Let’s bring Native-American racism into the 2000s
February 3, 2014 - Race
What a beautiful video for an ugly situation. It’s really well done and makes its point really clear. Watch it:
Please, let me be the last one to say that there is no need to be any discussion — changing the name of the Washington Redskins is way, long overdue. Like, not yesterday, not last year, but like 30 fucking years ago. And even if this was cleared up in 1984, I would still be irritated with your shabby, broken-down empathy.
The word ridiculous is a completely ridiculous understatement here, but I am at a loss of words as I type this. It’s completely ridiculous that the NFL or Washington’s Pro Football team haven’t responded in the right way. Instead, both have been disrespectful and dismissive in their public statements.
The NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodell is relying on problematic polls so he can better ignore the situation, and the Washington Redskins organization released a statement after results of a poll became public in October:
The results of this poll are solidly in line with the message we have heard from fans and Native Americans for months—our name represents a tradition, passion and heritage that honors Native Americans. We respect the point of view of the small number of people who seek a name change, but it is important to recognize very few people agree with the case they are making.
Sigh. Their responses make me feel like it’s the 1980s and I hate feeling nostalgic. These polls, even if they weren’t iffy, shouldn’t be a consideration if they had an inkling of what really matters. And what really matters is the name of your professional football team, has been known as a slur historically. Whether it started off as one or not shouldn’t matter, the word “Redskins” was eventually co-opted as a pejorative term.
And somehow, that’s honoring Native Americans?
Redskns, Negroes, Chinamen, OH MY!
You know, I’ve followed this situation and eventually ran into discussions where commenters pushed comparisons to other ethnic slurs such as ‘Washington Chinks‘ or ‘Washington Niggers’ to highlight whether those would be acceptable as a team mascot’s name today. And of course they wouldn’t. Right?
Right? I’m not so sure anymore.
However, I don’t think those are the most-accurate comparisons in this case, a more relevant comparison would be ‘Washington Chinamen‘ or ‘Washington Negroes‘ because that’s how fucking old the Redskins slur is — Redskins is a term so steeped in the past that the mainstream doesn’t even realize that it’s considered a slur any longer. And because it’s been in the attic so long, we get caught up in the entymology and the situation is mucked up by the history and intellectualized by the former usages of the word.
But, let’s keep it on point. Though Redskins may not be the slur du jour, it’s still an offensive term and it shouldn’t be used as a mascot whether you THINK it’s a slur or not.
If you’re interested in helping lift Native Americans to the more enlightened racism of 2014 and make the NFL listen, I encourage you to get more of the facts and refresh your perspective on ChangeTheMascot.org, spread the video on your social media bread, and support the cause on Twitter.