If The Washington Redskins changed their name tomorrow, then what?
The argument for change is: The word "Redskin" offends Native Americans. Offending a group, especially a group who's been screwed over time and time again, is cruel. Therefore, changing the name would benefit Native Americans. On the surface, that seems like a pretty straightforward equation.
But, the problem is, Native Americans have much bigger problems than the name of the football team in DC.
Native Americans have it rough One in every four lives in poverty. About 12 percent of Native America deaths are alcohol related. They develop diabetes twice as often as whites do. The National Indian Education Association recently said that "Native education is in crisis." According to the last two censuses "Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the United States of America."
The name "Redskins" doesn't cause or cure any of these problems. If The Washington Redskins changed their name it might give an intangible or emotional boost to some Native Americans; but all of those ugly statistics would remain unaffected.
There are MUCH bigger issues that we as a society should tackle before we get to changing the Skins' name. And with that concession, its also worth mentioning that it wouldn't be the end of the world if they did end up changing the name. It's just important that we don't think of the name change as a miracle cure for what ails Native Americans. We should recognize it for what it is: Scapegoating.