Author Topic: “Redskins”  (Read 10312 times)

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Offline DriftingCrow

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“Redskins”
« on: January 17, 2014, 10:44:57 pm »
Over the past few months, I’ve been asked by a couple of people my opinion on the Washington Redskin controversy, and have also been sent forwarded e-mails which I am not sure what the sender’s intentions are.

My view is that the name needs to change, and I wouldn’t mind a change of logo/mascot either (though their logo isn’t anything in comparison to this baseball team’s logo and this school’s mascot). I am not opposed to having all teams with a Native American inspired name to be changed, I’d be fine with something that shows actual thought, research, and interest in Native peoples. It’s just the word redskin is a racial slur which shows no respect for the people the team sticks on their uniforms and merchandise. I am sure Susan’s Place would be in an uproar if a team suddenly appeared (with cis owners and players) called the Topeka Trannies with a mascot of a transwoman wearing heavy makeup and a feather boa.

People who want the name changed are often portrayed as over-sensitive babies who are too invested in political correctedness. I don’t think changing a racist name is oversensitive. I don’t want to wipe out all Native inspired names, I did think it was a little overdone when my old high school changed its name from the Chieftains to “the Green Wave” (eww, toxic water? ???) to be politically correct. There’s a way to honor history and groups without being racist, and without viewing everything as something that's offensive.

An example of responsible team owners is the minor league baseball team Spokane Indians. The team realized the problem with its logo, and worked with five local Native American tribes, including the Spokanes, to make something that actually respects Native Americans. There’s even an alternate logo in Salish. That’s what other teams should be doing—asking real Native American Tribes their feelings, learning about them, and cooperating with them to arrive at a mutually agreeable arrangement.

Now, you might be wondering what my problem with the logo is, it’s just an Indian with a feather headband! ::) Overall, that doesn’t really bother me, but if we’re going to change things, we mine as well do it right. Some Native Americans did wear headdresses and feathers sticking out of their hair, but of course, not all the time and not all tribes did. There’s just a lot of confusion and misrepresentation that’s been taught to the majority of Americans (and non-Americans) about Native American tribes, and continuing to have just about every Native mascot/logo represented by feather headdresses, buckskin, and feather headbands is inaccurate, stereotypical, and ugh. . . boring and unoriginal. To truly “honor” Native Americans, we should incorporate logos and mascots that truly reflects the diversity and beauty of Native American cultures. Why doesn’t the Washington Redskins look to some of its local Native American tribes and find out more about their histories, customs, cultures, and historical religions to make a new logo that reflects an accurate picture of those they claim to honor?


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Miss_Bungle1991

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2014, 11:01:43 pm »
Honestly, I see this as being much ado about nothing. It has nothing to do with Political Correctness. It's just your typical, overblown non-issue.

Offline Nero

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 12:41:04 am »
Honestly, I see this as being much ado about nothing. It has nothing to do with Political Correctness. It's just your typical, overblown non-issue.

I can see where it might seem a small thing - just a team name, they've had it forever, they don't mean any offense by it, etc. We're so used to these teams and mascots. But if you replace 'redskins' with slang for another ethnic group, the problem becomes more apparent. I can't see a slur for any other ethnic group flying in this day and age.
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Jamie D

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 01:08:58 am »
The Midland Redskins must be part of the Cleveland Indians minor league organization



Up into the early 1970's, the Leland Stanford, Junior, University used an Indian as a mascot, and their teams were called the Stanford Indians (except for the baseball team, which was named the Cardinals).



In 1972, the University renounced the name and mascot.  In a student referendum, the new name that won the plurality was "Robber Barons."  Leland Stanford, Sr, a former Governor and Senator from the State, had been the President of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and amassed a fortune, which he used to endow the University.  Wealthy railroad capitalists were give the derogatory title, "Robber Barons."

The University Administration decided to just call their team the "Cardinal," after the color, not the bird.

The unofficial mascot has now become a dancing tree.



Oh! the ignobility.


Offline Cindy

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 01:17:28 am »
I have read this debate with some interest and to be honest I didn't understand the controversy. I then began to reflect.

Australia has a significant and much discriminated Aboriginal population and that set me thing what if a team here had a name such as 'Blackskins' it would be wrong, rude and improper, no matter the history of the club bearing the name and no matter how sensitive the team was to modern times and excuses for the history of the name was.

We grow as people, we grow as societies, what was OK may not me any longer and that should be acknowledged and accepted, there is no blame there is no dishonour. The name of 'Redskins' I thought reflected the proud fighting spirit of the Indian Nation, but now that may be wrong and reflect racism in society, I have not a clue if redskin is a derogatory term BTW, but a time for change is opportune and maybe a leading club should set an example.

Just a thought.

Offline Oriah

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 03:27:37 am »
I've heard a lot of people complaining about similar issues.....and normally I avoid the subject like the plague......but tonight, I'm feeling brave, or perhaps stupid enough to risk really ruffling some feathers.....at any rate, know I mean no offense to any people anywhere by making this post...

but in my opinion, titles like this are not offensive...or at least they shouldn't be.  Two or three hundred years ago the term native american was never used, and the tribes (I cannot speak for all of them, but many) referred to themselves as the red skinned man or used the term indian.  At the time it wasn't a slur, or at least not to them.  At some point these terms started being used as slurs and apparently they were allowed to become slurs

There are other examples throughout history of politically correct terms changing.  Look at the supposed slurs "colored" people or "negro" which in their own time were acceptable and not thought of as slurs.  For example the United Negro College Fund or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  In neither of those instances those words were used as slurs......but now the favored terms are "black" or "african american...."  After how long of being born in america will these people be seen as "Americans" instead of "African Americans?" 

People don't call me German American.... 

Black or African American on the whole make no more sense to me than the terms colored or negro....after all, most people I've seen of African lineage don't really have black skin, but a beautiful array of colors from a light mocha to a rich chocolate to obsidian and so many colors in between...at what point will that no longer be an acceptable term because it's not completely accurate.  Or again, at what point will African american come to mean someone born in Africa who moved to America instead of being used to refer to families who have in some instances been born for over two hundred years in America...

At some point previously accepted terms started being used as slurs and people allowed them to become slurs and stay slurs....but look at terms like Dyke or Lesbian/lesbo which have largely been taken back by homosexual women, and now aren't really all that offensive to the people who it was once used as a slur against.

I think the same thing should be done for the word tranny.....this isn't a concept I came up with but something I picked up from an old trans acquaintance long before I transitioned.  The way I see it, if I am to use Tranny as a self descriptive term without using it to display low self esteem, then the word doesn't really bother me anymore, and I've taken it back.....and if everyone did this, the word would lose it's slur power and cease to be used as such.

These disputes come largely from "racism" which is another misnomer.  Race refers to the species of an animal.  So using the term racism to refer to hate between groups of different ancestral origin is kind of indicating that we aren't even the same species which as we know is a load of bull.

Slurs exist because people allow them to be offensive....when people stop viewing them as offensive, they lose their power.

Offline KabitTarah

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 05:04:54 am »
Of all people, we should understand the power of words. Words and names can be used to propagate stereotypes, often over decades. The 1950s saw a lot of "Cowboy & Indian" movies that didn't paint the "redskin" in a good light. The people growing up with those movies and in that Old West adoring culture had a certain idea about what Native Americans are, and knew especially what the word "redskin" meant.

Just because it was popular doesn't make it right. How many of us complain about the transgender in film? Would a football team called the "Trannies" with an icon of a stereotypical trans hooker be a problem? I'd have a problem with it. Even if the word is reclaimed by the group... would a baseball team called the "Queers" be OK? (maybe if it was an all-LGBT+ team... and even then many people in the LGBT+ group might have a problem with it).

Meanwhile we've got a bunch of people here who think it's not on offensive term and one who does. I only as rhetorically, but how many of the non-offended are steeped in Native American culture? If you're not part of a group, you can't say what's offensive to that group. If you're not part of a group you must use reclaimed slurs very carefully, if at all.
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Shantel

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 01:14:26 pm »
Honestly, I see this as being much ado about nothing. It has nothing to do with Political Correctness. It's just your typical, overblown non-issue.

Yes it is! I sent Henry an email which was a tongue-in-cheek spoof about all the asinine PC BS surrounding this kind of thing. Wish I'd kept it as I would surely post it here.

amZo

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 01:38:49 pm »
I've known many native Americans and have experienced their culture from their daily lives, to their Pow Wows, and even their funerals. They're a fascinating culture, I feel fortunate to have grown up around them. I don't have a real strong opinion on the mascot issue other than I don't like the goofy images. The proud images seem fine. If Indians have a strong opposition to it, I would support a name change. But if non-Indians drinking their lattes at Starbucks have their nose out of joint, eh, not concerned about them so much.

Shantel

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 02:19:46 pm »
Found it here it is, it points out how thin skinned and stupid the whole thing really is:  :D

I agree with our Native American population---I am highly insulted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins.  One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as warriors, but nay, nay....  We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward.

Let's ditch The Kansas City Chiefs, The Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians.  If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.
 
The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of the militant Blacks from the 60's alive.  Gone.  Offensive to us white folk.
 
The New York Yankees offend the Southern population.  Do you see a team named for the Confederacy?  No!  There is no room for any reference to that tragic war between the states that cost this country so many young men's lives.
 
I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our football team names.  Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.  The fact that there are birds on their shirts does not protect either the Arizona or the St. Louis Cardinals---gone!
 
Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged as their way of life.  We are talking the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!
 
Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children---and it is all about the children.
 
The Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis Rams--promote gay men.  Wrong message to our children.
 
The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible spending habits.  Wrong message to our children.
 
The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity--a growing childhood epidemic.  Wrong message to our children.
 
The Cincinnati Reds promote Commies or downers/barbiturates.  Wrong message.
 
The Milwaukee Brewers---well, that goes without saying....   Wrong message to our children.
 
So, there you go.  We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should.  A high priority directly behind efficiently managing our country's health care.




amZo

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2014, 02:28:56 pm »
I think the Dallas Cowboys should change their name to something less manly if they don't start making the playoffs soon. Maybe the Dallas Packers or something.

Offline Anatta

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 02:53:27 pm »
Kia Ora,

Remember : It's easy to dismiss something when ones race/ethnicity/culture/gender/club/social group/ including a "suppressed/oppressed minority"/etc is not on the receiving end of the insults...

Metta Zenda :)
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Offline DriftingCrow

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 05:03:18 pm »
But if non-Indians drinking their lattes at Starbucks have their nose out of joint, eh, not concerned about them so much.

For context sake, I am Irish-Narragansett, from a family with strong Native ties, my uncle "Hawk" is a Native activist and former teacher on the Navajo res in NM so over my lifetime he's kind of steered me into keeping active and interested in our culture. Besides my main job, I also do work for a local tribal court, plan on taking their bar exam once I finish school, I am an elected board member of our Native Student Association, and I am sure there's some other stuff in there but you guys get the picture. I (obviously) don't consider myself an absolute expert on Native issues and I am def not a spokesperson for the entire community (which nobody is).

There's often a lot of non-Native peoples who often demand that Natives speak up about an issue before doing something, but those in the majority often feel that they're allowed to say whatever they please about what's derogatory, acceptable, historically accurate, and so on regarding other groups of people. (<-- this isn't directed at you Nikko, or really anyone in particular)

Quote
These disputes come largely from "racism" which is another misnomer.  Race refers to the species of an animal.  So using the term racism to refer to hate between groups of different ancestral origin is kind of indicating that we aren't even the same species which as we know is a load of bull.

Why I consider this incorrect is because over history, people in marginalized groups have been considered and treated as a different species.

Quote
Black or African American on the whole make no more sense to me than the terms colored or negro....after all, most people I've seen of African lineage don't really have black skin, but a beautiful array of colors from a light mocha to a rich chocolate to obsidian and so many colors in between...at what point will that no longer be an acceptable term because it's not completely accurate.  Or again, at what point will African American come to mean someone born in Africa who moved to America instead of being used to refer to families who have in some instances been born for over two hundred years in America...

Yes, appropriate terms and their meanings change and evolve over time. Change is part of life, and we must accept it and not get stuck in the past. My best friend back many years ago was black and preferred to be called black, and absolutely hated "African American" because she was Caribbean (from Trinidad), and I always respected her opinion; I often change terms I use based on whomever I am interacting with and pay attention to what's acceptable or not with a certain group of friends/coworkers/fellow students/etc. It's common courtesy. Redskin wasn't a term Natives choose for themselves; it was one given by the Colonialists and early Americans, and it's largely disfavored by Native people today. Like other words, it's not acceptable to use.

It's easy to just say "reclaim the word and it won't matter" but by saying this, it's like saying to cover up the past, to say that the wrongs done historically and even in the present day don't mean anything. We can't reclaim the word until we're able to get people in the majority to see the problems of real Indians today, as well as an accurate account of the historical wrongs (including any wrongs done by Natives too). However, most people aren't interested and would rather roll their eyes at anyone who tries to say something.

Remember : It's easy to dismiss something when ones race/ethnicity/culture/gender/club/social group/ including a "suppressed/oppressed minority"/etc is not on the receiving end of the insults...

^what she said.


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MadeleineG

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2014, 05:13:49 pm »
I've always found teams named for ethnic groups derogatory and distasteful. However, living a few years in an aboriginal-majority community, I've been surprised to learn that the widespread response from the locals has been to identify these teams as a rooting interest.

I see by far more Redskins and Indians swag in this town, thousands of km from DC and Cleveland than any other team, save the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Offline Hikari

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 05:18:47 pm »
I would say that it should probably be changed, but there is absolutely no real intent to dehumanize Native Americans by average football fans. I think intent matters, and without an intent to hurt, I mean it just isn't a huge issue. The difference between a funny comedy sketch by Chris Rock and an offensive speech against whites by a Black Nationalist group is all in intent.

Now, the only reason why I feel it should be changed, is because many of my friends when I was newly out to them referred to me as a tranny, not quite a word I am comfortable with but they didn't have negative intent so it didn't hurt, but I realized that I didn't want more hostile people using that word along with all it's baggage so I asked them to use other words and they did. If Native American groups want the name changed, then it ought to be changed as simple as that.
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amZo

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 05:31:09 pm »
Quote
There's often a lot of non-Native peoples who often demand that Natives speak up about an issue before doing something, but those in the majority often feel that they're allowed to say whatever they please about what's derogatory, acceptable, historically accurate, and so on regarding other groups of people. (<-- this isn't directed at you Nikko, or really anyone in particular)

Well, if it was directed at me, it's quite alright.

I have a profound respect for native Americans. I honestly don't know the history of the term "redskin", my only point is I care how they feel about it. BTW, I'm not saying you're one of the latte drinkers at Starbucks.  :) 


Offline DriftingCrow

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 05:39:55 pm »
Well, if it was directed at me, it's quite alright.

I have a profound respect for native Americans. I honestly don't know the history of the term "redskin", my only point is I care how they feel about it. BTW, I'm not saying you're one of the latte drinkers at Starbucks.  :)

I know Nikko, your line though made me realize I should probably have put in a disclaimer/explanatory statement in my original post. :)
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amZo

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 05:49:22 pm »
I know Nikko, your line though made me realize I should probably have put in a disclaimer/explanatory statement in my original post. :)

You're too kind. Just so there's no misunderstanding.... I love Starbucks.  :)

Offline suzifrommd

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Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2014, 06:30:01 pm »
I don't live that far from where the Skins play, so a lot of the people around here are Skins fans. (No one here calls them the Redskins. It's always "the Skins".)

Their owner is a guy named Dan Snyder who is an in-your-face macho type who enjoys his tough-but-rich guy image. He's been known to sue newspapers who print stories he doesn't like, just because he can.

Couple that with the football culture, which is all about "taking it to the other team", showing that your team is tougher and meaner and capable of imposing its will on opponents, and you get a situation in which Skins fans are almost delighting in the fact that their team name are offending outsiders and non-fans. In the die-hard football mindset, many fans often see the world as divided into "people who support my team" and "everyone else", and only one of those groups matters to them.

Of course Snyder is also a terrible owner, who can't leave coaches to manage on their own, but also can't put together a decent team on his own to save his life. The Skins have had a dismal record since Snyder took over, whereas under the previous owners, they were the class of the league.

Since they can't beat teams on the field, they're consoling themselves with the fact that they can at least thumb their noses at the various tribal nations.
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MadeleineG

Re: “Redskins”
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2014, 06:34:58 pm »

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