When something isn’t particularly offensive to you, it can become easy to stand on the wrong side of public opinion. Everyone else is there with you. They look like you. You must be right.
I remember when I was younger and using the term ‘gay’ to make fun of people was the norm. ‘OMG, that’s so gay,’ would be thrown around, our young minds completely oblivious to what it meant. As I grew up and realized the undertone of what I was actually saying, I immediately removed the term from my speech, along with a few others.
However, when a term isn’t widely used as derogatory and when you only know it as the name of a professional sports team, for many people, it becomes difficult to understand where the line needs to be drawn.
I’ve never used it as a slur. I didn’t even know it was classified as a slur until a few years ago. Apparently, the NFL team associated with it doesn’t mean any offense. No harm done, amiright?
Washington fans, including many of my friends, are downright enraged when I ask them about the potential name change. They quote the ten-year-old Annenberg poll where it found that “90% of Native Americans are not bothered by the name Redskins.”
Let me show you how this poll would have gone down with me in 2004:
Poller: “Are you Native American?”
Me, a white girl: Laughs and explains that my Dad traced us back to Pocahontas.
Poller: “Do you find the Washington Redskins name offensive?”
Me: “I don’t think so.”
Poller: “Thank you.” Hangs up.
I am now a part of the 90% of Native Americans who are not bothered by the name Redskins. That was only one of the many problems with this poll.
Even if the Annenberg poll was completely accurate and representative of the Native American population, I personally am not comfortable with even 10% of Native Americans believing Redskin is a slur and the rest of us not doing anything to stop it. So it’s not offensive to all you white people out there wearing your $100 Redskins jersey? That’s just fucking great.
“But it’s been our name since 1933!” they yell.
Yeah, you’ve also had 12 different uniforms, 10 logos, and 5 different stadiums in 2 cities. You also changed your name once before. Remember? Thanks to the Daily Show for that.
Let’s keep it simple. Just because it is offensive to only a small portion of our population does not justify its use in our language. You know those slurs you wouldn’t touch with a 100-foot pole? You’re getting uncomfortable just thinking about them, aren’t you?
The term Redskin should be in the same category as those. Period. The sooner everyone understands that and realizes they’re supporting a goddamn football team instead of their fellow Americans, the better.
Until then, you’re the Washington Pigskins to me.
30 thoughts on “Slurry Situation”
Honestly, I had no idea this term was a slur until earlier this year when scrutiny really started to pile on Daniel Snyder. Then, when I saw the Daily Show piece and learned what the original intent of the term really was, my mind was made up. You can bet all these people defending the Washington name wouldn’t be so staunch in their defense if the team name was the Crackers.
Additionally, Mr. Snyder continues to claim that the term is supposed to honor Native Americans. It’s quite obvious Native Americans are not feeling all too honored. I would suggest that Mr. Snyder actually sit down with Native Americans and find a nickname which would honor Native Americans while not offending them at the same time.
But what do I know?
I completely agree but do they even want to be mascots? That really resonated with me in the Daily Show piece. One of the Native Americans said “We’re not mascots.”
I hope it changes soon. Rip off the bandaid, order some new jerseys, and maybe your team will actually play well one year…. maybe
Well, if that’s how they feel then that’s what they would say, right? I have no idea what the right answer is, but I know what the wrong one is, and it’s keeping things the same.
My sister-in-law is Native American and I confess that at first I didn’t get why she got so offended about things…until I took time to listen to her. It is just crazy that this is even an issue and that there is any debate about changing that name. How can they justify it? This was a great post.
Being a Brit I’ve never even heard this term or of the team, but when I saw it I assumed it had something to do with Native American Heritage….. Oops!
I hate it when powerful people can perpetuate racism simply because they are powerful. Change the name. Show a little … I dunno … what’s that word? Respect!
Exactly. Snyder is all ‘We don’t mean any disrespect!’ I don’t care if you don’t mean any disrespect. Open your eyes and see that you ARE disrespecting a group of people. Sheesh. Thanks for reading!
I don’t understand why they don’t just change the name. It’s not 1933 anymore and I think we all know this is wrong.
Unfortunately, ‘we’ don’t. A lot of people are on the Redskins side which hurts my heart.
I think they need to change the name and change with times
Random Thoughts Naba – Turn Back Time……
It’s ridiculous that there is even a debate about changing the name. I love your snappy last sentence, Arden!
Thanks Stacie! I don’t get it either. I was so happy when the trademark was revoked but it’s nowhere close to being over. Sigh…
As someone who is intimately aware of the slur “That’s so gay,” I completely agree with you. What is even more offensive are the people who keep claiming that everything needs to be so PC. Yeah, you should be politically correct, because that is the human thing to do.
I don’t like the term politically correct. You’re absolutely right. Act like a human being. It has zip to do with politics! Thanks for reading, Bill!
Well said, Arden!
Well written. Great perspective. Couldn’t agree more. Also, the title really intrigued me and ended up fitting perfectly with the piece.
Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. Welcome to yeah write by the way! We’re glad to have you 🙂 Do you go by Edward?
So well put. It’s great when someone can take something so controversial and boil it down into simpler terms.
Thanks Danielle! Unfortunately, we have to make it as simple as possible for people to understand! Thanks for reading!
This subject is so tricky. I just read in National Geographic that most Native Americans don’t identify with that term. The term America is a Europeanized label that has been foisted upon them for no apparent reason. They prefer to be called by the tribe they identify with or the term Indians.
That makes sense but I thought we also called them Indians because Columbus thought he had discovered the Indies? I agree that the tribe is most appropriate.
yes, that’s right. Columbus thought he was in India. I’m not sure why some identify more with Indians. Maybe because it was a funny mistake?
Oh Columbus…. Don’t get me started on that guy 🙂
I’m soooo not a football person so maybe that’s why I can’t figure out why fans get so bent out of shape over a team name.
I AM a huge football person and I don’t get it…. Le sigh
I guess I can understand why the team itself, as a business, would not want to go through the time and expense of rebranding but they absolutely would if the fans would just get on board and lobby for the change.
And that’s definitely not happening anytime soon…