I'm going to forewarn you... This is going to be long. I've been a staunch supporter of the name of our beloved team. I didn't believe it to be disparaging, nor do I believe it was meant to be. One thing I used to base this belief was the Native American on the helmet. I mean if this team was trying to be offensive, why not have a Chief Wahoo on the helmets? With all the debate going around(and with my rampant insomnia), I decided to do some research last night. What I found leads me to believe that I am correct. The Washington Redskins is not racist and the real underlying issue has nothing to do with the name.
First, I wanted to try and find the origin of the word Redskins. There are many theories that are floating around the internet, but the only one I could find that actually seemed to have actual supporting facts and not just presumption was quite surprising. Native Americans themselves came up with the term. From an article in the Washington Post in 2005 we get this lovely little nugget. "Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard spent seven months researching its history and concluded that "redskin" was first used by Native Americans in the 18th century to distinguish themselves from the white "other" encroaching on their lands and culture. " In fact, the first known printing of the word was a quote by a Native American speaking on the talks between Midwestern Indian tribes and President James Madison's envoys to negotiate treaties following the War of 1812. Meskwaki chief Black Thunder said the following: "Restrain your feelings and hear calmly what I say," he told the envoys. "I have never injured you, and innocence can feel no fear. I turn to all red skins and white skins, and challenge an accusation against me." The earliest usages of "redskin" appeared to be in 1769 by Illinois tribal chiefs. A chief named Mosquito was attributed as saying, "I shall be pleased to have you come to speak to me yourself, And if any redskins do you harm, I shall be able to look out for you even at the peril of my life." According to the article by the end of the 18th century: Native Americans were using "red" to describe themselves and to assert their pride of being North America's original inhabitants.
Now there is no doubt that the term "redskin" has been used in a disparaging way. However, just because some people use such terms disparagingly does not mean that it is racist. That's the unfortunate thing about the English Language, probably more so than any other language on the planet. Too many words have multiple meaning and can be twisted and turned to be used negatively. Let's look at a few examples of this. I'm gonna start with the N word. More African Americans are being called N****** than ever before. Why is that? Is it because racism is more prevalent than ever? No because they use it to describe themselves. Sure they change the er to an a but really does it make a difference? No it doesn't. If the word is a negative word why is it that it is ok for them to use it? Because it's not being used to be racist. That's why it's ok. The term Oreo is used to negatively describe a person of mixed ethnicity. So should Oreo change the name of their cookie? The term Yankee was used as an ethnic slur by the south and still is by many non-Americans and by many in the south. So should the NY Yankees change their name? There was a Negro League Baseball team that called themselves the Black Crackers. Another that called themselves the Black Yankees. I could look into this for days and find more words that can be used to disparage a person or group or race.
The real issue that is on the table here is not the name of the team. Most Native Americans, including those on reservations, do not find the term "redskin" to be offensive. In fact many are proud to have a team like The Washington Redskins that celebrates them. In fact an article posted just a few days ago by CBS DC quoted a retired Native American Chief saying he would be offended if they DID change the name, Robert "Two Eagles" Green said "“I think that first of all, you have to make a decision whether you consider it offensive or not, and frankly, the members of my tribe, the vast majority, don’t find it offensive, I’ve been a Redskins fan for years and to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change it.” The real issue is the greatest injustice in the history of this continent. What the European and later Americans did to the Native Americans was beyond reprehensible. It was worse than what happened to African Americans. It was deplorable and beyond inhumane. The problem? Just like slavery there isn't really anything that can be done to "make up for it". The only thing that can be done is to come together as human beings and ensure that nothing like that happens ever again. The displacement and killing of a an entire race of people was deplorable. But what can be done about it now? We can't go back in time and change things. All we can do is move forward. As human beings it can be difficult to move forward. Too many times we live in the past and look at what was, instead of looking forward to what can be.
The truth of the matter is that the name of the team was changed from the Braves by George Preston Marshall to honor head coach William "Lone Star" Dietz in 1932. Would you really change the name of the team to something that would offend your head coach like that? There are way too many issues that affect Native Americans negatively today and the name of a football team is certainly not one of them. I think it's time to stop being so damn political correct and focus on the politics that are truly negatively affecting this country and all the people within it. I am proud of my team, I am proud of the name. My best friend is part Native American. Her and I have had this conversation. She is not offended at all. In fact, she feels the same way I do. The Redskins are something for Native Americans to be proud of.
Addition Sources : http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/...d-change-name/