September 18, 2007

Redskins Is Racist

(The American Prospect) This column was written by Michael Tomasky.

Though a liberal, I am not and never have been a devotee of political correctness. I think "black" and "Indian" work just fine most of the time and consider "African American" and "Native American" to be superfluous mouthfuls. I think it's more important that disadvantaged schoolchildren memorize their multiplication tables than have their self-esteem preserved.

And I can't quite get behind the idea that people who choose to change their sex should be grouped, rights-securing wise, with people who were born gay.

So I don't usually go in for this sort of thing. But as the new football season approaches, enough is enough: Washington Redskins is a horrendously racist name.

Where do I start? I suppose by saying that this fact should be so obvious to absolutely everyone that the need to change the name at this point, now no longer the "innocent dawn" of the 21st Century, should be beyond debate. I mean … Redskins! Just sit with that word for a while.

These next three paragraphs contain a few offensive words, but using them (or some of them) is the best way to make the point.

Let's start with the mother of all racist pejoratives — you know the word I mean. This one I won't put it in print; it's too lurid. Obviously, no one would name a team the Washington N-----s, and anyway, I don't think Redskins is equivalent to that. We white folk (this includes not just the United States, but pre-U.S. colonialists) may have killed far more native people, but what we did to black people occupies a more prominent place in our national memory, and I think probably rightly so. So the N-word, so fully associated with that history, is a special case, and it has no equal.

Read the rest of the article here, at The American Prospect.

19 Responses:

"ben" said...

Yes, and if I despised the Redskins, I might be on this crusade, as well.

While I would be sad to have my team become the Washington Red Storm, I would certainly understand. I won't defend it, but I'll let other people like J-Red (dangerously close to an offensive name) fight it instead.

I could cheer for the Washington Braves or Washington Redskin Potatoes. But please, no River Dawgs.

Jeremy said...

We may be racist, but assuming arguendo we are racist, we're 2-0 racists!!!

Russell said...

I commend your choice of articles, that is by far the most intelligent argument I have seen on the subject, on either side.

Since I find the Ravens offensive (esp on offense), I think the name should be changed to Baltimore Casks or Baltimore Tell-tale Hearts. Maybe Ray-Ray would feel the need to confess something.

The worst college name change in my opinion is Hofstra, from the Flying Dutchmen (cool but possibly offensive) to the Pride (lame).

Dewey said...

Dan Snyder should trade all of his draft picks next year for a better name... or has he already traded away those picks?

Brien said...

On the other hand, the coolest potential college nickname change (that will never happen) is BYU, from the Cougars (yawn) to the Stormin' Mormons (awesome and not offensive at all).

"ben" said...

The greatest college nickname change occurred at Penn, early 20th century. Maybe late 19th.

Was: Fighting Quakers
Is: Quakers

Kind of a necessary change, I think.

J-Red said...

I still laugh at all the "Fighting Methodists" that used to exist. I know they're drinkers, but who's really afraid of a non-descript protestant religion?

Russell, the proper choice is the Baltimore Amontillado, if for no other reason than it would be hilarious to hear Dundalk try to say it.

Russell said...

I think most Baltimorons would think that you meant the Baltimore Armadillos and be very upset.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, when I was a student at CMU, (Central Michigan University), the local indian tribe threw a fit about the long standing name of our mascot the Chippewas. I am not sure if it was because they were upset because they thought they should get a cut from the school for all the appearal that was sold with the Chippewa on it or the fact the chippewa was painted up in full war paint. They took the school to court and not much came of it. But, later on, they were given property in Mt.Pleasant to build casinos on and long and behold the chippewa symbol was no longer a problem. Give a screaming child what they want and they shut-up and so do the chippewas.

"ben" said...

Um, the way I heard the story was that the Chippewas and Central Michigan University (CMU) have a strong, long-standing relationship, including free tuition for Chippewas (as well as automatic admittance into the school, perhaps?).

But I'm not native to Michigan. Of course, I'm guessing none of us are Native.


J-Red said...

They're still the Chippewas and they still can play in the NCAA Tournament. That means the tribal leadership consents to the name.

Same with Illini, Utes, and Seminoles. I agree with the author's feelings on team names that aren't patently offensive.

Anonymous said...

when I was in high school, michigan actually gave school districts extra money for each student that were native americans. being the multi-racial area that i was from, (one black and one indian student), the boy, joe kennedy, was asked to stand up and be counted. to me that was embarassing. but, we all know that michigan isn't known as a liberal state unless you include dr. death, jack Kavorican. As to the comment on native americans going to central for free...?

J-Red said...

"Michigan isn't a liberal state unless you count..." the incredible death grip the unions have on the state.

"ben" said...

True, J-Red, but those union folks are the same ones voting down affirmative action and gay rights while they march up north with their assault rifles and NRA membership cards chanting LET'S GO CHIPPEWAS! YEEEHAW!

Anonymous said...

j-red...i will have to agree with you about the unions here in michigan. if it isn't the auto workers it is the teachers union. this week the auto unions are at the bargaining table...what the hell can the union ask for. the auto industry is so down, there is nothing to ask for. and as for the teachers, they get everything and bitch the entire time their getting it. the state is definitely not liberal and we are in a lot of trouble...but what did we expect by electing a ca-nuck for our governor. will we ever learn.

J-Red said...

I really don't want to get into this, but what the unions asked for before determines why the unions have nothing left now. They painted GM and Ford into a corner, and now they're upset because the jobs are heading south, to union-busting states like Mississippi.

I whole-heartedly agree that Michigan votes liberal, but only because of unions.

And leave the teachers' union out of it. They exist in every state, and they haven't opened the door for foreign companies to dominate us.

Kevin Hayward said...

It's an interesting article. I tend to agree that Braves, Chiefs, Seminoles, Fighting Illini should stay... but Redskins should go.

Anonymous said...

Let's be sure to also tell Minnesota that they have to remove their horns (no historical evidence has ever shown horns on a viking helmet), the Dolphins must lose the circle of Seaworld captivity, the Patriots should pay Graceland for the Flying Elvis logo.

Anonymous said...

A more prominent role--you are still here in this country.

The Indians have almost all been wiped out, disenfranchised and whittled down by breeding outside the race, and let us not forget that ALL of the continental USA land was STOLEN from them.

So, to say what was done to blacks is more prominent is really laughable. But since there are so few Indians to argue and Blacks make up the largest minority population in the US, I am sure there will be more posts.

What was done to both peoples was wrong, but please abstain from comparing since your numbers so a distinct less prominence.

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