Monday, March 11, 2002

Hail to the ... What?

Here in the Washington, DC area, folks are getting into one of their periodic snits about the Washington Redskins. Not about their free-spending, hero-worshiping owner, or their dismal record these last few years, or their ugly, expensive, non-functional, traffic-snarling stadium.

No, that might be sensible. Might actually accomplish something useful, like better public transportation to the stadium or receivers who can hold onto the ball.

It's the name. "Redskins" is not Politically Correct. It is Disrespectful towards Native Americans. It needs to be changed to something more Sensitive.

Spare me. One of my own personal "warning signs" that turns up the sensitivity on my bullshit detector is when somebody gets mad on behalf of somebody else. The latest person getting all offended at the name is DC City Councilwoman Carol Schwartz. She's Jewish. Real affinity there. I have talked to exactly one Native American who was offended by the name. However, (1) she looks less Indian than I do (to my eyes, she looks Black Irish), and (2) she is an academic type that goes out of her way to be offended at all sorts of other non-PC things. Most Indians seem to get a kick out of it, especially when the Redskins beat the Cowboys.

I have heard (unable to verify this) that the reason that the team name was changed to "Redskins" in the first place was that their coach at the time was full-blooded Native American. Change the name to something else and you're disrespecting Native Americans, or at least the first coach of the team under that name.

When you think about it, just about all of the football team names are some kind of slur, or glorify violence, or might offend somebody, if you think about it hard enough:

SaintsReligion being used to justify violence. Remember the hoohah when the US Navy tried to call a submarine "Corpus Christi?"
PatriotsImplies that everybody else isn't.
Bills"Buffalo Bill" Cody, who was responsible more than anybody for driving the American bison to the edge of extinction in order to wipe out the Plains Indians? Talk about disrespecting Native Americans!
PanthersEndangered species, noted for stealthy attacks on unsuspecting prey smaller than it is.
JaguarsEndangered species. Insensitive to Hispanic issues.
CowboysSynonomous with "uncontrolled, armed, and violent". Also ecological insensitivity.
49ersWe can't have Native Americans but we can have the ones who ran them off their land? Also, major ecological catastrophe.
BuccaneersThe Caribbean pirates were some of the nastiest characters in human history.
TitansPagan religious figures

Hey! This is fun! Maybe this is why so many people are out there getting offended on behalf of other people.

So let's force everybody to change their names. Perhaps we can have the AFC use cute furry creatures and the NFC use flowers? The Denver Gerbils and the Dallas Daffodils?

Hmm. We may have something here. Extend "flowers" to "vegetables" and we don't have to change the name at all. Just change the mascot to a redskin potato. Anybody want to take a stab (sorry, not PC) a try at a logo? Maybe a "couch potato"?

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