that reusing the Cherokee name isn't meant to offend anyone, noting that the company hasn't received any feedback about the name being disparaging. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma has said that the group opposes stereotypes and applauds sports teams and schools for dropping offensive mascots, but has stopped short of criticizing the Jeep Cherokee based on its name. Officially, the Cherokee Nation has no stance on the matter, but spokesman Amanda Clinton says "it would have been nice for them to have consulted us in the very least."

It's worth noting that "Cherokee" has been an active Jeep product name for decades now (through its more upscale Grand Cherokee range), and the company has long shied away from the sort of imagery and caricatures that have come under fire in the sporting world and elsewhere (e.g. Major League Baseball's Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians). Here on Autoblog, when the new Cherokee was revealed, many commenters openly groused about the name choice – but not because of its Native American ties. The issue for many, it would seem, is that this new model represents such a radical departure from the long-serving, much-loved XJ generation, that it has been deemed to not be an appropriate fit.

Do you have a problem with Jeep bringing back the Cherokee name because you think it's culturally insensitive, or is this much ado about nothing? Head over to The New York Times to read the piece for yourself, then vote in our poll below.




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  • 183 Comments
      mapoftazifosho
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah, having Grand before Cherokee makes us all forget...
        Will
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        "How can it be racist if I like their race?" -Rand Paul quoting Seinfeld
      RWD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Come on, it's not the Jeep Redskin, there is nothing derogatory here. "Cherokee" evokes the thought of ruggedness and survivability in a tough environment, which is very appropriate. Just using the name is insensitive? What about the AH-64 Apache? The baddest attack helicopter we have, and we make the comparison to a fearsome Apache warrior. Again, very appropriate. If anything, these have a positive connotation and the words are used to great effect. We're not talking about a cheap whiskey brand named "Cherokee's Choice Fire Water"... yes... that would be insensitive.
      Buckingham's
      • 1 Year Ago
      They could take BACK the name....but then they'd be "indian-givers".
      evilleo22
      • 1 Year Ago
      This whole country needs a tampax for its bleeding vaginas. There, does that offend you? GOOD!
        end3651
        • 1 Year Ago
        @evilleo22
        Tampax is a registered trademark. It should be capitalized and not used generically. Now if you will excuse me, I need to blow my nose in a kleenex, drink some kool-aid, apply a band-aid, and xerox some papers.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @evilleo22
        [blocked]
        Tina Dang
        • 1 Year Ago
        @evilleo22
        Hahahaha
      JaredN
      • 1 Year Ago
      We have quite a few problems in our country, including a huge budget deficit, out of control health care costs, a failing public education system, but some moronic left-wing moonbats get their panties in a twist over this? Seriously?
      DRC
      • 1 Year Ago
      I honestly think Jeep is being insensitive to original XJ owners by reusing the Cherokee name on a hideously ugly vehicle that should have taken over the Liberty name.
        Bill Burke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DRC
        Your being insensitive to those of us who love the new Cherokee. Haven't you learned anything from this article ? Honestly !
      DSD
      • 1 Year Ago
      With those headlights, it might have been offensive if they had called it the Jeep Chinaman.
      ammca66564
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to state publicly that I, an American of Scottish heritage, remain gravely wounded in my person by the 'thrifty' 1957-59 Studebaker Scotsman models. I have a petition for my reparations campaign if anyone would like to sign.
        end3651
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ammca66564
        Only if you will sign mine for the Hudson Wasp.
      yo
      • 1 Year Ago
      How is naming a car Cherokee offensive? That doesnt even make sense. And its not going to matter anyway...because this thing is soooo ugly it will be gone in 3 years.....epic design fail. Ralph gilles needs to go NOW
      Time
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is definitely a rich and bored people problem..
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just to put this topic to rest: The original article was a bit of trolling on the part of the New York Times, designed to provoke a reaction. The post here on Autoblog was a second bit of trolling, designed to provoke a reaction from us. In both cases it worked--we linked, we posted, we generated web traffic, we helped them make a little money. But this whole issue does not exist. Nobody in the real world cares about the name Cherokee. Nobody at Autoblog cares. I seriously doubt that anyone at the New York Times cares. There are no pesky liberals out there who care. Nobody cares. Hell, even the Cherokee Nation does not care. You can't "reignite a question" that nobody was asking in the first place. Nothing to see here. Move right along.
      Will
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is an attempt to manufacture a problem where none exists. 1) it's "Cherokee," not some outdated, racsist, slang term. 2) they never stopped making the "Grand Cherokee." Gezzz. I am a pretty liberal guy usually, but someone is just being a hit-***** with this story.
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