December 13, 2013

Civic rights coalition denounces "Redskins"

Indians and their allies continue to speak out against the Washington Redskins nickname and the harm it's causing.

Civil rights coalition calls for Redskins to change name

By Erik BradyThe Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition representing more than 200 organizations, passed a resolution at its annual meeting in Washington Thursday urging the Washington pro football club to change its team name.

"Our focus generally is about national policy issues, but in this instance we thought it was important for us to weigh in because of the psychic damage this does," press secretary Scott Simpson told USA TODAY Sports. "We can't work in isolation from people's lives."

The leadership conference includes organizations such as the NAACP, American Association of People with Disabilities, National Organization of Women and the AFL-CIO. Simpson said the resolution passed by acclamation.

"The term 'redskin,' when used in reference to Native American cultures and people, has a history of use as a pejorative and insulting name," the resolution says, "one that is and has been defined by numerous dictionaries as an offensive racial, ethnic slur; one that is widely considered to be just as offensive and demeaning as historically used slurs that are no longer deemed acceptable when used in reference to groups and individuals in African-American, LGBT, physical or developmental disability, Jewish, Italian-American, or other communities; and one that cannot in any reasonable way be viewed as honoring the culture or historical legacy of any particular Native American tribe or individual."
Civil rights coalition asks Washington Redskins to change name

Campaign to Educate Sonic and NFL About Offensive MascotsAn organization that called for an apology after a Sonic Drive-in posted two offensive signs is now leading a campaign calling on the Sonic Corporation to educate the public about how offensive Native mascots are.

The signs, “'KC Chiefs' Will Scalp the Redskins Feed Them Whisky Send - 2 – Reservation” and “'KC Chiefs' Will Scalp the Redskins Drain the Firewater out of them” were put up by an employee at a Sonic Drive-in on Sunday night before the Redskins Chiefs game in Belton, Missouri. They were removed after several patrons complained.

ICTMN reported that Sonic’s vice president of public relations, Patrick Lenow, said the remarks on the sign were “offensive … unacceptable and just plain wrong.”

But the group, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, says that an apology is not enough.

“We feel the company must do something concrete to show that they do not share the views of their employee (who was not fired) at the Sonic Drive-in in Belton, Missouri,” said Jacqueline Keeler, who helped found EONM, in a press release.

The group has also allied with the National Congress of American Indians in their efforts to hold Sonic accountable. They are calling on the restaurant and “both [NFL] teams (Washington Redsk*ns and the Kansas City Chiefs) featured in the racist sign to denounce the sign (they have not) and to stop using Native people as mascots.”

Danielle Miller provides a sample of the voluminous historical record against the word "redskins." It's evidence like this that caused the courts to rule against the Washington team in its trademark case.

Historical Evidence Shows “Redsk*ns” True Genocidal Meaning

By Danielle MillerThere were many comics which made a mockery of natives with caricatures. Even one subtitled “The Redskin Riot.” How fitting, considering that is how mainstream America views Native Americans--depicting them as caricatures. It’s considered to be one big riot; all the cultural appropriation, allusions to genocide, and multitude of microaggressions. The issue is not that we are sensitive, but that perpetuators are insensitive for believing that these actions could be a joke in the first place.

A book titled Red Plume by Edward S. Ellis and Ellis, Edward Sylvester (1840-1916), showed the harmful connotations of the R word with other dated concepts of racial discrimination. The book didn’t just use the R word but also used the N word. The Redsk*n word was associated with the Sioux (Oceti Sakowin, People of the Seven Council Fires). Here were some problematic examples I pulled from the book: “But my principle is, whenever you see a redskin, shoot him.” (p. 239) “He deliberately scalped the savage, and then allowed him to disappear in the river.” (p. 248) “I never scalped an Indian thats certain.” “…the minute you’re sure it’s a redskin, blaze away.” (p. 229)
Redskins = cigarettes

Meanwhile, back in fantasyland--aka Redskins fandom--people are still desperately trying to come with reasons for keeping the nickname.

How Fans Convince Themselves 'Redskins' Isn't Racist

By John F. Banzhaf IIIBlacks would riot if the team were named the “N*ggers,” and would never accept the argument that a team named the “J*gaboos” honors their ability to dance (a “jig”). Don Imus was suspended over his mere use of the word “Nappy,” and team names like “Sp*cs,” “Wetb*cks,” “K*kes,” “C*nts,” and “F*ggots would likewise be intolerable.

Yet, despite numerous legal proceedings finding the word to be racist, grossly insulting, and highly offensive and derogatory, assurances of this fact by virtually every major American Indian organization, and clear statements in dictionaries, many fans refuse to accept this simple conclusion.

Perhaps one explanation is simply “cognitive dissonance”: the psychological term applied to the mental strain which can result from trying to simultaneously harbor two competing inconsistent beliefs. To relieve the mental distress from the conflict, sufferers often change one belief–kidding themselves into disbelieving something which is obviously true, and replacing it with a belief which is clearly false.

For example, a smoker who finds himself unable to quit, but unwilling to accept the fact that his smoking may well kill or disable him, sometimes will illogically conclude that smoking isn’t hazardous. Also, families which have revered a priest their entire lives often cannot accept even overwhelming evidence that he had been a child molester.

Similarly, long time fans–who grew up with the “R*dskins,” revered its players as heroes, and invested so much time and emotional energy in the team–may find it difficult to accept that they are themselves now helping to perpetuate a racist name. Like the addicted smoker who proclaims–and may even truly believe–that smoking isn’t harmful to him, those with an overwhelming love for and investment in the team proclaim that the name isn’t harmful to Indians.

Redskins respond to latest effort against team’s name

By Mike FlorioThe team, which has remained largely (but not completely) silent in response to the persistent calls for change, has issued a statement in response to the resolution.

“The Washington Redskins hold these civil rights leaders in high regard, but we respectfully believe they are mischaracterizing decades of honor and respect toward America’s Indian heritage that our name represents for generations of Redskin fans and Native Americans alike,” the team said. “We understand these leaders hold their views deeply, but so do hundreds and hundreds of Native Americans who have written to us expressing an opposite point of view. . . .

“We believe it is important to listen to and respect all sides on this issue, and that includes also listening to and learning from Native Americans and countless Redskin fans who, for generations, believe our name represents the strength, character and pride of our Indian heritage.”

In other words, the team’s current position is that the issue falls squarely within the realm of subjects on which reasonable minds may differ. Some people reasonably find the term offensive. Others reasonably find the term not offensive. And while the team will listen to those who find the name offensive, the team won’t change the name as long as sufficient Native Americans and Redskins fans are not actually offended.

So, basically, the team won’t change the name unless and until a unanimous consensus emerges that the name is offensive. And that likely won’t happen any time soon.
Washington Redskins Response Statement

So the supporters include "hundreds and hundreds" of Natives who have nothing but a ridiculous "we feel honored" argument? I guess that outweighs the thousands and thousands of Natives who can read a dictionary and see "redskins" is a slur. And who feel offended, not honored, because of it.

Calling a redskin a "redskin"

On Facebook, Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations wrote:Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights came out against the Redsk*ns team name. The team responded with another dismissive and maddening statement. Isn't it interesting, though, that the team always uses "Native American" and "American Indian" to refer to Native folks? If the team name is an "honor" and not a slur, why not use it exclusively? That, to me, is an implicit message that they know how deeply hurtful the word is to Native peoples.Good point, and someone needs to make it to Dan Snyder or someone representing the team. "If you believe the term 'Redskins' is an honor, why don't you use it to refer to actual Indians? Let's hear you call the codetalkers, Suzan Harjo, the Oneida nation, the NCAI, et al. 'redskins.' Right now, on the record, tell them they're 'redskins' and they should be proud of it."

For anyone who still doesn't understand the concept of systemic racism, this is a great example. An institution (the Washington Redskins) is discriminating against a group (Indians). The racism isn't by an individual against an individual. It exists and persists at the societal level, not the personal level.


Below:  Some of the many examples of how sports team names and mascots trivialize and insult Indians.

No comments: