Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Offend: The Word "Redskin"

by Andrew Roman
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The issue is a burning one.
In a sea of debt ceiling debate and ObamaCare Rollout disasters, the real question plaguing the collective American mind: Is the name Washington "Redskins" offensive? Is it debasing? Insensitive? Racist?
Indeed, Syria takes a back seat. Benghazi is old news. The IRS thing is just right wing paranoia. Forget the NSA. Right now, it’s all about the word “redskin” and the moth-eaten, primordial mindset that allows such a hateful phrase to continue to exist.
Run a Google search on the subject.
Is it reprehensible? Hateful?
The overwhelming vast majority of posts, articles and commentaries say it is. And if you just happened to arrive from, say, the Planet Zaytox a billion light years away and didn't know any better, you'd think just about every single human being in America is outraged by the name.
And if they aren't…well, they damn well ought to be.
Some web sites, in fact, are so progressive, so forward in their thinking, so wholly sensitive to the pain the name apparently inflicts, they refuse to actually use the word “redskins” when referring to the Washington football squad – like Slate.com, for example (that Mecca of professional football analysis and insight).
At least someone is looking out for us.
Even NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, recently said, “If one person is offended, we have to listen.”
They have to listen.
Let’s see … I’m offended the pledge of allegiance isn't said before football games anymore. I'm offended by the Jacksonville Jaguars silly looking two tone helmets. I'm offended at uniforms where the tops and bottoms are the same color (save for road whites). They look like pajamas.
Anyone in the NFL front offices listening now?
Quite literally, on a dime, this "Redskin" thing is suddenly a hot national issue.
In an era when supporting traditional values means one hates gays, or displaying a Christmas tree in public is a Constitutional infraction, this media-contrived hyper-sensitivity to anything – and I mean anything - that could even remotely be perceived as offensive is so out of control and ridiculous that it is impossible to overstate it.
Thou Shall Not Offend: the commandment that should have been.
To even the most casual observer, it must truly seem to be the mission of the predominantly liberal media to continue to point out  - and prove - at every turn, that racism and bigotry still permeate this country.
It's much like the man who believes that restaurants are unsanitary and dangerous. He eats at a different place every day for seven years until he actually gets sick from something. Then, he proclaims, "See? I told you that people get sick eating in those germ factories!"
The fact is… only modern-day progressives, ever on the hunt for social injustices in every nook and cranny of society, operating on the rabble-rousing fumes of political-correctness, would truly believe that a National Football Team would name and brand itself with a symbol they did not honor or take genuine pride in. And since these champions of social consciousness are the ones who essentially drive the media complex in this country, this ridiculous non-issue has suddenly bubbled up (again) as a pressing national controversy….even though the overwhelming vast majority of Americans (and Native Americans) aren’t offended in the least.
What exactly is there to be offended about?
I ask this in all seriousness.
What makes the word “redskin” an epithet, worthy of mention in the same breath with genuine racial epithets?
It is gravely disingenuous – and intellectually vacuous – to bandy about examples of incontestably offensive nicknames to illustrate the (so-called) callous insensitivity of the name “Redskins”: the Washington Kikes, the Washington Niggers, the Washington Spicks, etc…  Those words have always been used as pejoratives, as insults, as demeaning labels. Such terms were meant to diminish, to belittle, to revile. Those terms were born and cultivated through racism and bigotry.
Not so for the word “redskin.”
The history simply doesn’t bear it out. The culture doesn’t reflect it. The attempts to equate the word with hateful slurs are, at best, products of college dorm-room logic and professorial mumbo jumbo. There’s no foundation in it.
The only thing the word "redskin" is associated with is… football.
For example, person one - let's call him, Hank - meets up with person two - let's call him Trucker - and says the following: "Hey, dude. Guess what? I just ran into a redskin at the mall!"
What do you think Trucker is thinking? Is he thinking Hank just met a Native American? Or is he thinking that maybe Hank met Robert Griffin III and got an autograph?
Or better yet….Hank proclaims, “I HATE the Redskins!”
Is Trucker thinking, “I wonder if he’s referring to the Sioux Nation or the professional football franchise?”
Again I ask: How exactly does the word offend? Because it sounds like it should offend someone?
And who is offended exactly? American Indians?
No, not really.
The sellout crowds that come to see the Redskins play?
Clearly, no.
Those who buy the merchandise and adorn the team colors and logos?
Not.
On the other hand, if, in fact, a team were called the Washington Niggers, who would come? Who would buy the merchandise? Who would want to? Would such a name be born out of respect, honor and admiration?
Come on now....turn on your common sense meters.
After considerable research, it was just about impossible to find the term “redskin,” outside of a football context, in use anywhere over the past hundred years or so. The accounts of racial bias against Native Americans where the word “redskin” was used were nonexistent. (Actually, bias against American Indians at all was practically nonexistent).
There is simply no “R” word legacy to speak of.
The word “redskin” isn’t even Western in origin. It doesn't come from the "white man."
In an article posted at Breitbart.com earlier this year:
A longtime chief of a major Virginia Native American tribe said he would be offended if the Washington Redskins DID change the team name and said society has gotten too "politically correct" and "touchy" these days.
Speaking on Sirius XM NFL Radio's "The Morning Drive" …. Robert "Two Eagles" Green, whom CBS notes "retired from his presiding role over the 1300-member Patawomeck Tribe in March," said most members of his tribe "don’t find" the Redskins name to be "offensive.”
“I’ve been a Redskins fan for years and to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change it," Green said.
Chief Green said his research indicated the term came from Indians, and it is "not a term that the white man created." He said Native Americans used the term to refer to themselves in negotiations with white settlers and noted "we have people in this country that try and gin up problems that don’t exist.”
ESPN columnist Rick Reilly, who has been earnestly excoriated by those who populate the “tolerant left” for publishing a well-crafted, thoughtful and well-researched article on the subject, writes:
“I definitely don’t know how I’ll tell the athletes at Wellpinit (Wash.) High School — where the student body is 91.2 percent Native American — that the “Redskins” name they wear proudly across their chests is insulting them. Because they have no idea.
“I’ve talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it,” says Tim Ames, the superintendent of Wellpinit schools. “‘Redskins’ is not an insult to our kids. ‘Wagon burners’ is an insult. ‘Prairie n—–s’ is an insult. Those are very upsetting to our kids.
But ‘Redskins’ is an honorable name we wear with pride. … In fact, I’d like to see somebody come up here and try to change it.”
...it’s not going to be easy telling the Kingston (Okla.) High School (57.7 percent Native American) Redskins that the name they’ve worn on their uniforms for 104 years has been a joke on them this whole time. Because they wear it with honor.
“We have two great tribes here,” says Kingston assistant school superintendent Ron Whipkey, “the Chicasaw and the Choctaw. And not one member of those tribes has ever come to me or our school with a complaint. It is a prideful thing to them.”
“It’s a name that honors the people,” says Kingston English teacher Brett Hayes, who is Choctaw. “The word ‘Oklahoma’ itself is Choctaw for ‘red people.’ The students here don’t want it changed. To them, it seems like it’s just people who have no connection with the Native American culture, people out there trying to draw attention to themselves.
“My kids are really afraid we’re going to lose the Redskin name. They say to me, ‘They’re not going to take it from us, are they, Dad?’”
If the name truly were offensive – if it was meant to highlight the inferiority of a given race or culture – why on earth would a sports franchise use it?
Again, let those common sense meters buzz loudly.
Let's try and wrap our brains around the logic here with a few silly, yet illustrative, examples…
Would a white supremacy group form a softball team called the “Jews?”
Would a militant black group create a team called the “Whiteskins?”
Absurd, yes....but absurdity is often the best way to highlight absurdity.
The sad thing is: Once someone like Daniel Snyder (owner of the Redskins, who claims he will never change the team's name) is labeled in the press as "bigoted," or "insensitive" or some sort of "phobe" - and once the bandwagon is so bogged down with emotional stragglers from all sectors of American society that it is planted firmly in the mud of political correctness, and once our favorite actors and musicians start sounding the bugle of corporate greed, racism and hatred that must be behind this ongoing injustice - the argument will be lost with no way to win it back.
Daniel Flynn of the American Spectator gives America a little lesson on the history of the name:
“The history of the “Redskins” nickname appears less about Native Americans and more about the economic realities of the early NFL. The $9 billion behemoth was once the latest in a long line of failed attempts at professional football. As I discovered in researching my forthcoming book, The War on Football:  Saving America’s Game, NFL owners — then a motley collection of gamblers and the nouveau-not-so-riche — attempted to market their product as an offseason diversion for fans of the national pastime once that game’s season had gone past its time. So, the team that shared Wrigley Field with the Cubs became the Bears, the team that shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants became the Giants, and the team that eventually shared Tigers Stadium with the Tigers became the Lions after their move to Detroit.
The Redskins started life as the Boston Braves, sharing Braves Field with the Major League Baseball team of that name. After their first year, the football Braves moved about a mile east to Fenway Park. Seeking a name to go with the baseball team with whom they shared a field, the Braves ownership changed their name to the “Redskins.” Get it: Red Sox, Redskins. Even when they moved south and occupied Griffith Stadium along with the Senators, the Redskins remained the Redskins.”
Give it time ... concerned atheists, who have already fought (successfully) to remove a cross from the seal of the City of Los Angeles, will amass in New Orleans and protest the Saints' name;  something about the separation of church and state, I'm sure.
I was asked once: "How would you feel if there was a football team called the 'Brooklyn Jews.' "
I said, "Are you kidding? After millennia of what the Jews had to endure, it would be an amazing honor to have a sports franchise called 'The Jews.' I would LOVE it."
A Work crew of seven men was needed to extract his bottom jaw from the pavement.
_

9 comments:

  1. Great commentary, as usual Andrew! It is far easier, of course, for liberals to work themselves into high dudgeon over the name of a sports team, than to work themselves up over the treatment given to our veterans at their memorial, or over the lives of four people killed at Benghazi due to the incompetence and neglect of this administration, or even get upset over the numerous lies being told by the President of the US.

    And, it goes without saying that the search for imaginary racism is every present in what passes for the liberal mind. It's that sense of false moral superiority that fuels their egos.

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  2. At this point I have to admit to being a racist.

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    Replies
    1. You think you're a racist? Just look how Andrew dumped all over my people from the planet Zaytox !!

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  3. Guess we could just resort to the tried & true and call em the "Washington R-words." Of course, it is just a matter of time until somebody figures out the baseball team is the NATIONALS! Clearly another racist moniker selected by rich white mens. A term obviously meant to evince feelings of anger and hate against those who are not citizens....

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    Replies
    1. We could acknowledge the influence of the seat of our nation's government and call them the Washington Rapscallions.

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  4. Native, my ass. No one is "native". None.

    They should change the name to the Washington Cave Men. Keep the logo exactly the same. Just be honest about what they're honoring. Cave men. Stone age, paleolithic humans who had yet to understand things like the wheel, domesticating animals, agriculture, etc.

    Whenever you're ready, assholes. Oh, I'm sorry. I meant, Native assholes.

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  5. My children are all native Americans, as a I. Maybe we could call the team the Washington Indigenous Peoples? Or maybe Washington Hostile Indigenous Peoples? (WHIP)

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