FanPost

What's in a name?

I’ve just been stewing about this all day, and really over the last few months since D.C.’s mayor decided to give his opinion. The issue won’t go away, and now everyone from the NY Times, to the Washington Post, to ESPN are bringing it up, saying it’s time to change our name. This whole argument is ridiculous. If the term "redskin" is so derogatory, why on earth would an owner at the time name his team after them? Marshall was racist yes, mostly towards blacks, and the team was the last to be integrated. So again, if he was racist, why would he name the team after Native Americans? The whole argument is an oxymoron. You don’t, and I’m guessing never have, heard of a team’s official name being something like "honkies" or "wetbacks" or "crackers" or "injuns" or God forbid, the dreaded "N" word! The reason you don’t is because these names are racist.

Think about it for a second. If you are a racist person, and you use racial slurs against people of other races, then probably you hate or really dislike that race for some ignorant reason. So why on earth, if you have such a prejudice against them, would you name your football team after them??? Obviously the term "redskin" was not considered to be racist, and in my opinion, the owner was honoring Native Americans. A symposium held at the Smithsonian a few weeks ago debated this issue and had many claims that the term "redskin" is a racial slur. Yet, one of their own, Ives Goddard, published a paper in 2005 arguing the very opposite, stating Native Americans used the name in describing themselves, and the term may had very well been "coined" by European settlers because of the way they painted their faces using bright red ocher and bloodroot. (http://www.anthropology.si.edu/goddard/redskin.pdf)

Now, a very small percentage of Native Americans feel offended, so they have to sue and make them change it? (and here is a poll, of Native Americans, done by NBC Sports in 2004 showing only 9% found it offensive http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/6093796/). Some of these recent articles are quoting an organization, "Indian Country Today," stating that times have changed, and everyone has reversed their opinions since the NBC or SI polls done a few years ago. I’d more likely believe this if "ICT" wasn’t a hugely liberal organization. That’s like saying MSNBC is a fair and balanced news organization; c’mon folks, do a little thinking on your own.

But, if that’s the case, fine. I want the Vikings to change their name too. Being of Norwegian decent, I am offended by the term Viking. The term "Viking" is defined as a member of ancient Scandinavian people: a member of a Scandinavian people who carried out seaborne raids of northwestern Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries ad, often settling in the areas they invaded, as in Britain, or seafarer: any plundering seafarer or pirate. Not all of those from that region are pirates and pillagers. Also, having a small amount of Irish in my family, I demand that Notre Dame change their name and logo as well. It’s offensive to me to portray "Irish" as always fighting and that we are all leprechauns. While we are at it, I think we should change the name of any state, county, city, national park, monument, etc., that uses any Native American name, because somebody might get offended. That should only be about 70% of this country’s places.

Unfortunately we now live in this nobody can fail, everyone gets a trophy, squeakiest wheel gets the grease, minority rule, politically correct, frail country. Welcome to the new United States. Everyone is frantically looking for the next great lawsuit to make them rich and/or famous. I’ve been a REDSKINS fan since I was very little, and do you know why? It’s because I grew up in Wyoming and this state has a rich history of Native Americans. We were taught in school of their culture and past, and I developed a fascination and admiration. This is why I believe I chose them as my team, pretty much before I even knew what football really was about, and have been a lifelong fan ever since. I figured it was an honor to them, but no, I must just be another uneducated, racist, white man who doesn’t know better. There will ALWAYS be ignorant people of every race who will hate for no reason, who will make fun of or degrade others, who will come up with stupid names or phrases; that’s just the way life is. I for one do not want to live in this kind of culture, where we are so afraid to offend, that we lose sense of who we are, or what and who we are trying to honor. I get that this nation committed atrocities against all sorts of races in our past. That is not who we are now.

So I want to hear from the Native American community themselves, not a bunch of white folks who are offended by the name. What name would you want the organization to use, to honor your heritage?? I’ve heard that the name "Indians" is offensive, "Warriors" is offensive, "Braves" is offensive, depending on who you ask. I’m afraid this whole movement will end up in the cliché "cutting off your nose to spite your face." Would you rather us not honor the Native Americans at all? So, way to go. Make them change the name and the logo, and probably move the team, lose millions of fans, revenue, etc., all because a very small percentage of people are offended. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

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