March 30, 2014

Snyder's money-based morality

Some thoughts on the morality of Dan Snyder's Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (OAF).

Dan Snyder can't buy his way out of bigotryNow here's Dan Snyder to take "conscience laundering" to a new ridiculous height.

Even if Snyder gave up every dollar in his bank account and moved to the reservation, the name of the Washington team would still be a bigoted--and completely unnecessary--slur against Native Americans. We already have a ridiculous wealth gap in this country--are we really going to let our billionaires now buy the privilege to be racially offensive if they want to be? I hope not.
Yes, Dan Snyder’s Latest Maneuver Is a Shameless PR Stunt. But Why Not Let Him Give Away Some Money?

By Mike MaddenLet's stipulate a few things. One, Dan Snyder is not Washington City Paper's favorite billionaire. Two, his team's name is racist and needs to be changed. Three, it's entirely possible this obvious PR ploy will turn out to be complete bullshit; the letter from Snyder (printed below) doesn't specify how much money he's putting into the effort, nor does it even say whether the Original Americans Foundation will be an actual nonprofit venture. Four, it's probably Lanny Davis' idea. Five, this is some condescending nonsense that only underscores how obnoxious Snyder's position is:

For too long, the struggles of Native Americans have been ignored, unnoticed and unresolved. As a team, we have honored them through our words and on the field, but now we will honor them through our actions. We commit to the tribes that we stand together with you, to help you build a brighter future for your communities.

The new foundation, Snyder claims, is working on "over forty" projects besides the handful it's already finished, like giving coats and shoes to some tribes or helping the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska buy a backhoe. Could the Pigskins, or Snyder personally, have easily donated the full cost of a backhoe many times over without noticing it? Yes. Is the whole effort a transparent ploy to defend against criticism of the name? Certainly. But why shouldn't Snyder give some money to people while he's being obstinate? Ultimately, even if Snyder's foundation buys him some more time using the racist name before he finally realizes he could cash in on sales of merchandise with a new brand, at least 3,000 people had winter coats this year that he paid for.
Dan Snyder Thinks You're Stupid

By Tomas RiosA rising tide of decency has placed Snyder in the unfamiliar position of public accountability because--and prepare yourself for the shock of the following statement--it turns out that super-rich racist white guys can never admit to being wrong about anything ever forever. In Snyder's case, it's his quixotic quest to prove that it's OK to own a football team named the Redskins, which, according to his letter, is a totally cool slur to use around Native Americans:

"I've been encouraged by the thousands of fans across the country who support keeping the Redskins tradition alive. Most--by overwhelming majorities--find our name to be rooted in pride for our shared heritage and values."

Yes, the super-rich racist white guy has decided for us that "redskin" is a perfectly acceptable slur that Native Americans love. If the prior choice of words seems offensive, consider which words are causing you offense. Anyway, this is all quite the trick to pull off, so Snyder's belief in your stupidity has compelled him to hit you with some grade-school misdirection. Armed with his self-aggrandizing conclusion after touring 26 tribal reservations covering 20 states, Snyder would also like to draw our attention to the outcome of the United States' centuries-long campaign of genocide and dehumanization against Native Americans.

As if to demonstrate how detached he is from any sense of irony, Snyder rattles off the same statistics that Native American advocates have long cited to demonstrate how casual use of the redskin slur reflects the entrenched marginalization of Native Americans. Predictably, it took Snyder--a dim simulacrum of a thinking, feeling human--the experience of seeing it for himself to feign the concern that he has happily ignored.
Hush Money and Ransom: An Open Letter to Dan Snyder, the Idiot

By Gyasi RossYou generally don't want to have press releases and web pages dedicated to hush money…that's just dumb. Announcing that you're starting this foundation dedicated to Native people simply brings attention that you're PLAINLY trying to buy us off. It COULDA maybe worked if you had simply started doing some work within our communities on the low and tried to build some credibility. But to announce it beforehand with no coalitions being built? Now, just like any other ethnic group, we're pretty sharp even if not every one of our members is brilliant. But…c'mon Dan, we're smarter than this and smarter than you—we're not falling for the banana in the tailpipe. Dummy.And:Finally, your actions are just overall transparent—you reek of a privileged white man who has enough money to cover his tracks. I'm not going to say that you've committed actual crimes and got out of them because of your money but…it wouldn't surprise me. You're USED to being able to pick on Natives, or women or Black folks or Homosexuals. You're USED to getting away with it after you pick on us and do repugnant isht. We see that. We smell it on you every single time you talk. Dummy.Hansen: Odd gift links Omaha Tribe to owner who won't give up 'Redskins'

By Matthew HansenWhich makes the recent gift that the Omaha Tribe received half uplifting and half heartbreaking.

It’s uplifting because the tribe received a new backhoe, one that will make it easier to repair water main breaks.

And it’s heartbreaking because that gift comes from a new foundation run by Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins — the same man who steadfastly refuses to change a mascot name that some Native Americans compare to the N-word.

“He’s like the bully who beats you up and then offers you a Band-Aid afterward,” says Edouardo Zendejas, the director of UNO’s Native American Studies program and a member of the Omaha Tribe who once served as the tribe’s general counsel. “So the bully can say, ‘Look everyone! I’m helping!’ ”
Comment:  My tweets on the subject

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics Mar 24
Coats, shoes, and backhoe? What's that...$20K? Let us know when you reach $20 billion and we'll take you seriously.

Bluecorncomics ‏@bluecorncomics Mar 25
Snyder plans another 40 projects at what, $10K a pop? For 566 tribes and 5.2 million people, that's a PR budget, not a serious charity.

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics Mar 28
There's no truth to the rumor that Snyder will list OAF expenses on his 2014 taxes as a #Redskins "franchise and trademark protection fee."

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics Apr 03
Just listened to the short video of Gary Edwards, #Redskins OAF. Note he says the primary mission is to raise "awareness," NOT to spend $$$.

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics Mar 27
Dan Snyder = #Redskins OAF. That is all.

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