I didn't think much about it when Redskins star Robert Griffin III (aka RGIII, not
RGill) punted on the nickname issue:I can’t really dive into that. That’s something that’s way above my understanding and the bottom line for me at least, I’m not Native American. I’m sure I have a little bit of blood in me, as my parents have told me. I’m sure a lot of you guys in that room have some Native American blood in you as well. But we’re not at that authority to know what to do in that situation so I just leave that to those who know a little bit more about the situation.
But a columnist points out the problems with this response:
Dawsey: Quarterback RGill's Cowardly Dodge of the 'Redskins' Name
By Darrell DawseyNever mind that he seems to contradict himself about his own Native American heritage. Far more damning is this attempt to pretend as if Native American ancestry has anything at all to do with RGIII's claim that the nickname issue is "above my head."
What in the name of Viola Liuzzo is that nonsense? Since when do you need to be part of a particular ethnic group to know that racist slurs--against anyone--are wrong? How do you deem the capacity to make a basic value judgment--racist nickname, bad--as an act that's outside your wheelhouse? Why do you need any more "authority" in order for you to man up and not pretend as if this whole racist nickname thing is beyond you and doesn't do anything but make your tiny brain hurt?
(And while we're at it, to a point made by a former 'Skins player now with the Lions, it doesn't wash to suggest that Redskins' name is OK because it's "tradition." Yeah, well, so was sending black folks through service-entrance doors, Rocky McIntosh. Sometimes, tradition needs to get kicked to the curb in the name of progress.)
Comment: This is why I speak up on racism and sexism even though it's not "my" issue as a white man. I don't need to be a "spokesman" for Natives to say something--e.g., a stereotypical nickname or logo--is wrong. It's wrong because racism and stereotyping are wrong, period.
If a boy could see the racism in the movie Peter Pan
, Griffin can see it here. Like sports columnist Rick Reilly
, RGIII is probably afraid of biting the hand that feeds him. People are cowards when it comes to take a stand--no news there, unfortunately.
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