Is it possible that we can choose not to be offended,and not look for reasons to
be offended, and certainly not write about it? Enough, please.
I respectfully disagree. Polls show that a vast majority of Native Americans
have no problem with the Washington Redskins. I strongly disagree with those in
the government using a heavy hand to terminate the redskin trademark. It seems
that many who preach tolerance are very intolerant to those who believe
differently than they do.
I am part Chippewa and like the overwhelming majority of those of Native
American decent, I find no offense in the use of the word Redskins. In fact,
like most, I take pride in it. As I read your story, I can only recommend that
there may be a better approach than the one you chose. With the grocery
clerk's inquiry, why would you hate such a question instead of choosing to
use it as an opportunity to express your complete love and support for your
sister who is different? What a great opportunity missed to demonstrate that
love is not based on these differences. I find it puzzling that you would find
it difficult to express that and instead impugn your father's reputation.
Nevertheless, what is it about the name of Redskins that you find so
"hurtful or insulting?" I certainly never had any reason to question or
hate myself and my heritage because of the use of this term and I find it even
bizarre that you do. I find this whole situation with the Redskins name as
little more than the Grievance Industry's necessity to validate their
existence with yet another non-existent wrong.
Just because SOME Native Americans have no problem with the use of
"Redskins" does NOT make it o.k. to use. Words like "vast
majority" attempt to exaggerate the number of agreeing Native Americans as
if ALL of them were polled. Yeah, right!The fact of the matter is
that those who haven't experienced racism, and then on a very large scale -
do not know how powerful of an affect derogatory words can demean a group of
people. The word "Redskins" has now become one of them. The
"N" word was used without care until we became a more conscientious
society. This matter is the same. We know better therefore we need to behave
If we ought to defer to those to whom it refers, then we have to take a poll of
every living Native American and determine how many of them are truly offended
by it. If that's the criteria under which action must be decided, then you
can't take action until you have the data. If the argument is going to be
made that even one person offended is cause to change the name, then I'm
going to start demanding that everything that I find offensive to me which I am
the only person who feels that way be changed.
An integral part of being an adult is refusing to take offense when none is
intended. Quite frankly, it's one of the main factors that separates a
temperate grown-up from the children.As a red-haired male, I have
been the subject of plenty of mean-spirited, "racial" teasing. I've
been the butt of many jokes, stereotyped as hot-tempered; I've been mocked
for nothing other than my hair and freckled skin - physical, racial
characteristics that are beyond my control. Historically, signs such as "No
Irish Need Apply" in the US and "No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish" at
English boarding houses underscore the discrimination that my ancestors
suffered.I could choose to be offended by the Notre Dame
"Fighting Irish" (a mascot that caricatures the racial characteristics
of the Irish and their tendency toward drunken hotheadedness). But I'm not.
It's not offensive, nor was it intended to be so. It's quite literally
a badge of honor to have an organization choose to use me, and others like me,
to identify themselves.
My ancestors came from Scandinavia does that mean I should be offended by those
teams that use Viking mascots? Utah and several other states are Indian derived
names does that mean we should change the name of all these states? States or
mascots with Indian names is not an insult, on the contrary, it is an honor!
When we name our child we are deliberate, thoughtful and considerate; that child
is part of us. Likewise, to name a place or choose a mascot to identify and
represent our team or institution shows extreme respect and places it in high
honor; it too becomes part of us. Mascots are team symbols of strength,
toughness, and other winning traits. Some criticize our government
for trying to eradicate their culture; is it not ironic that they now want to
obviate them even further into obscurity by removing them from the public eye?
If anything tribes should be promoting themselves as mascots.It
seems to me the only ones taking advantage of anyone here, are lawyers who twist
things around and stir people up just to make a quite buck. I hope tribes are
not duped by this and sell themselves short.
@ Wazzup??I didn't do the polling and this is not a new issue.
I'll leave the Google search to you but it is not hard to find that of the
numerous pols that have been done over the years, 90% of Native American's
do not find the term offensive and many Native American High Schools use the
term Redskins as their mascot. (find the recent CBS report on the issue and
Google the Red Mesa Redskins for example.) Comparing the term Redskins to the N
word is laughable and dismissive of the harm and history that the N word is. You
stated that the term Redskins has "now" become one of them. What do you
mean by "now?" It is only now because a group of grievance hucksters
want to make it so to further entrench the culture of grievance. There has
always been something racist to the N word. Redskins is not a racist term. It
is not used as a racist term. It is not derogatory or insulting to me and yes,
the vast majority of Native Americans in any way.
I agree with the majority of the previous posts. The use of the name is not a
put-down of Native Americans. I lived in Washington DC, and the fans of their
football team are extremely proud of their mascot. I am a fan of
Amy's. I love her columns--they are usually the first I read. But she is
off the mark here. But I still love her.
I read the article carefully and can't find the offensive negative
stereotype Ms Donaldson is complaining about. My nephew, a Navajo, was adopted
by my brother, who didn't have an affair with a Navajo woman. I'm
offended by Ms Donaldson getting so bent out of shape as to explain her
sister's complexion by disparaging falsehoods about her father.Brigham Young said that if you take offense where none is intended,
you're a fool. He went on to say that if you take offense when offense is
intended, you're probably still a fool. When I introduce my beloved Navajo
nephew, we are not offended by curiosity over the difference in our complexion.
We explain it proudly!
That ridiculous looking Irish mascot that Notre Dame uses sure does impugn us
Irish. The Irish were the much hated immigrants in the 1800's and of course
the British hated the Irish when so many of them fought against Britain in the
American Revolution so our ancestors know of this hatred. I guess if we make
everything politically correct then someday we won't be able to annoy
anyone and therefor end up being a docile people.
If people are going to be offended by sports mascots and nicknames insisting
that they be changed we should eliminate all of those that could be offensive
now. Browns could be offensive to people with darker skin. Yankees is a
slur against Northerners and Rebels is a slur against Southerners. Fighting
Irish, Vikings, Pirates, Buccaneers, Saints, Blue Devils, etc. There is a long
list of names and mascots that could be offensive to someone so they all must be
put under the microscope and examined very thoroughly to determine which ones
need to be changed immediately.
I've noticed that the majority of letters here are from people who presume
to decide what should or should not be offensive to other people. I'm
sorry, but we don't get to decide what offends other people. We can only
take note of their feelings and act accordingly. From a business
standpoint, why would anyone choose a team mascot that is going to offend part
of the potential fan base? If I had a sports team, I would want as many people
as possible cheering my team on, buying tickets, attending the games and
purchasing team-related items. While in this case, there may be people buying
Redskins stuff out of spite, it's gotta be hurting the bottom line in the
Nothing better than a bunch of white people talking about how Native Americans
should feel about this, that, or the other. White guilt is alive and well.If we learned anything from the Utah Man fiasco, it's that the
majority telling the minority what is and isn't acceptable is more
offensive than the mascot (or language) in question.
Two points. 1. Why, when anyone and I mean anyone, looks to justify this
disgusting term--do they always say "many native Americans have no
problem---blah blah blah." Why is it that you don't use the term
"Redskin" there? Native Americans love the term, right? Go ahead and sub
it in for Native American. Nobody hurt, right? Let's not be so easily
offended.2. Would you honestly walk up to a Native American child
and tell them they are the cutest little redskin you've ever met? If not,
why? What would be wrong with that? If you would do it, would you do it while
their large and tough looking father was standing next to them. If not, why? The
polling says they love the term so why your hesitation?I submit in
both cases, that the reasons are exactly the same as the reasons you don't
use the N word in similar situations. Let's start talking to each other
like adults. The sooner the better. This argument is going one way and fast.
I think it's a no-brainer. The name is overtly racist. Non-natives did
enough damage by violently stealing land from the native americans and nearly
whiping them out entirely. What historical context is there for sport teams to
use native americans as mascots other than some twisted sense of entertainment?
I am no friend to anyone who insists on continuing the humiliation just because
they think the name sounds cool and/or because the team makes money off of it.
And I don't care how many part-native-americans tell me they are not
offended. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so carelessly
disinterested in the integrity of your ancestry.
The Utes seem to be ok with it and don't see it as racism - and mind you
that many American Indians SELF identify as redskins.So it usually
comes down to $ as to whether a group is "offended" or notI'm sure if the Washington Redskins brought out the checkbook the
American indian redskins would find a way to not be offended, as the Utes have
"The Redskins suck" may be a common refrain from the opposing team...is
this okay? I suggest it is not. I agree with xert on this one. It appears to me
that many comments above are truly ethnocentric and one sided, despite the
effort to tell someone not to take offense at innocent and even attempts at
Re: xert "2. Would you honestly walk up to a Native American child and tell
them they are the cutest little redskin you've ever met? If not,
why?"It depends. Is s/he wearing a Redskins jersey? Context
matters, and as much as we would like things to be simple, sometimes they are
not. I could call someone a "Cougar" and the person might be honored
(BYU grad), offended (woman dating or married to a younger man) or REALLY
offended (U of U grad). Even in a football context, it's not so simple.
Native Americans might feel differently about the Redskins name and logo than
they would about the dopey, drunk-looking Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians.
Even use of the "N" word (sadly in my view) is contextual (black rapper
vs. white guy).I understand Amy's concern in the situation she
described, but I don't think it easily equates to the issue of the
Redskins' name. The polling data suggests it does not. We ought to be
sensitive to possible insensitivity, but we should be wary too of being too
presumptious in telling Native Americans how they ought to feel.
I'm surprised the author has never been on the end of racist comments
and/or jokes. I'm white and I've certainly been on the end of racist
comments. I am very white, in that I have freckles and I burn more easily than
just about anyone you'll ever meet. I get made fun of all the time about
how "white" I am and how I should keep my shirt on as to not blind
people. I have been called a Cracker several times and have also been called
"whitey".As I child I hated my freckles, white skin, and red
hair because it always brought unwanted jokes and attention. I literally wished
my skin was darker or that I could tan. I've since grown up and have come
to accept it and I don't mind it anymore. I still get comments and jokes
but I just choose not to be offended. If there were a team called the Whities or
Red-headed Freckle Faces I think I'd actually cheer for the team.
When Donaldson stands up against the Notre Dame mascot, among others, she may
have some credibility. Until them she is jumping on the victimization train.The fact that people are surprised when children look nothing alike
should not cause offense. Because we are a multi-racial family our children
look very different. My son's name is usually mispronounced because people
assume he is from a different racial group than he is. Hearing "is he your
brother?" or "is she your sister" was common for my kids even
through they were the only ones in their school with the same last name. They
did not take offense - they laughed about it. We have become way
too thin skinned as a people. What is even more concerning, however, is that
there are a growing number of people who are willing to use the power of
government to restrict the free speech rights of others. Isn't it great
when journalists are promoting censorship.
Redskin does not refer to Native Americans. It came from the warrior class
(their version of the Navy SEALS) of the Delaware natives who put vermillion on
their faces to make them RED and their enemies referred to them as Redskins.
It's an appellation of respect and fear.Let's use the
facts instead of hysteria to make decisions.
The irony here is that "multiculturalism" is all about celebrating
diversity. Now we are being told to eliminate anything that draws attention to
our differences because someone has decided such diversity might hurt
someone’s tender feelings.What's truly offensive is this
nonsense that indigenous peoples need help – that they will be forever
dependent on someone to protect their feelings similar to a parent protecting
the feelings of their children.We are indeed an entitlement society
full of victims and fools. We spend so much time now crying about being offended
that it's become downright offensive.
This is a great article! There is no reason to refer to a team mascot based on
skin color. None. Would we use 'blackskins" or "yellowskins"?
And to use the term "redskins" after our genocide policy of the 19th
Century, along with other meanings I'll not discuss here, is beyond
offensive. How many movies from the 20th Century that had lines like "the
only good Indian is a dead Indian" and others, which showed utter contempt
for Native Americans. Rationalize all you want, but the mascot name for the
Washington, DC football team is unacceptable. Period.
Could someone tell me when the Native Americans became offended with the name of
this football team? Was it in the last five years, last 10? I just do not
remember any objections until recently when the PC world went crazy. How
offended will the Native American tribes be when the organization decides to
start funding programs that truly help the people. The name does not help of
hurt anyone. Give me a break.
I think Amy said it best:"The reality is that we’ve
outgrown it. We’ve evolved. We didn’t know better when we chose the
Redskins as the team’s mascot. Back then, we chose a lot of mascots and
depictions of people and their cultures that were silly or belittling. But we
know better now. "We know better now.
Why does JD and others keep making the incorrect remarks about Redskins being
based upon skin color. It is NOT. It is based upon the war paint applied to the
equivalent of Delaware native's Navy Seals. Red referred to the vermillion
or red paint they applied before battle. They were feared for that. It's
the same as if we called the Seals, Camouflage Faces. Why get
insulted over something that isn't an insult??????????
Does anyone remember the old adage that sounded like "stick and stones may
break your bones but words will never hurt you". I currently see tv
commercials that push "word do hurt you". I believe that words only
hurt you if you let them. I think it is sad they we have to change for the few,
maybe I have other things more important than what people say about me.
Seriously, would anyone be offended if the "Redskins" were called the
"Whiteskins". I don't know, and I really don't care. I
agree with the comments that we are really just "getting behind our
teams" and using the Mascot to show our own team pride/spirit. Maybe we
need to stop worrying about the words. Worry about being a good parent, you
could teach your kids about what words you would like them to say. Worry about
driving down the street without hitting someone or doing a good job at work, not
about a stupid word someone said to you.
I think we need to be careful about terms like "subtle racism" or
"subtle bigotry" for that matter. Using the word "subtle"
implies that the intent of the question or comment is clearly understood by the
"victim". How tightly do we want to regulate free speech second
guessing people's intent?
For such an educated society it's amazing to me that we continue to hold
onto prejudiced, tired, and downright offensive mascots in our sports world.
It's time we change them, not because we might assume that someone is
offended, but that we instead choose to make changes because we want to do the
right thing. Whether or not anyone or any minority of people are offended by a
term like Redskins we should hope for change because it's the right thing
to do. Justifying prejudicial terms like these only lessens our standing as a
leader in the world. It's time to stop classifying groups of people and
live together as a society.
Well written article, Amy. And you have beautiful siblings!!!This
isn't about change coming because you or your sister are insulted. Racism
isn't about those that are being marginalized, it is about those doing the
labeling. Even if 100% of all native Americans told me they were ok with me
using a slur, I still won't do it, because it is the wrong thing to do.
Right. There goes the Runnin' Utes.Wait a minute, hold the
phone. PETA called, can't use Cougars either.And soon
vegetarians will decry using "Aggies" becaues it's vegetablist.Oh, Come On!!!
The NFL team became the Redskins in 1933. They became the Washington Redskins
in 1937. 77 years building their business and trademark. When I hear redskins
I think of the NFL team. For me there is no slur intended. So who gets to be
the politically correct police? Who gets to decide what is proper? What makes
some people believe they have the right to destroy a 77 year-old legendary
trademark? After you get rid of the Redskins what is next? When does it
stop?Is it right for the government to force the team owner spend
millions of dollars to create a new untested trademark? Some would say that he
would make more money selling new merchandise. The fact is that the team would
have to pay all of the new costs, but then it would have to share all of the
revenue with the other NFL teams.
It seems to me that we need to look at the purpose of the team mascot. Is it
positive or negative? Obviously no team chooses a mascot to cause it to be a
negative symbol. The mascot is always (I know never use absolutes but I think I
can here) used as a positive symbol by those who chose it and a negative symbol
by the rivals of the sporting franchise.
Ok, as soon as I read the story about the cashier ask if she was adopted, I knew
this was going to be one of those articles that would lead us to the sad
conclusion that some how we are racist. Since when does asking if someone is
adopted racist? The stretching of this kind of thinking gets longer and longer.