Is the name Redskin Offensive-Native Americans Go to the Supreme Court

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redskinsIt’s amazing how overlooked Native Americans are.. If we had a team called the Niggers or the Kikes or The Spics we would be outraged, even though there are people who use those terms in a familiar sense, comedic sense or as terms of endearment amongst themselves. We often hear people say that the names of the teams they root are part of a larger tradition therefore Native peoples need to shut up and stop complaining. The other excuse given when this issue comes up is that there are some Native Americans who don’t object to the names being used. They are usually trotted out before the TV cameras for the world to see and their words become the empirical evidence everyone clings to in order to avoid doing the right thing.

What’s often not stated is that some people are either super ignorant or have been paid off. We see similar behavior in the African American community with the use of the word ‘Nigga’ which unfortunately has been popularized and somewhat mainstreamed in rap songs. Leaders like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jacksonhave protested the use of the word in popular public mediums like radio and TV only to be rebuked by some ignorant rapper or ‘street wise’ individual who is suddenly buttressed up by the offending media outlet as the sole representation and opinion maker for an entire community. The bottomline is what’s wrong is wrong and like it or not using racial epithets to name a team is wrong plain and simple.

Is it tradition? Perhaps. But lots of oppressive things were tradition in this country. Women being property was tradition. Jim Crow laws were tradition. Children working in factories was tradition and so was corporal punishment in school. However, we saw the flaws in those traditions and they cease to be. Why can’t we find the flaws in calling a professional football team “The Redskins”? Why can’t we find the flaw in calling a team the Apaches, the Redskins, the Camanches, the Indians, etc ? Whats even worse is that many of these teams have mascots both in professional sports and in high school and college.

When confronted another excuse the offending party likes to fall back on is citing other groups who are not complaining. For example, I often hear people ask “Why are Native Americans getting so upset? You don’t hear Irish people complaining about Notre Dame calling themselves the ‘Fighting Irish’. We don’t hear anyone complaining about teams being called the Patriots or Spartans?

That may in fact be true.. It doesn’t mean its ok. I don’t call the radio station everytime I hear a rap song being played on public airwaves with the N word unbleeped. Does that mean its ok to call me that? Absolutely not. Also maybe other ethnic groups don’t find this offensive for a variety of reasons-What does this have to do with Native Americans. If irish people wish to challenge schools like Notre Dame for calling themselves the ‘Fighting Irish’ they would be well within their rights. The drunken fighting Irishman is certainly an old stereotype that needs to be put to bed as should the Redskins.

As you read the story explaining whats going on.. check out this song which provides better context to what’s happening..

-Davey D-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXeyH9bH4oE

Indians ask Supreme Court if ‘Redskins’ offends

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090915/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_redskins_name

WASHINGTON – A group of American Indians who find the Washington Redskins name offensive wants the Supreme Court to take up the matter.

The group on Monday asked the justices to review a lower court decision that favored the NFL team on a legal technicality.

Seven Native Americans have been working through the court system since 1992 to have the Redskins trademarks declared invalid. A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office panel ruled in their favor in 1999. But they’ve been handed a series of defeats from judges who ruled that the plaintiffs waited too long to bring their suit in the first place.

A lawyer for the group says he’d like to see the highest court decide whether the Redskins name defames Native Americans.

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Comments

  1. Two words: Divide and conquer :o/

    The defendants will go and find Native Americans who will testify that “Redskins” is not offensive. The case will be thrown out and we will be at square on. kzs

  2. We like to ‘honor’ once we have conquered or, better yet, eliminated. Goes for animals too i.e. wolves.

  3. This arguement has been going on for a long time. The name is obviously offensive, especially if you look at its roots as well as the team’s founder. Good luck to the NA’s…it’s long overdue!

  4. Little known fact : The Buffalo Bills are named after wild bill hickock who was famous for what?

    Tracking killing and relocating native americans.

    It’s always surprised me how this has flown under the radar.

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  6. great noble people. for all the natives of the whole American continent. must increase population density, be a solution. red leather is beautiful. red leather
    great people, many bodies one mind to win! together we can! red power forever !!!

    we must save religion race culture of the natives. the world needs your noble race, all the tribes from east to west from south to north of continent pollution must be united against the West.

    red power. my heart my thoughts are with you. against extinction

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  8. Did you really compare redskins to the N-word, spic, and other words? Really? You’re reaching….the word Redskin was never offensive until some people chose to make it offensive. The words you used to compare is offensive and has a long track record of being offensive. Until recently, I hadn’t even perceived the word redskin in that way, and neither did a lot of people. You’re telling me that all those people who love the team and are praising the team are all bigots? Even though they never thought of the team or the name in that way? And it’s not just a few Native Americans…polls have been done showing that a vast majority don’t see the issue

    The term is essentially becoming offensive because of all the people highlighting it and making an issue of it. Before that, no one was even thinking of the term in that context. There are many theories as to where the term came from, but the theory that makes the term offensive has not been backed up with facts. I’m still amazed that you think the Washington N*ggers or the Washington Sp*cs can ever be compared with something like the Washington Redskins. No one was thinking that until a few started looking for an issue…no one

    • Redskin has long been offensive and with the same sordid history as the N word.. and just like we have polls showing Black folks not caring about the N word so we have polls with NA saying that abt Redskins.. Ignorance is exist in all communities..I first heard of this being an issue in 1970s.. stop making excuses Brian for indefensible behavior..

  9. Brian you stated thus:

    No one was thinking that until a few started looking for an issue…no one

    Perhaps “no one” was “looking” because Native Americans are are frequently rendered invisible in US discussions of race and inequality. What do your “polls” say about that? Many Native Americans are extreme oppressed and impoverished. Given this fact of historical and ongoing oppression, these sports team caricatures of Native people are, in my opinion, extremely offensive. kzs

  10. I am Native and I never thought being called a redskin as a negative thing because I do have a red tint (this is real obvious when I try to buy the right shade of make-up and nothing ever seems right). I assumed this tint is why we are called red skinned. I may be wrong, but either way, I appreciate how you took the time to acknowledge that there might be people out there that do find it offensive and people should realize that just because you may not understand why someone feels a certain way, it does not make what they are feeling wrong. Thanks again!!

  11. Alfred Smith says:

    Hey brian you wanted facts!!
    The American Psychological Association adopted a Resolution August 21, 2005, recommending the immediate retirement of American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams, and organizations. The APA stated that “racism and racial discrimination are attitudes and behavior that are learned and that threaten human development” and resolved to “denounce racism in all its forms, and take proactive steps to prevent the occurrence of intolerant or racist acts.” There you go, You should truly do more research before opening your mouth..

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