ESPN’s Outside the Lines has a piece today on the controversy surrounding the NFL’s Washington franchise nickname of the “Redskins.” I am watching it right now, so I can’t write the post on the issue I want to, since it isn’t online yet and I don’t have access to a transcript. I wanted to point it out though so people who are interested could try to catch it at some point.
Just a few comments for now….
One of the main arguments against changing the nickname is that the majority of the people do not want it changed. One graphic during the show claims that 79% of Americans do not want the name changed. This is a horrible argument. Yes, we do live in a form of democracy, but some things are not up for majority vote. Just because the majority of Americans are Christian doesn’t mean they get to vote us a national religion. Social justice issues routinely are opposed by the majority at first. Segregation, interracial marriage, and gay marriage are all issues that the morally right side lacked majority support at first. The issue isn’t whether or not 79% of the country wants the name to stay the same, the issue is whether or not the name is offensive to native Americans.
You can argue that this is political correctness run wild, but you would be exposing yourself as an idiot. This isn’t objecting to calling something “crazy,” or decrying the term “twink” as hate speech, or any other form of censorship by the sensitivity police. This is a racial epithet being used as a sports team mascot. The only reason they get away with it is that we killed all the damn Native Americans. Including Native Alaskans, they make up a whopping 1.2% of the nation. We shoved them onto reservations after claiming their land, and then we created an entire genre of entertainment where they served as the subhuman villains. While John Wayne no longer slaughters them on the silver screen, we still see them as others when we bother to even see them. We mock their culture and heritage with “Tomahawk Chops” and team mascots, in ways we would never even think to do to another culture.
Anyway, the show is worth watching. Once it is online I will at least link to it, and perhaps flesh out another post on the topic.