September 30, 2012

Kansas City Star won't use "Redskins"

Major Newspaper Doesn’t Use the Term Redskins for Washington’s NFL Team Because It’s a Racial EpithetOn September 24, The Kansas City Star‘s Public Editor Derek Donovan posted a statement on, the paper’s website, regarding the Star‘s policy to avoid using the term redskins because it’s a racial epithet. In his post “Star policy on Washington NFL team’s name,” Donovan writes: “I remain unconvinced by every argument I’ve ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple. And I’ll even break my usual rule about commenting on issues outside The Star’s journalism to say that I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012.”

It seems the paper has adhered to the policy reasonably well. writer Isaac Rauch reports that “A search for Redskins on … turns up about 150 results. For comparison’s sake, the same search on turns up about 55,000. If you look at websites owned by papers that cover other AFC teams, like—the website of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer—or, you’ll find about 5200 and 2050, respectively. Some of the results on the Star‘s website seem to be from wire services.”
Comment:  For more on "Redskins," see Satirizing Redskins with Whiteskins and Utah Utes Were Redskins.


BUGS said...

No doubt you are already familiar with this story, but I thought I should contribute: Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Muscogee)of the Morning Star Institute has been in federal court for decades battling the Washington DC football team over trademark protection for its "Redskins" mascot. The law forbids any business or other entity from using any image or words in a brand that can be proved offensive. She figures that if the courts remove trademark protection for the Washington team, it will be motivated to change its mascot - since anyone in the world will now able to reproduce the mascot without infringing on its trademark and will lose money. I think that the courts recently ruled against her, but she's still fighting.

Here in New Mexico, Santa Fe artist Charlene Teters (Spokane)has been making art mocking Indian mascot logos since 1989 and has specifically targeted the use of the "Chief Illiniwek" mascot for the U of Illinois.

I myself am an artist in northwest New Mexico and have dedicated much of my career to exploding stereotypes and myths about Native Americans as they are expressed in tourist-related trinkets, such as postcards and collectibles. Back in 2003 I was invited to mount an exhibition at the Grand Rapids, MI Art Institute, and decided to "open" a sports paraphernalia store in the gallery space that sold Racist Football League-type collectibles - tee shirts, pennants, mugs, etc. Their names and logos mimicked the Washington team's, but were of equally offensive mascots of other minorities and anglos: Atlanta Crackers, Los Angeles Wetbacks, San Francisco Chinks, Detroit Darkies, New York Hebes. Unfortunately, a few of the Institute's officials got nervous about this and cancelled the exhibit. But the tee shirts I had made were displayed in my 2006 solo exhibition here. Amazingly, some patrons actually wanted to buy them.

dmarks said...

A good example of yellow journalism or fudging the facts. "Redskins" is the team name. The alteration of this fact is also counterproductive: by lying about the name, "journalists" end up covering it up. Out of sight, out of mind... making it less likely that it will be changed.