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During halftime of the Dallas-Washington Sunday Night Football Bob Costas said the following:

"With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name “Redskins.”

"Let’s start here. There is no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus toward Native Americans or wishes to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don’t think twice about the longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best can be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended.

"But, having stipulated that, there’s still a distinction to be made. Objections to names like 'Braves,' 'Chiefs,' 'Warriors,' and the like strike many of us as political correctness run amok. These nicknames honor, rather than demean. They are pretty much the same as 'Vikings,' 'Patriots,' or even 'Cowboys.' And names like 'Blackhawks,' 'Seminoles,' and 'Chippewas,' while potentially more problematic, can still be OK provided the symbols are appropriately respectful – which is where the Cleveland Indians with the combination of their name and “Chief Wahoo” logo have sometimes run into trouble.

"A number of teams, mostly in the college ranks, have changed their names in response to objections. The Stanford Cardinal and the Dartmouth Big Green were each once the Indians; the St. John’s Redmen have become the Red Storm, and the Miami of Ohio Redskins – that’s right, Redskins – are now the Red Hawks. Still, the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital has maintained its name. But think for a moment about the term “Redskins,” and how it truly differs from all the others.  Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group.

"When considered that way, 'Redskins' can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.  It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent. It is fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended. But, if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?"  

Last Thursday, in a diary by Meteor Blades entitled Blackfeet elder Bob Burns says his son-in-law, ESPN's Rick Reilly, misquoted him on 'Redskins' name I posted a comment that I never imagined I would be returning to not even a week later to, but here I am and it is because of the above Bob Costas commentary on Sunday night and some things about it that have really bothered me since I first saw the video of it this past Monday morning. Here is a link to the original comment and the parent diary.
I'm Norwegian by Ancestry
The opening of Costa's commentary found a nerve. That touched nerve stayed needled.
"Let’s start here. There is no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus toward Native Americans or wishes to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don’t think twice about the longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best can be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended."
Ah, yes. That old standby for weaksauce, the nod to "political correctness run amok".

It's such a serious topic that it merits being dismissed and diminished being baked in the meme.

This kind of smarmy cap tip to the always sacred and precious fee-fees of the delicate flower defenders of the indefensible never stops happening and never ever stops really pissing me off. Part of the reason I made my original comment in the first place was my frustration over so many being so overly God damned concerned with the always sacred and always oh so precious fee-fees of those soft delicate flower defenders of the indefensible all around us to begin with. It enables. It helps the lingering problem endure. I think you are doing your country a profound disservice when you go out of your way to give gravitas and respect to blatant ignorance and stupidity in the name of sacred even-handedness. People have been too nice to Daniel Snyder.

Don't even get me started about that gobsmacking "And in fact, as best can be determined... " polished crapola. Google "Chief Dobson" and "Daniel Snyder" and you'll see exactly what I mean. When you are done, you will see why I am extremely skeptical of the idea that Native Americans are just tickled to the core to be on the receiving end of the "Redskins" as a tribute and honor based on the 'as far as we can tell' metric of institutional and individual skepticism.

I'm Norwegian. My father was born in Norway in 1930 and became a US citizen back in 1965.

So how does that tie into some discussion about rebranding the NFL's Washington Redskins?

It comes into play when I recall the almost-but-not-quite-the-end of a heated argument on the subject of a certain racist-themed NFL franchise actually being racist or not back around 1994. I was at a party. It was a real bombshell for the ages. You can tell this because I was arguing loudly about an out-of-town sports franchise's name with somebody that I barely even knew. The then-as-now Washington Redskins began their sports existence as the old Boston Redskins. As anyone who has ever known or loved a native-born Boston sports fan can tell you, that's pretty much just enough to make some locals brawl about the outcome like it actually matters. I said it was racist. The other guy said it was not only not, but actually a tribute to "Redskins". "Real Redskins". As in 'I'm sure if you'd asked some actual real live flesh-and-blood indians, I'm pretty sure they most of 'em would tell you it makes 'em real proud about their heritage being recognized, if anything'.

'Indians' pronounced as if it somehow rhymes with 'FunYuns'. It was that kind of discussion.

So. Norwegian. That would be the 'gotcha' moment that was supposed to shut me right down.

The triumphant "Gotcha"? Why:

My lack of ire at the Minnesota Vikings and their franchise logo.

Good God.

Blink. Blink.

Good God.

Are you... serious?

I ended up just staring wide-eyed, almost mouth agape, at this not-my-friend of a friend who tried to put a seriously intellectually bogus cherry right on the top of his sadly argued drivel by trying to use me not being outraged by the Minnesota Vikings or their logo/mascot as a valid counter-example as to why people of Native American heritage should "get over it", or even be flattered by the Redskins name and iconography. This is one of those few times in my life where I have ever come to regret wearing my heritage, literally, on my shirtsleeve in Norway flagpin, patch, or t-shirt form, as I was introduced to trolling before I ever knew that that was the word for it.

"Well, I don't see you and and a dozen other Norwegians and Swedes all marching around the Vikings headquarters in Minnesota demanding the team re-invent itself."

I wish that I knew the word 'Derp' back then, almost as much as I wish I knew 'trolling'.

I'm Norwegian. Yes, the majestic Super Swede on the helmet is not historically accurate.

But a six year old could see where this breaks down. At least, most any six year old should.

"Vikings" is not a slur. The idealized Great White God-King on the logo certainly is not a slur.

If anything, it is something so idealized in a non-negative way, that, stripped of its NFL brand, I could see it on the white power T-Shirt of a Skinhead at a rally. What negative and degrading message does that purple and yellow Super Swede iconography communicate to a poor to pampered white kid vs. what message does 'Redskin' communicate to a kid of native nations decent trying to deal with everything else he or she has on his or her plate in America today. Saying that white people of Nordic decent should be enraged by that franchise's identity, and because they are not, it is totally 'x is just like y' "comparable" to the Redskins and native peoples who object to it is... beyond fucking silly. It's as intellectually sound as positing the notion that calling a person ideally handsome is the exact same thing as calling somebody else stomach-churningly ugly to try and make a lead balloon of a thought fly like a bird. It's as insulting as telling people of the Native Nations they should be "proud" there is a team called the 'Redskins' at all because it is fundamentally 'a tribute to them'.

In the last two decades, I have stopped being surprised when such non-arguments are offered up by the defense as iron-clad and unassailable bits of logic and reasoning meant to stop all other arguments cold. Nothing, apparently, is too stupid or too inane or too small a speck of a pebble to try and hang the weight of the Rock of Gibraltar on for the ages.  

We live in a rich and powerful nation, a grand experiment for the ages, where people who are very rich and people who have have very little alike can and will defend the indefensible with great fire and furor. Even over the embarrassingly modest degrees of inconveniencing the powerful that might be required to fix serious problems and lingering social transgressions as if the feathers that need to be flicked off of their backs are too much of a burdensome act to contemplate. Even if the old regime they are defending is directly harming them and the change would make their lives better. You can learn a lot about everything that plagues our country in such a debate. You can literally marvel at the fetid swamp of fig leaves plunked to paper over the weeping sores that the non-afflicted demand the God-Given right to feverishly cling to. Because they feel personally entitled to maintain them no matter what their costs impose on others who are not them. On "the principle of the thing".

God, spare me apologia for bigotry and excuses for racism rising up from "the principle" defense.

At the time, I finally just walked away. I imagined he just might be the kind of guy to spend hours in Tower Records digging through all the bins seeking the wailing sounds of the Blues.... as performed by the plantation owners of the old South. Leaving muttering bitterly under his breath about the 'reverse racism' responsible for there being no such classics of the genre to be found in the stacks. Tower Records must be reverse racist against people who are White and Right like me, grrrr.  

It has been almost 20 years since I had that encounter and heated discussion over the Washington Redskins being 'not racist at all, but really a compliment' with another white guy. The reason that it's relevant today to bring it up is that I could have that exact same argument this afternoon with a stranger I meet in the grocery store line at some Albertson's buying milk. Every damned bit of it. And the argument for the defense would be hung on the same idiotic nonsense as well. Jesus. It's racist. Embarrassingly so. Indefensibly so. It's 2013 and it was unbearably racist and embarrassingly so back in 1993-4. Back then, when the Redskins were a powerhouse with recent Superbowl championships, clinging desperately to the tired figleaf of 'the legacy and tradition' argument was vapid. Today? They have been a laughingstock for years, decades removed from their days of glory. They'd benefit financially from a complete and total rebrand. A rebrand would mean new gear, new posters, new clothing, new kitsch and would be a very good business decision from a moneymaking standpoint.  

Changing the Redskins brand and logo is not a heavy lift. It's not.

Not to the team's smug billionaire owner or the League of Billionaires he belongs to.

"It's the principle of the thing."

Well, if those sacred principles happen to be 'myopic greed', 'insensitivity', 'the "right" to be racist and not be called/labeled racist', and 'laziness'? Sure. Otherwise? Bullshit.

Too much credence has been granted the defenders of the indefensible for far too long.

This is about white people telling non-white people that they are not even willing to exercise the amount of intellectual and moral effort on par with getting up off of a couch and changing the channel by hand because you can't find the remote to see what is happening in someone else's universe and admit that it is all true. Every bit.

There is no defense of the brand. None.

Not tradition. Not the franchise's previous history. Nothing.

Change the fucking name of the team, and it's damned logo.

Washington Warriors. Spartans. Dragons.

It's time. Nobody should be having this exact same argument again twenty years from now.

If that means embarrassing and annoying Mr. Daniel Snyder, and making the legions of delicate flower defenders of the indefensible personally uncomfortable and defensive, well, then so be it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks to anyone who takes the time (10+ / 0-)

    to read all of this. I get that it's a long haul.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:22:12 AM PDT

  •  The Chief Dobson Story (5+ / 0-)

    Here's the Deadspin Story on Chief Dobson

    Keith Olbermann did an incredible commentary on this story, but I can't seem to find a video of it.

    I should have done better than to "Google it", because apparently it's not as widespread a tale as I assumed. That was my mistake.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:29:49 AM PDT

  •  "We're so afraid of you we came up with a slur!!!" (8+ / 0-)

    "So be proud!!"

    A Coward's logic to the core.  

    Best take I heard came from an Uncle years ago, "If only it stopped at calling us redskins."

    -7.75,-6.41 Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking...

    by owlbear1 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:40:01 AM PDT

    •  I also think it's an idiots logic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro, triv33, Box of Rain

      and I'm so tired of the pandering to idiots we see everyday.

      Most of the "both sides do it too" garbage is pandering to the delicate fee fees of thugs and racists and political terrorists.

      And what does that get you?

      More thugs, more racists, and more political terrorism.

      The Lanny Davis/Harold Ford view of American politics has been completely discredited by the last three decades. If anything, it works the exact opposite of how it is claimed to work.

      I sat in front of my television fuming at Bob Costas, while everybody else in the room was wondering if he wasn't doing something so daring it was going to hurt his job.

      There is nothing brave about qualifying the right thing to do with all sorts of blown kisses and sensitivity to the feelings of those who are fucking up.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:45:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Frito Bandito Story (6+ / 0-)
        I remember being in college talking about 'the Frito Bandito' with a fellow Marketing major who wanted to know why the character was not viable to bring back for nostalgia appeal. He was almost livid that it was not seen as a good idea because it was offensive to other people. He was actually arguing that brown people being offended by the old Frito Bandito character was the same as white people being offended by Superman.


        Ah... what?

        Blink. Blink.

        Ah.... what?

        That if 'the Frito Bandito' was offensive, well, then, people like him and me should protest in front of DC Comics against the anti-white "Superman" character.

        Jesus, save me.

        A six year old could.... (Sadly shakes head) really?


        It's a trend. You have to be willfully and forcefully choosing to live in a parallel universe to see that as the same. But there I was, and there he was.

        Superman is essentially a white man visualized as a living God.

        The Frito Bandito was a racist stereotype designed by busy white people to be found appealing by other busy white people at the gas station quickly looking at competing brands of salty corn chips.  

        It was at the end of that conversation that I realized something.

        Some people would invent a fusion reactor with a rubber band, chewing gum wrapper, and paper clip like MacGuyer before they will mildly inconvenience themselves let alone lift a heavy burden for the benefit of another.

        Both these events had a profound impact on how I view not drawing a big bold line between being polite and engaging in social civility and noxiously enabling a malignancy.

        You have to, at some point, stop being so damned nice and so damned concerned with the feelings of bigots and the sensibilities of people who would do the right thing, they promise, if it wasn't do damned inconvenient and it wasn't about "the principle of the thing".

        I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

        by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:50:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ay yi yi yi (5+ / 0-)

          I am the Frito Bandito
          I like Fritos corn chips
          I love them I do
          I want Frito corn chips
          I get (steal, rob) them from you!

          Ay yi yi yi
          Oh I am the Frito Bandito
          The Frito Bandito
          Give me Frito corn chips
          And I'll be your friend
          The Frito Bandito
          You must not offend!

          If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

          by Tank Mountaine on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:44:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good Lord (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            translatorpro, murrayewv, Ahianne

            When did Mel Blanc ever sleep?

            That's my first thought after I stopped cringing.

            I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

            by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:16:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Second thing I thought was (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              translatorpro, Nowhere Man, hazzcon

              this is why, if you are able to divorce yourself from how offensive it is, why my Marketing Major peer was so pissed off.

              If you don't care it's racist, not one bit, all you see is a mascot that will captivate kids and amuse their parents.

              And suddenly, in your cluelessness, or in your callousness, you see the people trying to make the world a better more inclusive place as the bad guys.

              I couldn't not say something. I couldn't.

              I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

              by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:19:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Heavens to Murgatroyd! (4+ / 0-)

            I remember the Frito Bandito only vaguely, but I had no recollection of the details. That is absolutely horrific. It is really beyond me how no one could see that as seriously bigoted stereotyping (which is essentially biased by definition).

            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

            by translatorpro on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:32:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hadn't thought of the Frito Bandito in years (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and then Alton Brown mentioned him in passing in a Good Eats episode some years back. It never stops being jarring to me to see the character in animated form.

              Sometimes I wonder if Mel Branc, one of the truly great voice actors in animation, had any regrets about this kind of stuff at any time late in his career.

              Certainly, by this point, he was an institution who didn't have to do this if he didn't want to.

              I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

              by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:36:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I've Always Wondered About Something (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, translatorpro

    Does it seem weird to other ethnicities that Irish-Americans seem to embrace and revere their stereotypes? I have yet to meet one person of Irish decent that thinks a leprechaun or the term "Fighting Irish" is a putdown (even though it seems one to me).

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:09:19 AM PDT

    •  Well, I mean there is the whole thing that (6+ / 0-)

      Leprechauns aren't real. They are a mythical creature that has been kind of transmogified into an offensive stereotype by corporations and institutions more than by the Irish themselves.

      And I think we should be really careful about simply accepting the pop culture conventional wisdom that Irish people, even a majority of them, are fine with the stereotypes. A lot of Irish people are not cool with it. At all.

      I've met people from Ireland who are angry at Irish-Americans for mainstreaming the most offensive stereotypes about being Irish for what they consider really stupid and short-sighted reasons.

      Sometimes the blowhards dominate the discussion, and the seething silent types pay the price.

      And, as far as the Irish and Irish Americans are concerned, there is also the reality that, as with a lot of communities, it's may be seen as okay for one Irish American to slag another, but it's not necessarily okay for an outsider to come in and do it.

      My friend Patrick, a kid who was very proud of being Irish, told me that nuance was never going to be the pop culture or conventional wisdom view of the Irish, because there has been too much tragedy and violence and hard times,and, unfortunately, bad apples to expect otherwise.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:20:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the "Fightin' Irish" story... (6+ / 0-) that it was Irish people who came up with it.

      When the moniker was first applied, football was played primarily by WASPy types from the Ivies and the midwestern state schools. Notre Dame, being a Roman Catholic university and predominantly Irish, was the only place where you'd see guys with last names like Fitzpatrick, O'Connor, and Murphy not only on the field but on the sidelines coaching, in the faculty lounge, and in the university president's office.

      In other words, unlike the Washington football team's name (and most other American Indian-based team names), the "Fightin' Irish" name was self-applied, and reflected the makeup and leadership of the team and its fan-base.

      (The same could arguably be said for "Vikings," given the predominance of Norse-descended people in Minnesota... it was a nickname that reflected the state and its people. Also, there haven't been any actual Vikings around for the last millennium or so, and the present-day Minnesotans didn't steal Minnesota from the original Vikings by committing genocide against them, so there are also those two factors.)

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:09:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have met a person of Irish descent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      -- who is actually Irish, which is to say, she and all her Irish ancestors live and have lived in Ireland --

      -- who really, seriously, fervently despises the American-Irish use of leprechauns and shamrocks and so on.  The kitschification of Irish heritage.

      I've never asked her about the "Fighting Irish" but I am pretty sure I could guess her response.

  •  How about we try some other names (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, translatorpro

    Like the washington honkeys. No, that won't work, how about the Washington crackers. No, still no good. How about the Washington whiteys. There's a winner, because not represent Washington more than a bunch of white privileged politicians. Basically, the man.

    The only way to get people to understand how offensive the name is, will be to to use a name that offends them. It's the way Southpark humor works. By the end of the episode, everyone is offended and the message is delivered.

    •  The problem is (6+ / 0-)

      there is no slur against white people that comes close to making a white person feel like a slurred person of color feels. I mean, think about the word 'cracker'and then about how a black person is impacted when somebody who is white and full of hate slings around the N word.

      My friend Andrew in college was from Barbados, and was often mistaken for an African-American when we were in school together. He once told me that the closest he had ever seen a white person get to what the N word stings a person of color like is somebody calling that white person's mother a whore or a slut. The stricken, knee-buckling, wtf did you say??!? Shock.

      And he also told me, trust me, there isn't anything somebody can say to you a a white person that is going to gut you like the N word. Even that.

      Calling somebody white a honkey is about as soul withering and soul-wounding as calling them a jerk.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree on the slur level (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, LeftHandedMan

        You're right, there is no equivalent slur. I was hoping to point out that sometimes people only wake up when the slur is directed at them.

        Until you can find a way to put people in the shoes of those offended, they won't get it. You'll hear cries of "PC Police" from the Becks and Limbaghs of the world. This just means you up the ante. Offer up the Washington pasty hemorrhoid having honkey racists failed shock jocks or Washington Viagra taking South American sex tourist, hillbilly heroin taking til he can't hear anymoe, pasty fat white, married four time family values freaks. Think along those lines, use the knee to the groin if you have to.

      •  No white person will feel slurred (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftHandedMan, a2nite, Batya the Toon

        until he is put into a subservient/slave position and forced to eat shit day after day and then have a name attached to that state of being.

        I hope that day never comes (as Louie CK says it will) because I don't really  want to feel that vibe.

        If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

        by Tank Mountaine on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:53:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I posted my comment a second after yours n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, translatorpro

      If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

      by Tank Mountaine on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:38:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, Tank Mountaine

        thanks for the post, I appreciate the Thorpe contributions via the link.

        As my inability to sleep some nights is more a factor in when and where I post these things that take hours to put together than any strategic thinking about how to maximize how many eyeballs they will get.

        I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

        by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:26:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's not true at all. (5+ / 0-)
      There's a winner, because not represent Washington more than a bunch of white privileged politicians. Basically, the man.
      Maybe to the outside world that might be so, but there are 600,000+ people living in the District of Columbia and 5.9 million in the DC metro area—of whom only 500 or so are "white privileged politicians."

      The rest of us are normal, everyday Americans of all hues and backgrounds who go to work, raise families, go to the park (when it's not shut down), and do all of the other things everyone else does in this country.

      And the 600,000+ who live in the District of Columbia aren't even represented among those "white privileged politicians," because too few of us are "white privileged" enough for Republicans to think we deserve the representation in Congress to which we are entitled as Americans, even as we continue to shoulder all the responsibilities of citizenship.

      Hell, if the shutdown continues through this week, we might not even be allowed to have a city government anymore (which means no trash pickup or other city services), thanks to arcane rules that give Congress control over DC's budget.

      If the Washington football team actually moved back to Washington, perhaps the perfect mascot would be the "Washington Colonists"—because DC is a colony, our citizens considered not quite equal with the rest of the citizens of the United States.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:17:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meteor Blades said (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, a2nite, Ahianne

    in a follow-up comment that he was partial to Washington Dragons.

    I think I am too.

    I think the beltway will probably want a war themed reboot like Warriors, and I don't.

    I'm kind of grateful that the USFL New Jersey Generals was owned by prick Donald Trump who would probably want a big payday for Generals somehow, and that the Washington Generals has been ruined by the basketball patsies for the Harlem Globetrotters.

    But Warriors seems like it would be a front runner in DC.

    Especially with the sort of DC type who has pretended to think that Redskins is a tribute to Native Americans so they don't have to get up off the couch to change the channel.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:32:40 AM PDT

  •   One would wonder what a team would be called (4+ / 0-)

    if whites were the minority. The Honkeys? The Crackers?  I was just reading the Wikipedia article on Jim Thorpe and found some interesting history about racism in collegiate and professional football and how it was used in promotions.  The image of wild Indians scalping a white team from Harvard could really sell tickets and newspapers and I guess the tradition has stuck.  I'm not sure how many Native Americans are playing in the NFL or if one is ironically playing for Washington, but I do know there is some racist elements in the name Redskin.  They fought the European invasion of their land just like they fought in WWII. We are all human beings.  Interesting that Thorpe was the first president of the forerunner to the NFL.

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

    by Tank Mountaine on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:37:41 AM PDT

  •  Well done and well worth the read. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, translatorpro, Ahianne

    The name of the Washington team has bothered me for some time.  You have expertly laid out the reasons why the Florida State Seminoles are not objectionable while the Washington's team name is in fact objectionable.

    If you want a more asinine example of the stupidity surrounding this issue then take a read of Kathleen Parker's of the Washington Post, editorial:

    Native Americans should own 'Redskins' name

    Owning slurs is one way to neutralize offense. African-Americans co-opted the ugliest racist word and made it their own through musical lyrics and other media. Eve Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues," stole the hideousness of the c-word by having women shout it at the top of their lungs. Imagine a stadium of women screaming this word back and forth. You can’t do that for long without laughing — and laughter is the mortal enemy of mean spirits.

    We might wish for more lightheartedness from Native Americans, but history sometimes makes humor difficult to summon. Jokes in any case are funniest when they are on oneself, not at the expense of others. As Native Americans consider their next moves, perhaps they should try to buy the Redskins from owner Dan Snyder, who says he’ll never change the name. Then they could change the name themselves — or even better, own it.

    Incredibly, she actually supports the name change, but I would argue that we really shouldn't want her on our side.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:48:54 AM PDT

    •  I'm not surprised that Kathleen Parker (5+ / 0-)

      has decided to whitesplain how people of color should deal with slurs.

      She's not the kind of ally that I want either.

      You would end up dragging around her Derp like a dead albatross around your neck.

      I'm sad to say that the Jeff Bezos era at the WaPo is probably going to suck just as much, but with new tablet and smart phone custom formatting!

      I didn't have much hope myself, but I would have liked to have seen at least him drop Jennifer Rubin to prove he has a little tiny clue of what is plaguing his new hobby's viability.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:09:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She shouldn't quit her day job (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftHandedMan, a2nite, translatorpro

        That mean spirited (CU next time) wouldn't know laughter if it slapped her across the face with a dead fish. I mean it, a real deep belly laugh or a spit your coffee across the table laugh has never happened for her. She's more likely to have a haha that sounds more like a throat clearing.

        BTW, whitesplain is great.

        Wow, I better get this outa me before I go to work. I'm likely to curb stomp one of my minions.

  •  Good read (4+ / 0-)

    It should be obvious to nearly anyone that the name Redskins is a racial slur which is why it is so offensive.  Since I am not native American, I cannot speak for everyone on this issue, but it also would appear that those teams who have used native American tribal names as their symbols must be very careful in their depiction of their mascots in a way that honors the tribes with respect.

    I am a graduate of Florida State which does use the name Seminoles.  From what I have read, the tribe has not objected to the use of their name or the depiction of the mascot.

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:08:50 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for reading (3+ / 0-)

      and putting in your two cents.

      I always wondered what the real Seminoles thought of white kids in the stands at the games.

      I'm originally from Boston, and Florida State and the University of Florida always was a part of the Boston college sports culture.

      Bobby Bowden was kind of nefarious to a lot of folks who were not fans of how college football could dominate the culture on a campus.  

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:29:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Nefarious" ????? (0+ / 0-)


        As with: wicked, evil, sinful, iniquitous, egregious, heinous, atrocious, vile, foul, abominable, odious, depraved, monstrous, fiendish, diabolical, unspeakable, despicable;
        villainous, criminal, corrupt, illegal, unlawful.

        Fans for Noles and Gators tend to go overboard. A lot of them are decidedly not alums, so being fans is a social proxy for a college diploma, or at least attending a U.

        But "nefarious" ??? Wowee.

      •  Supposedly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Seminole tribe of Florida has officially given permission for the name to be used.  Tribe officials also participate in the homecoming ceremonies each year.

        According to Wikipedia:

        Since 1978 the teams have been represented by the symbols Osceola and Renegade. The symbol represents an actual historical figure, Seminole war leader Osceola, whose clothing represents appropriate period dress. ...

        The use of names and images associated with Seminole history is officially sanctioned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida,[2] despite the Native American mascot controversy.

        From All About:
        Tribal Support
        The Seminole Tribe has been heavily involved in the Osceola tradition. That support has played a big role in the tradition's survival.

        The Tribe has offered its blessing to the University’s use of their lore, and according to Florida State, Seminole women even designed the Chief’s costume.

        I would guess that each individual logo and mascot should be viewed separately. If FSU's use of Chief Osceola mascot and the Seminole name becomes offensive to the Seminole tribe, I would hope that FSu would change it.  

        "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

        by gulfgal98 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:48:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not only is "Viking" not a slur, it's not even an (11+ / 0-)


    It's an occupation. To go viking was on a trading mission (which, at least for some, also meant raiding).

    It's an obsolete profession, and yes, one strongly associated with a specific ethnolinguistic group in a specific time period, but in the end, it's more like a Cowboy, '49er, or a Packer than the offensive team name.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:43:01 AM PDT

    •  Plus, Americans never massacred Vikings (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hazzcon, LeftHandedMan, a2nite

      or looked down on them as lesser beings.

      The one possible way that Native Americans might make an acceptable mascot is if one looked into history with an honest eye and chose a group of elite Native American warriors who were admired rather than held in contempt. Apaches or Comanches, for instance -- or even better, Koitsenko.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:44:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well written and argued, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    although the whole topic should be a no-brainer. As a half-German American, I, too, am somewhat sensitive to stereotyping - though this is not saying there is a comparison in any way, shape or form to the denigration of our indigenous  and African-American brothers and sisters.  Even here on this site, I have had something of a problem with people putting down the Germans in a very ignorant, bigoted way, particularly in discussions dealing with the switch to renewable energy. I've had to counter some of the most incredibly stupid stereotyping imaginable, such as "the Germans are afraid of tsunamis!", or a pretty far-fetched conspiracy theory, namely, that this energy policy was designed in cahoots with Gazprom, to name only a couple of examples. (I'm also an expat, and follow the developments with great interest from the EU side of the pond.) The same applies if I happen to overhear slurs against Americans, though that is quite rare and the Germans generally know to separate the government from its people, though more commonly I would tend to hear nasty remarks about Turks here. Unfortunately, I think there is bigotry and stereotyping in most cultures, which I think harkens back to our deeply-rooted tribalism.

    So I can empathize - if on a different level - with the issues you discuss here so well.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:00:31 AM PDT

  •  Whew (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, Ahianne

    My insomnia-addled all nighter didn't kill this diary after all.

    I'm grateful for so many taking the time to read this and comment. I wasn't sure where this would go. 100 comments or right down the side of the mountain in the diarylanche.

    I was kind of hoping that it would be an alternative to just spending one's morning eyeball deep in shutdown anxiety and hour to hour updates. The basic cable news shows have been their usual awful selves when it comes to not missing a beat to go on pimping their austerity agenda in with the scraps of news and data that comes in.

    Rebranding the Redskins time has come. It should have happened 20 years ago. But no more putting it off.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:14:49 AM PDT

  •  I've got a "Washington Redskins" (0+ / 0-)

    souvenir jacket. It's beautiful. Red, white, yellow. Lettering to die for.

    It was a gift. The person who bought it for me is a registered Cherokee, who went to the games for 25 years I know of.

    He thought "Z" was a hoot. The Black guy who dresses up in a chief's costume and leads cheers from the sideline. "Z" has been doing it for damn near ever.

    But likely Costas is right. I'd love to see a poll of "Indians" to see how many find "Redskins" offensive. Assuming it's higher than single digits, as a percentage, then likely the name ought to be changed.

    But it's a beautiful jacket. A great Christmas gift. From 30 years ago when "Redskins" was a positive synonym with warriors.

    BTW: there's Scots (in Scotland, Canada, New England) who after a shot or two can fall over laughing with hearing "Diddie" or "P Diddie" as a name.

    "Diddies" is a slang for breasts. "Nice diddies, Mabel."

    But as a singular verb it means using a mature pair (of diddies) to approximate intercourse. And now this rapper fella wants to be one? O.K. fine.

  •  cash cow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, Batya the Toon

    What puzzles me is that the team and it's owner would make a killing if they changed the name.
    First off there would be a run on all the existing "Redskins" merch. because people would think it is going to become valuable in the future.
    Then all those fans would have to buy all the new merch. with the new name on it. Hell NFL and MLB teams already use this scheme by having a dozen different variations of their uniform, and rabid fans must own all of them.
    I just don't understand why the owners aren't jumping at the chance to make all that money while also being able to claim how sensitive and considerate they are. Such a win/win doesn't come along all that often.

  •  Yes, change is overdue (3+ / 0-)

    and I feel like it is likely soon. The topic is getting to be a significant distraction, which is what makes managers in any business change their minds about things.  

    Meanwhile, I hope it won't be "Washington Warriors." Oh, how obvious, what a bore.

    I suppose any true local reference like "Washington Rat Race" is out.

    Washington Wild Men?

    Oh, how I would love to watch the Washington Wombats.

    Never in a billion years, but it's nice to dream.

  •  "Even a majority of Native Americans say they (4+ / 0-)

    Are not offended" - that's the part of his speech that really surprised me, as almost to a man or woman every NA person I've talked to finds the name highly offensive. Is this another example of media false equivalency or performing gymnastics to appear 'fair and balanced', or is this the true situation? I seriously can't buy it, but maybe I'm wrong.

    They called Einstein 'crazy', too..... until he started KICKING ASS!!!

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:08:36 AM PDT

  •  In honor of Louie Gomert, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    et. al., can we call them the Washington Rednecks?

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:31:00 AM PDT

  •  going to offer a bit of a correction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, a2nite, LeftHandedMan

    George Preston Marshall wanted to call the franchise the Boston Braves when it is was in Boston, but the baseball team refused to allow him to do so, arguing copyright infringement (even though the NY Giants baseball team allowed their NFL equivalent to use the name - and of course neither team is now in NY).

    The use of the name had NOTHING to do with Native Americans, but was connected to the events of December 16, 1773, aka the Boston Tea Party, when ostensibly patriots who dumped tea into Boston Harbor were garbed as Native Americans.

    One can argue that names connected with local tradition should be changed when a team relocates, although the baseball Braves have kept their name through two other cities, first Milwaukee and now Atlanta (and as a piece of trivia, 3rd baseman Eddie Matthews played for the franchise in all 3 cities, the only major leaguer able to make such a claim).  Without going through all the silliness, please tell me what Salt Lake has to do with Jazz?

    The name Redskins was intended as a slur in its original usage.

    If the team wants to keep the name, change the logo - to a potato.  And the way they have played recently - except for last year - that would be more appropriate as regularly their opponents make potato salad of them.

    And I live in the DC metro area.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:48:28 AM PDT

  •  With regrets to SoS Clinton, Bumper sticker slogan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon, LeftHandedMan

    It takes a Viking to raze a village.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:12:24 AM PDT

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