By Dan Steinberg
“I mean, let’s have some common sense in this country,” he continued. “We’re talking about the Washington Redskins. This is one of the organizations in the National Football League, to me, that [is] one of the top five or six teams, the class of the league. Tell me what they’re doing in their mascot that is so offensive to everybody else? Let me ask the question: when you say you’re offended by the mascot name, give me some examples of why. That’s what I haven’t heard. It’s offensive to the Native Americans: why? Tell me specifically what the Redskins have done to make the nickname Redskins so offensive? Have we portrayed the Native American in a less than glamorous light?”
Chad Dukes at some point suggested that critics might argue the word itself is offensive, regardless of how the Redskins have used it.
“Show me how the Redskins themselves–not the name–show me how the representation of the name Redskins in the WASHINGTON Redskins has ANY negative connotation,” Bostic requested. “ANY negative connotation, any small part of a negative connotation. Show me any part of that. And if you will, I’ll be more than glad to listen to you….
“At the end of the day, I still get back to one point: tell me where the Redskin organization has EVER–not one time, two times–EVER presented the Native American in anything other than a glamorous light. If you can answer that, that’s all I need to hear.”
1a) Since when does a corporation get to dictate to people how they should feel about an issue? People have their opinions and team owner Dan Snyder has his--both according to the First Amendment. If Snyder or Bostic doesn't like the criticism, he can get the hell out of America.
1b) The public has a right to weigh in on Snyder's business because the public makes that business possible. Through our government, we give the Redskins an antitrust exemption, trademark protection, stadium subsidies, use of the airwaves, etc., etc. Not to mention the public benefits all corporations get: roads, utilities, police protection, etc.
If Snyder wants to operate a truly private business, he can forswear all of these government handouts and operate on his own. Until then, this welfare recipient can take our opinions along with our charity.
"Redskins" = ethnic slur
2a) "Show me how the Redskins themselves–not the name...," Bostic begins. But why the hell should we exclude the problems with the name? Because Bostic is a quivering coward who doesn't want address the actual argument of mascot foes?
Dukes already offered the obvious rejoinder. It doesn't matter how the team uses the name because the name itself is offensive to many Indians. It's defined in many dictionaries as an ethnic slur or vulgarism.
As one commenter put it:
In almost every case where a person, race or ethnic group is defined according to a bodily characteristic, it is offensive to the group to be objectified and identified with the name of that physical characteristic, even when the physical characteristic would seem to be a positive one! For instance, if someone is big and muscular, and if they are called "muscle head" they would consider it offensive. Or if they are short, and if they are referred to by others as "shorty", then it is considered offensive. Let's say the person is very tall, and everyone calls them "stretch", the person may learn to resent it because it does not recognize their proper name. People want to be called by their proper names, not nicknames. People want to be identified and understood according to the content of their character, not the bodily-characteristic nickname. It is a simple matter of respect Mr. Bostic! Don't reduce entire races or classes of people to a characteristic of their bodies. Human beings ask for more respect than that given by the name "redskin."
2b) Perhaps sensing that he's on shaky ground, Bostic switches from "prove 'Redskins' is offensive" to "prove the team has done something offensive." Nice try to weasel out of your position, Bostic. We addressed your first claim, and now we'll address your fallback claim.
You want evidence of what the team does or lets its fans do? Okay:
Redskins mascot = old black man
Chief Zee's successor?
Cooperstown changes "Redskins" to "Hawkeyes"
Plus this fine example from ICTMN:
'A Name Change for the Redskins: Unpopular, Insufficient, and Necessary'
Until the team banishes this activity anywhere on its property, it's tolerating it. And the team is more than tolerating the band and Chief Zee; it's sanctioning them.
There you go, Jeff. The Redskins' official and unofficial message is that all Indians are the same; all are primitive people of the past. If you're ignorant about racism, singling out one race for this kind of stereotyping is the epitome of it. Duh.
Any questions? Now that we've explained the facts to you, will you change your position? No, of course not. You're a white man who benefits from subordinating other races...'nuff said.
For more on the Washington Redskins, see AP Poll on Redskins Is Flawed and "Inuit Chief" Supports Washington Redskins.