The Washington Redskins, winners of three Super Bowls and one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports, will be changing its team name soon. Sure, owner Daniel Snyder vowed he would “never” do such a thing, but you can bet that’s a promise he won’t be able to keep. (He already backed down from his original avowal.) Political correctness has permeated itself into Western culture like blubber in the belly of your average Walmart shopper. Which means 80-plus years of history must be flushed away in deference to an offended few.
Nothing illustrates the insanity of this issue better than a recent discussion on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” a show that features four columnists from across the country who enlighten their lucky viewers not only with their brilliant analyses on the world of sports, but on the social issues that surround it. And by “enlighten” I mean spout left-wing groupthink at a rate that would make the most strident feminist proud. Not one of these men (using the term loosely) came down in favor of keeping the name Redskins. Not one.
A Trip into PC Hell
Here’s the transcript (the discussion begins at about the 10:00 mark):
Tony Reali (Host): Last week, President Obama said if he owned the Washington Redskins he’d have to think about a name change. Earlier this week, the NFL moved up a meeting with the Oneida Nation, and today team owner Dan Snyder responded. In a letter to season ticket holders, Snyder maintained his position that the name is a badge of honor and his intention is keeping the nickname. He quoted two surveys, one of them, he says, “90 percent of Native Americans didn’t find the name offensive,” and also: “I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them and continue to listen to them, and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81-year history.”
The writing is on the wall. Even the lone person here with a shred of sanity—Redskins owner Daniel Snyder—waters down his remarks with the utmost respect given to the lords of political correctness. What exactly do we have to “learn” from the offended, Daniel? That they’re still offended? Newsflash: we shouldn’t care. And 90 percent of Indians don’t care either.
Woody Paige: I think he’s totally wrong, and I want to address a couple of points. One, in talking about the history and tradition of the franchise, we have seen over the past 80 years, a lot of changes made in this country, including the fact that we now refer to those who are Native Americans as Native Americans, not by a name that they were given by the Italian when he supposedly came to this country and misspoke about where they belong. Number 2, he talks about the surveys. The surveys, were each about 1,000 people. There were 3 million, the last census, 3 million people who registered as Native Americans, so that is a small sample size. I think he should take more consideration and to call it a badge of honor is such a mistake, I think he needs to back off.
Woody’s never been the most eloquent of speakers, but this statement is a mess. And completely untrue. In his rambling, I think I can safely conclude that he’s talking about Christopher Columbus—the guy who “supposedly came to this country”—and the taboo name “Indians” he allegedly coined. To quote one of the great red-pillers of our time, George Carlin, “Indian” is a dignified term with a history most are completely ignorant of:
I call them Indians because that’s what they are. They’re Indians. There’s nothing wrong with the word Indian. First of all, it’s important to know that the word Indian does not derive from Columbus mistakenly believing he had reached “India.” India was not even called by that name in 1492; it was known as Hindustan.
More likely, the word Indian comes from Columbus’s description of the people he found here. He was an Italian, and did not speak or write very good Spanish, so in his written accounts he called the Indians, “Una gente in Dios.” A people in God. In God. In Dios. Indians. It’s a perfectly noble and respectable word.
Plus, “Native American” is just a derivation of the name of European explorer Amerigo Vespucci with the word “native” tacked on. Ersatz moniker, for the win.
Tim Cowlishaw: Yeah, I would have been okay with what he said if he reversed it. If instead of saying, I’m willing to learn, but we have an 81-year history and tradition. If he had talked about the history first, and then said, but I’m open-minded, I want to learn. We need more than these two surveys to find out if it’s really offensive, that would have been okay.
Sadly, this is the most level-headed statement from our esteemed
Obama speech writers sportswriters. We need to learn? Teach us, oh great spaghetti monster of relativism, if this term is offensive or not. Let me ask you, Mr. Cowlishaw, at what percentage would it become acceptable for you to feel okay about using the term Redskin to describe Washington’s football team: 91 percent? 95 percent? 99.9 percent?
Bomani Jones: It’s a spectacular level of arrogance, this whole show. But the big thing to remember is that this is George Preston Marshall’s team, both a hall of famer in football and a hall of famer in racism. And Daniel Snyder’s trying to tell me that that man was honoring Native Americans. If you really believe that, then what else are you doing to honor Native Americans other than this name? It’s a slur, stop lying to me.
And for our Victims of Racism™ segment tonight, I present to you Bomani Jones. Crusader against racist owners who’ve been dead for 40 years, who understands the only way to fight arrogance is with more arrogance.
Reali: Back to the survey though, what if 90 percent of Native Americans don’t find the name offensive? What if Native American high schools on the reservation have Redskin as a nickname, as they do, if that’s the case?
How dare you introduce reason into this group, Reali? We were having a Racist Haters circle jerk and you ruined it with ridiculously factual hypotheticals! (Don’t you just love it how he has to tiptoe through the truth? The entire point is presented as a great “what if” even though it’s completely true that Indian high schools use Redskin as a nickname.)
Pablo Torre: Well let’s grant that that’s true, for example, and let’s say…I mean, let’s remember that this is a category of a racial caricature, right? That’s what we’re polling about. And so I think there’s a principle as much as there is an empirical research element to this. And if 10 percent of people, 21 percent of people, are gravely offended, if their human dignity has been stripped from them on a regular basis, we should probably err on the side of protecting that minority. That’s where we are, I think, in this country in 2013.
Yes, Pablo, “let’s grant” that the truth is actually the truth, since it is we as sackless hack sportswriters who ultimately decide the truth. And nice touch on adding the feminine touch of the dramatic—I’m trying to picture someone whose “human dignity has been stripped” because of the name of a fucking football team. Beta males suffer divorce theft at the hands soul-wrenching vulturous ex-wives every day, but we as a nation are more worried that little Dances With Wolves will be eternally scarred at the sight of Robert Griffin III wearing a picture of an Indian warrior on his helmet.
Paige: Why don’t we also survey all the people who are non-Native Americans? Because, even though I’m 1/16 a Native American, I’m offended by the term. I think a lot of the people I hang out with are offended by the term, and will never use it, and I never write it.
Chief Plays With Wood has a point. White people are more offended by Redskin than red people. Ah, the gifts of feminism just keep giving! White guilt is its fundamental premise.
Jones: Hey, go back and check how many colleges changed their names from Native American mascots and see how few of them were even close to being like “redskin.” They were much more tame and people still found the decency to do better.
Or in other words, if everybody else is doing it–in the name of PC, of course–that makes it right! When will we as a nation man up and just give in to the whim of the minority already?
By the way, for those of you counting at home, that’s 11 instances of the term “Native American” in a 3:00 segment. Carlin is rolling in his grave.
Change My Evil Ways
Unfortunately, we cannot prevent the inevitable. The Redskins will be no more soon, because it’s been arbitrarily decided that, combined together, the words red and skin are a slur. It doesn’t matter that one means a shade of scarlet and the other means epidermis. It doesn’t matter that it only applies to some—it’s perfectly acceptable to call Blacks black and Whites white. What matters is that THIS is a slur. It’s offensive because we have decreed it offensive. It is an etymological fallacy of the highest degree.
In the mean time, I guess we’d better start thinking about some new names for our nation capital’s football team. Maybe the Gay Marriages? the Reproductive Rights? the Community Organizers? I think I’ll play it safe, and go with the name inspired by our gang of sports analysts—the PC-DC Pussy Willows.