August 09, 2013

Slate and Mother Jones ban "Redskins"

This article sums up the latest Redskins developments over the last day or two:, others to ban 'Redskins' name from their pages

By Lacey JohnsonThe online magazine and two other publications have said they will no longer refer to the National Football League's Washington, D.C., football team as the "Redskins," a name Native Americans have condemned as offensive.

The Washington franchise has long declined to change its name in spite of criticism from Native Americans and others. A group of Native Americans has gone to court to void the federal trademark protections of the team's name.

"This is the last Slate article that will refer to the Washington NFL team as the Redskins," Slate editor David Plotz wrote on the magazine's website on Thursday.

He said the decision was about recognizing that "something that may seem innocent to you may be painful to others."

In response to Slate's announcement, New Republic editor Franklin Foer Tweeted on Thursday that his publication would follow suit.

The liberal magazine Mother Jones said on Friday it would also avoid using the name.

Other newspapers, websites and sports writers have taken similar stands, including The Washington City Paper, Washington online site, the Kansas City Star newspaper and football writers at the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Daily News.
Comment:  For more on the Washington Redskins, see Samoan Delegate Denounces "Redskins" and Redskins Can Afford Name Change.


dmarks said...

I've seen area papers do this, Rob. I disagree with this idea as it papers over the existing problem.

This will actually help perpetuate the use of this name, as fewer will be aware that the name is in use. Less controversy. Agree?

The newspapers should report news accurately. Just because they don't like it does not mean they should tamper with it.

Rob said...

I don't know if the ban will have a significant effect. But I doubt it'll have the effect you suggest.

Fewer readers may be aware of the name, but more will become aware that it's considered offensive. The ban sends a message that it's unacceptable to use ethnic slurs in polite society.

But I also agree that newspapers should report news accurately. I don't know if I'd impose a ban if I were an editor.

For that reason, I'll continue to use the word "Redskins" in my blog. And I'll continue to point out that Natives consider it offensive.

One alternative would be to add a disclaimer to every Redskins article saying the name is an ethnic slur. Like the name ban, that would send a clear message to the team and its fans.

dmarks said...

Now, if they kept publishing the name, and did it as R_______, that would show that the name DID exist, and that it was controversial, and the paper was treating it the same way S___ and F___ are often treated.

Oh. and it would be more accurate, too.

Your alternative seems pretty good, too.