December 04, 2006

R-word = n-word

Tim Giago:  R-word just as insulting as the N-wordLook up the word “redskin” in your personal dictionary and you will see that it is taken by all Indians to be an insult. Then why does the “R” word grace the lips of sports announcers and their fans and why is it printed without fear of reprisal in nearly every newspaper and magazine in America?

Why was the public allowed to watch a pig painted red and wearing an Indian ceremonial bonnet run around at the halftime of a Washington Redskins football game without comment from the fans or press? If the pig had been painted black in order to honor the many black fans of the Washington football team, and an Afro wig had been attached to its head, would there have been a reaction by the media and the fans?

The “R” word is as insulting to Native Americans as the “N” word is to African Americans and yet most Americans never question its repeated use.


Rob said...

Similarly, some Native could and probably should address the Indian schools that use the name "Redskins" with "pride."

Rob said...

Nobody except a few newspapers has tried to bury the Redskins name by not using it. And I wouldn't advocate that approach unless I thought it would work.

The media (newspapers, networks) could add a note saying the term is offensive to Natives whenever they used it. That might work outside the Washington market, but what about in the Washington market? Most likely fans would bombard media outlets with protests and they'd be forced to recant their position.

About the only thing we can do is continue to educate people about the word. And hope for a gradual shift in public opinion. It may take years to have the desired effect, but the change will last when people understand and embrace it.

Anonymous said...

As Mr. H. Lewis Smith pointed out and I quote "The N-word is often used in the African American community amongst each other and is generally not a problem when spoken by another African American." The same is for the Indians when they use the word "skins" which is a less offensive euphemism for redskin. I hear the younger generation refer to themselves or fellow Indians as "skins" quite often. I personally don't like the word, but oh well that's just me. I think I understand the need to reclaim the racist word redskin, but we would all be better off to get rid of it for good. Sometimes it's just easier to take the path of least resistance.

Anonymous said...

Our school uses "The Redskins" too. This is my personal opinion and I reeeally don't want to offend anyone: I think it's been such a long time and things have changed. No one thinks about it being a derogative term anymore. I know that to someone who is of Native American descent it probably is, but I think maybe they should understand that no one I know thinks of it that way. If there are people who use it in a mean way- that's a moral issue. Never in my life have I used it in a bad way.

And comparing it to the n-word? Not really something worthwhile. The n-word is used more often in the halls of my high school than "Redskins" which is our team name. None of the teachers do anything to stop it either.

I'm not really sure if I think it's bad or not. I'm just used to it being our team name. I don't think of it as a bad thing, but I do sincerely apologize to anyone who is offended by it.

Rob said...

I quoted several dictionaries on my Red·skin n.  Dated, Offensive, Taboo page. If you think "redskins" isn't derogatory but the dictionary says it is, whose position should we believe? I'll have to go with the dictionary's.

You can read various claims about the word in the aforementioned posting. I suggest you check it out if you haven't done so already.