Folks, it’s time for the Washington Redskins to change their name. In fact, it’s past that time.
The National Football League holds sway in this country as one of the most popular of our long-standing traditions. With that kind of tenure, however, comes a few issues that, as they are ignored, become bigger problems.
“Redskins” is derogatory and racist toward Native Americans. I don’t understand why there is debate on this point, but team owner Dan Snyder and a bunch of other elitists insist that the name is simply part of the tradition of the football franchise in Washington, D.C.
OK. So your football franchise has a tradition of racism. Just because you don’t think it’s a racist term or don’t intend it as a racist term doesn’t mean it isn’t one.
Here’s the thing, supporters of the use of this term: Most of you are white. In general, white people have not had to deal with racism – at least not to the level that people of other races have. What right do white people have to determine what is and isn’t racist to a non-white person?
I say “Redskins” is racist because Native Americans say it’s racist. And they’re not saying it in a “Political Correctness Police” kind of way. They’re saying it from a place of pain.
Native American – what does that phrase mean? Let’s keep it simple – it’s referring to the people who were living in this country before a big group of people decided to sail the Atlantic and make a new home here. Now, unless you pass by a reservation somewhere, you won’t see much Native American culture unless you’re looking for it.
Or, of course, unless you’re watching sports, where teams carry names like “Tigers” and “Wildcats” and, for some reason, “Redskins” and “Braves” and “Indians” – as if they’re all on the same level.
They’re not. Name your team after an animal or an inanimate object or some other group name that doesn’t have the potential to raise debate about who is and isn’t racist.
While we’re at it, “Yankees” is pretty racist, too, isn’t it? It’s certainly used as a slur around here.
It may seem like there are bigger problems in our country and on our planet right now, and there are. Still, this matters. This isn’t a sports issue. This is a human decency issue.
God put all of us here, and he made us all different. I refuse to believe that he put any group of people on Earth just so people of a different group could insult them in any way. Yet, we live in country that was founded on displacing the native population and bringing along people from other countries to do our work for us.
Think about that and tell me how it’s OK to have a football team called “Redskins.”
Justin McGill is the general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.