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View Diary: *New Day* Aren't 80 years of the 'Redskin' slur enough? (266 comments)

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  •  Are Chiefs any different semantically? (13+ / 0-)

    Has anyone tried pointing out to them that the team names being used like this are peered by animal named teams?

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 07:59:43 AM PST

    •  I'm okay with them being the Kansas City Chiefs (20+ / 0-)

      if they start using a Scottish guy wearing a Glengary cap with three feathers in it.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:03:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There IS a qualitative difference . . . (20+ / 0-)

      between "redskin" and "chief" in the same way that there is one between "n-----" and "colored."  That is, it's a matter of historical degree and depravity - considering, in part, the things that white soldiers used to do with our actual skins.  [One reason why modern usage of the word "squaw" is so utterly depraved.]

      As a practical matter, though, "Chiefs" has to go, too.  It's also racist.  And I root for whatever team is playing KC, unless it's Washington.  Then I just want them both to lose.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:04:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I Mentioned In Another Comment (10+ / 0-)

        I was a Redskins ticket holder. I also worked in advertising in the DC area, which is how the current owner made all his money, selling his advertising agency to a French firm (or how he bought the team).

        I honestly as a fellow ad and branding guy never got why he didn't change the name. Many find it offensive for clear reasons.

        But I will admit I almost have an entire closet of Redskins stuff.

        Changing the name, the logo, well I would have the need to rebuy much of that stuff. I'd love to be a "fly on the wall" in a meeting where they talk about keep this name.

        I don't like it very much.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:14:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're worth $1.6 billion. (14+ / 0-)

          That they've made on the backs of a slur against all of us. They can afford it.

          Would anyone even dare to raise the cost issue if they called themselves the Washington N------?  Of course not.  So I'm not even remotely moved, not a millimeter, by any of the arguments, cost least of all.

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:20:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think we need to reference the slur directly (25+ / 0-)
            The word Redskin derived from the practice of skinning Indians for easy transport when collecting bounty. The skin was removed from the top of the back and ran all the way down the legs. These skins were used for products such as reins, boots, belts, pouches, etc. Andrew Jackson, who was one of the worst enemies of the Native people, and by far the most brutal president towards Native people, collected the noses of every Indian he killed and encouraged the practice of skinning. Native people are not red. Mostly they range from tan to brown. Redskin comes from bloody skin.

            Indian Mascots & Death Threats to a 15 yr. old (2x Updated)
            by Winter Rabbit

            That's what redskins means.

            (I miss Winter Rabbit)

            •  Yes, and for those who don't know . . . (23+ / 0-)

              the modern usage of "squaw," it comes from a similar source:  It's a euphemism for Indian woman's genitalia, but crudely, in the sense of a four-letter word beginning with "c."  And our genitals were hacked out by white soldiers and used as "medicine" bags (talk about sacrilege), among other things.

              So let's not hear anything on this site, ever again, about how the word "redskin" is not racist, nor a tool of genocide, because it's both.

              Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

              by Aji on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:36:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wow. I Will Have To Google That (6+ / 0-)

                not saying you are wrong, but my gosh if that is true, and my history of the world is limited, I will go puke a little in my mouth.

                I had no idea that was the initial meaning of "squaw." I know we did terrible things. I had no idea really we did something like this. Makes me sick to my stomach at levels I can't put to words.

                When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

                by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:55:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I had no idea. (13+ / 0-)

                How utterly revolting.

                Oh, I used to be disgusted
                Now I try to be amused
                ~~ Elvis Costello

                by smileycreek on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:36:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  This is widely reported, but is wrong. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wader, pico

                I'm not going to argue that squaw isn't pejorative in the modern sense.  Its connotation is demeaning and racialized; it's in the same category of words as Jewess.

                But it isn't a reference to sexual organs, much less to that kind of abuse.  The idea that it derives from a word referring to genitals only dates back to the 1970s, to the Glencoe Press book Literature of the American Indian which claimed the word had its origins in an Iroquois word for female genitals, otsiskwa.  But that's not true.  Ives Goddard, senior linguist for the Smithsonian, traces the word to the Massachusett word squa and then back to Proto-Algonquin; in all cases, it meant "young woman".  See this pdf reprinting a letter in which he discusses said origins.

                The idea that squaw is a sexual term became widely known following the 1992 appearance of Suzan Harjo on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where Harjo claimed it was "an Algonquin Indian word meaning vagina."  Not only have linguists like Goddard rejected this etymology, so have other tribal historians.  Harjo has done excellent work as an activist, but there's no evidence to support her proposed etymology, although, thanks largely to Oprah, it has been widely repeated.

                And as for the claim of genital mutilation and removal by white soldiers, I'm going to need a reference for that.  If it occurred at all, it was most certainly not a widespread practice.

                None of that redeems the word.  It's still tainted and pejorative.  But history (and linguistics) is full of plenty of horrible stories, terrible actions, and novel ways to belittle each other.  There's no need to embellish it further with modern inaccuracies.

                "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

                by Serpents Choice on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:43:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, it is not wrong, and you missed . . . (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wader, paradise50, navajo, LinSea

                  my point entirely.  Did you not read where I said "modern usage?"

                  I know the derivation of the original term very well, since it comes from my and other Algonquin languages.  I've written about it at some length.  But the modern white man's usage of the word SPECIFICALLY refers to a Native woman's genitals in the crudest terminology possible.  AND I HAVE BEEN CALLED THAT.  Now, do you want to argue that a white man calling a Black man "n-----" is okay because it's a mispronunciation of a European-language word for "black?"

                  I'm going to say this once, and I'm done:  I KNOW MY LANGUAGE, AND MY HISTORY.  So do the rest of us NDNs here.  So I'll kindly thank you to stop incorrectly whitesplaining to me this bullshit that white racists have used eternally to justify about the treatment of our peoples.

                  It's downthread, too, and I am so goddamn sick of it.

                  Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                  by Aji on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:50:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Um. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wader, pico, Remove Kebab

                    First.  Just because I don't post with a username that is clearly identifiable with a Native American tradition does not mean I am not associated with American indigenous peoples.  But thanks for assuming.

                    Nigger has been a pejorative since at least the mid-19th century.  Probably longer.  If it had any life at all in a neutral context, it was a short one.

                    Squaw wasn't generally even pejorative until the early 20th century; uses throughout even the late 1800s are almost universally neutral.  But it still wasn't used as a sexual reference until very recently.  Really, not until Harjo's appearance on Oprah.  It's not a good word in the modern sense.  Like I said, I'd no more use it that I would use Jewess, which has exactly the same sort of problems.  Maybe we just disagree on what constitutes the "modern" use of a word?

                    But even with bad words, it's important to stand up for the idea that they have origins and meanings that aren't so fungible that one woman on daytime TV can change their history and meaning.  I've been called all kinds of terrible things.  Because some people are terrible people.  That doesn't make the real history of words (and events) any less important.

                    "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

                    by Serpents Choice on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:01:45 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I realize it's an understandably upsetting subject (0+ / 0-)

                    But, you both seem generally in violent agreement.

                    Maybe best to consider where you have common ground on the points, here.

                    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                    by wader on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:07:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  And FTR: (6+ / 0-)

                  The word IS Algonquin, and it originally meant "woman."

                  Ikwe/kwe; iskwe/skwe; iskwa/skwa.

                  It never meant anything to do with genitals until white bigots got hold of it.  But now, that's the modern usage, just like "n-----,"and no one is entitled to use that term to apply to me or any Indian woman.

                  And read some real NDN history of the U.S. Calvary and Army's actions, not whitewashed U.S. school crap, to see what was done to us.  There's plenty in the record, and in our memories.

                  Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                  by Aji on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:54:56 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As for the atrocity you mentioned (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pico

                    I apologize, and have found my own documentation.  That sort of female genital mutilation did occur -- at Sand Creek under the hands of Chivington's men.  Although that's a detail I didn't recall about that massacre, it doesn't actually surprise me much (I knew there was male genital mutilation following the massacre).  Chivington's attack at Sand Creek stands out from a wide background of terrible behavior by the US Cavalry on account of its sheer and unremitting barbarism, from its beginning (as an attack against nonhostile civilians under a flag of truce) to its end (with widespread mutilation of the victims).  There's substantial evidence that Chivington even had one of his own men murdered for giving testimony against him.

                    To the credit of the government, Chivington's actions were specifically condemned by Congress, the US Army, and the United Methodist Church, and are widely credited with beginning the softening of public views regarding Native Americans (despite first escalating into the 1865 plains campaign).  Both Congress and the Army had expressed a desire for real and severe punishment for his atrocities, but he was an unintentional beneficiary of the post-Civil War general amnesty, and so was sadly able to live a long and stridently unrepentant life.

                    I can't immediately find record of anyone else similarly barbaric.  I don't have any illusion about the "nobility" of the 19th century US Cavalry, but thankfully very few of their (admittedly many) abuses rose to within sight of Chivington's level of depravity.

                    "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

                    by Serpents Choice on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:44:19 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  this parallels Nazi treatment of Jewish "skin" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                paradise50, Cassandra Waites

                I have never heard about this specific detail. I am glad you opened my eyes. I wished I had some sources for that.

            •  Not a widely accepted etymology (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico

              Look, I hate to be the person who comes in here and defends terrible language.  Because I expect I'm going to get jumped on (again) for doing it here, let me make clear up-front: redskin is not okay.

              It is very literally the Native American equivalent of nigger, and it's been that way for a very long time.  Both epithets owe their origins to descriptions of skin color.  "Red" as a description of the skin color of Native Americans, dates back to 1587 and was unassociated with any skinning or bounty.  The OED identified the specific compound redskin as a term for Native Americans as early as 1699.  There's some evidence that it might have been used neutrally for a little while, but it's been used as a racial pejorative since at least the mid-1700s (meaning it's been offensive for longer than nigger, actually).

              But while use of the word is indefensible, it's origins still don't lie with Andrew Jackson.  Nor, as some online sources claim, with a 1755 bounty on the Penobscot tribe (which didn't use the word).  Terrible things were undeniably done to Native Americans.  And redskin is a terrible word.  But the latter is not due to the former.

              "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

              by Serpents Choice on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:19:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  oh my, I have never read this in such (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              paradise50

              detail and directness. Wow. ...
              I have to thank you for that.

        •  You'd think they and the NFL (5+ / 0-)

          would jump at the chance to make folks buy all new gear -- and the existing gear would start to rise in collector's value.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:52:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The former restaurant chain (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paradise50, LinSea

        Fresh Choice used to feature a dark brown bread they called "Squaw Bread", but very quietly started calling it "Harvest Grain Bread" instead -- got to wonder if they got some blowback from First Nations groups.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:47:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  or against Cowboys, (8+ / 0-)

      or meat packers, or steel workers.  Chiefs, Braves, Indians aren't ideal, but they're not as bad as "Redskins."  I have a hard time imagining that anybody would call a team the "Fighting Irish" today, but I have yet to meet anyone offended by that, let alone because they play teams named for wolverines (Michigan) or small rocks (Ohio State).

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:45:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fun Fact About the Chiefs: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scioto, paradise50

      I wanted to post this since no one brought it up in regards to the Kansas City Chiefs.

      Their name originally came about to honor H. Roe "The Chief" Bartle, then mayor of Kansas City, who fought to bring them to the city.   It also plays into the city's theme of having royalty-based sports teams (the Chiefs, Kings, Monarchs, and Royals).

      Granted, the imagery that became associated with the team has been questionable at best.  I will say that the team/city has toned down a lot of said questionable imagery in recent years, and it's difficult (though not impossible) to find any KC gear that has anything more offensive than the standard arrowhead symbol.  The team took some initiative on this back in the 80s, getting rid of the atrocious "Warpaint" mascot (look him up, or better, don't).  That being said, they/we still need to do a lot more as far as eliminating the "Tomahawk Chop" variant that we use in the stadium, and discouraging/banning the fans who come to game dressed in those horribly racist tribal outfits.

      Back to my original point, though.  Mayor Barlte did a great deal for Kansas City (especially in the fight for desegregation), and deserves to be honored as a part of the city's history.  I'd be down for some serious re-imaging for the Chiefs (never much liked the arrowhead anyway), but I think a name change wouldn't really be the right solution in this case.

      "He was more than a hero. He was a union man." -Miles O'Brien

      by KC to BK on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:24:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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