Monday, November 3, 2014

The Redskins' Offensive Name - And Why They Should Not Change It

Indefensible?  Pretty much.  BUT...

I'm going to keep this short, because I have lost all patience for rhetoric.  Thanks, perpetual American election mode, for ending any and all constructive debate, once and for all.  

So.  The NFL team in (near) Washington calls itself the Redskins, and a lot of people are offended by that, and want them to change the name.

I'm not going to discuss the antiquated nature of the R-word, or how comparing it to the N-word is utter nonsense, because the N-words is still in use as a pejorative against African Americans, whereas NO ONE calls Native Americans "Redskins" anymore.

I will not go into the argument that, unless you are a Native American, this privately-held company's name is none of your beeswax.

I won't cite the utter hypocrisy of the millions of "offended" people who live on and "own" the land on which Native Americans lived for many hundreds of years, before it was taken from them by force.

I won't ask why the word "Redskins" is so hugely offensive, and yet our collective treatment of actual living, breathing Native Americans is a non-issue.

All of that would be pointless, because the word is offensive.  Period.  End of discussion.  It is.  I am not denying that fact.


Here's why I don't think the team should change the name.  It's simple.  As long as they have this offensive name, there's at least a decent chance that people will keep talking about it, which will to some small degree keep our nation's indigenous people - and our treatment of them - in the public discourse.  

Change the name, and they and their myriad of American-made challenges will fade even further from our collective consciousness.  They will disappear just that much more completely.

That's it.  My argument is admittedly VERY flawed, but really, it's as good as any I've heard on either side of this debate.

Before I go - and before someone pulls a "put your money where your mouth is" on me, here's a photo of the check I wrote tonight - to the Cherokee Nation Foundation. 

It's a start.

It's not much, but it's a start.

Join me next time, when I'll make up a story about a fictitious hobo - which should be exceedingly offensive to all my non-hobo friends and family.  It'll be fun!

1 comment:

  1. I asked my friend Godfrey O. Ozzenbarq III (not his real name), who is one-quarter Cherokee, for his thoughts on this issue. As is his style, he emailed an hour after I posted the piece, with:

    "I think the logo should portray drunkin' injuns puking in a trough and chasing scantily clad under-age squaws with buffalo-bone dildos through animal-stink teepees.

    Seriously though, I am bullet-proof when it comes to my own dark red heritage. To me, Redskins, as portrayed by the local football club, represents, in my mind, a noble, brave and furious warrior that would fight to the death for tribe and territory…pretty much what one wants out of their football (squash, frisbee-golf, power tanning, whiffle ball team.

    So I'm not the best copy on this subject. I think it a bit overblown, but if even one person objects to the name, then Danny Snyder should be castrated. Period.

    Let's get past all this fuckin' silliness and just play football, kill buffalo, and continue to seed arrowheads around tourist spots to keep the unwashed all a-twitter…"

    So, yeah. Your move, um, everyone. (Note: Around here, we hate Dan Snyder with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns.)