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Jun 20 2014

Things I Learn on Facebook

On Wednesday, the U.S. Trademark Office removed the Washington Redskins’ trademark on their name. Now I have no idea whether they had the legal authority to do this, that is up to the courts to decide. But here are a few things I saw immediately in comment threads on the Facebook pages of my friends who mentioned it:

1. This “political correctness” is “one of the greatest tyrannies of our age.”

Yes, the Greatest Tyranny of Our Age! Way worse than — oh I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here — tens of millions of Native Americans slaughtered in the name of manifest destiny. It’s just so unfair to white people if we can’t continue to marginalize them on top of that. JUST. SO. UNFAIR. What’s next, kicking us off our land so they can get the resources and herding us into reservations?

2. “How long will people suffer at the alter of political correctness?”

People are “suffering”! Suffering, people! Won’t someone please think of the privileged white people and their sacred right to oppress and marginalize non-white people?

3. “What else is the government going to force on us, where does this all stop. The government is out of control and all of the PC bull shit is annoying. Shit I get called all kinds of names because I am short. I really don’t fn give two shits. I don’t go start a committee and try and have short jokes banned. People are idiots anymore and have no more common. since. What about the Cleveland Browns is that a racist remark against Hispanic’s Who are the PC police anyway?”

I’m sure that read much better in its original form, scrawled in crayon on a Piggly Wiggly bag.

71 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    Just for the information of #3, the Cleveland Browns are named after their founder, Paul Brown.

  2. 2
    aziraphale

    Information? We don’t need no stinking information.

  3. 3
    marcus

    Shit I get called all kinds of names because I am short. I really don’t fn give two shits.
    There, there. It’s okay. A lot of really smart, influential are/were short (though obviously you’re not one of them). Keep trying though. Maybe you’re just ignorant, that can be cured.

  4. 4
    dingojack

    “Yes, the Greatest Tyranny of Our Age! Way worse than — oh I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here — tens of millions of Native Americans slaughtered in the name of manifest destiny. ”
    [Emphasis mine]

    Geeze Ed, are you really that old?

    :) Dingo
    ———–
    How about institutionalised sexism leading to schoolgirls getting shot in the head for daring to get an education, starvation still running rampant, malaria being allowed to kill 627000 people in 2012, massacres of civilians in various wars across the globe? And so on and so forth…

  5. 5
    Donnie

    From what I understand, the PTO cannot allow trademarks for ‘offensive’ terminology. the question, for some, is whether ‘redskin’ is an offensive slur. I did not know this, but the Washington professional football team moniker was revoked back in 1991 but was reinstated by the Courts (technically, a court).

    Of course, public opinion has majorly switched on the PC scale from 1991 to 2014. For some, this is considered a negative concept and the death of American culture.

  6. 6
    doublereed

    I hate how it’s so trendy to be “politically incorrect.”

  7. 7
    Modusoperandi

    colnago80 “Just for the information of #3, the Cleveland Browns are named after their founder, Paul Brown.”
    AND WHAT WAS HE NAMED AFTER?!! CHECKMATE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!!

  8. 8
    richardelguru

    alter of political correctness”

    Latin? Alterius? The political correctness of the other?

  9. 9
    jws1

    Those folks who chirp so much about how they hate “politcal correctness” (read: actually applying the Golden Rule in reality) don’t seem to have as much enthusiasm to refer to African-Americans as n******. You’d think that in their zeal they’d wanna take their anti-PC crusade all the way to the promised land.

  10. 10
    Alverant

    I think the first FB response meant to have “… that affects me directly.” or “… that I care about.” at the end but he forgot it.

  11. 11
    dogmeat

    I don’t know about this, it seems so silly. I mean I love being called a “redskin,” it’s an honor, really and truly. I tell my students to call me “redskin” instead of my name, and if they like, “chief.” My wife? Call her “squaw” please, because it’s an honor in that girly sort of way. Oh, and the Cleveland Indians logo? I look just like that, of course I have the full headdress, wear it every day to work, though sometimes it’s a bit cold to wear the loincloth. What was the real insult was when I wasn’t allowed to bring my tomahawk and war club on campus … jeeze, PC police!

  12. 12
    busterggi

    “What about the Cleveland Browns is that a racist remark against Hispanic’s ”

    No, its a racist remark against blacks that Obama (with his time machine) caused when he inspired the show ‘Cleveland’ spun off from ‘Family Guy’.

  13. 13
    eric

    I’m supportive of a change unless they choose another @#$%$^@@#! reference to DC as the federal capital. We’ve got Capitals and Nationals and umpteen bald eagles as mascots. Please, no more.

  14. 14
    parasiteboy

    I’m a fan of Washington’s football team*, but I have rejected the name since it became clear to me that several lines of reasoning on the matter failed once I embraced my ignorance.

    These day’s I won’t wear any Washington football clothes out, without putting a “change the name” label over the R-word. Even when I talk with people about football and I mention to them that I am a Washington fan, I will tell them that I think the name should be change whether they ask or not.

    Here is a rundown of several lines of thinking, with what I thought in italics and what changed my mind in bold. it may help the next time you run into someone who thinks the teams name is OK.

    1) The R-word did not originally start out as an offensive term
    It doesn’t matter how the word started out, it matters how it is used today. I may never have used it with any offensive intent but my significant other, who grow up in an area where Native Americans lived, has heard it used in a derogatory manner in the same way as the N-word.

    2)Washington’s football team name was given to them by a known racist, who resisted integration of professional football to the point that he was forced by possible congressional action on football’s tax exempt status. Why would a known racist give his team a racist name
    It really doesn’t matter why he gave the team the name or even if he considered it racist at the time as I said in #1 it matters how the term is used today

    3)Why would I say that I am a proud member of R-word nation if I think it’s racist and offensive
    First and foremost I am not part of the affected group (Native Americans) so me not finding the word personally offensive carries zero weight in the argument. Secondly as I pointed out in #1 people do use it in a derogatory way.

    4) A national poll found that most “Native Americans” support the R-word name
    It’s essentially a meaningless public opinion poll where people self identified as Native Americans. This is one of the things that Washinton’s football organization hangs on to as a reason for keeping the name. But even if a well constructed poll did find a majority, does that mean we should still keep the name? No. Because the R-word does not affect a specific group of Native Americans but all of them and as I pointed out in #1 it is used in a derogatory manner.

    Finally, I would like to apologize to any Native Americans who read this comment for using the R-word in the past.

    *I became a fan of the team at an early age because of an uncle who lived in the DC area. He passed away at an early age and I have continued to root for them in part because of sentimental feelings for a lost love one. That and they won 3 Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs. Time is running out on me being a fan if they don’t change their name.

  15. 15
    lldayo

    Shit I get called all kinds of names because I am short. I really don’t fn give two shits.

    I’m sure he wouldn’t mind having the team change their name to the Washington Dwarves.

  16. 16
    colnago80

    Given the conspicuous lack of success of the Washington football team on the field since Danny the dunce bought it, I think that the nickname Deadskins is highly appropriate, which is by the way the name they are known by to many in this area.

  17. 17
    ShowMetheData

    “How long will people suffer at the alter of political correctness?”

    Until it actually hurts for real rather than the privilege pain suffered by idiots being sexist/racist and someone calls them on it.

    NB: That’s altar not alter

  18. 18
    parasiteboy

    colnago80@16
    I get the deadskins joke from friends who are fans of other teams in the NFC East.

    Even if Snyder changed the name he would still be one of the worst owners in professional sports from a fans prospective.

  19. 19
    eric

    But even if a well constructed poll did find a majority, does that mean we should still keep the name? No.

    I’m not sure I’d give a heckler’s veto to any small group just on general principles. However when it comes to US history, sports teams, and native americans, a veto on team names seems more than reasonable. It’s a sports team, FFS – you’ve got the entire animal kingdom (less certain human ethnic groups) as well as numerous inventions, professions, and philosophical concepts to pick from. If you can’t come up with a locally acceptable mascot, you just aren’t trying.

  20. 20
    whheydt

    Re: #5…

    The reversal in the 1991 case was a matter standing, not merit. The court ruled that the person seeking to have the trademarks revoked waited too long after her 18th birthday to bring the action. The current case is designed to avoid that “defect”.

    As for me…with 2 Danish grandparents, once the Amerind situations get taken care of (apparently such team names and/or mascots are down to 900 nationwide from 3000), I want to see all the Viking names and imagery get the same treatment.

  21. 21
    Doug Little

    If you can’t come up with a locally acceptable mascot, you just aren’t trying.

    Phillie Phanatic?

    No there’s someone just phoning it in.

  22. 22
    tbp1

    I will confess to mixed feelings about this. While I agree that the team name is offensive and should be changed, I’m not actually terribly comfortable with the idea that trademarks should be denied on grounds as subjective as “offensiveness.”

  23. 23
    slavdude

    I’ve always thought they could keep the name, but just change the logo to an image of a sunburned white tourist wearing dark socks and sandals.

  24. 24
    Jared Ragland

    @23 Wouldn’t that be the Washington Haoles?

  25. 25
    cjcolucci

    The District of Columbia Metropolitan Area National Football League Franchise is an entertainment business that depends for its success on attracting and pleasing fans. It has a nickname that a significant and respectable group of potential fans finds offensive. (And it’s up to them, not us, whether it’s offensive. If and when the Irish complain about the Boston Celtics [and the constant mispronunciation of "Celtic"] or the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, those organizations will have to consider what to do about it, but that the Irish seem to be OK with the nicknames for now doesn’t set the bar for anyone else.) What sane business deliberately angers potential customers? If they don’t like the name of your product, you change the name of your product — or you do a “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good” campaign. There’s no great principle at stake, except that Snyder is stubborn. It’s his business, and he has a right to be stubborn and stupid if he wants, but none of this is any skin off anyone else’s nose. But everyone seems to think he has, and needs to have, an opinion.

  26. 26
    Wes Aaron

    This has been an annual fight for the Redskins franchise for as long as I can remember (this isn’t a dismissal more a statement about how unsurprising or radical this issue really is). But it used to be about the icon. I have never felt that it was a slur on Native Americans. If you accept that if a group of people use a word as a slur (that had not previously been so) and therefore the word can be banned, then this could apply to many avenues unintentionally, including the term “Atheist” or any derivative of (which I am happy to call myself Atheist).

    Yes I am a Redskins fan, but I am also from a family that has a Native American ancestry.

    As far as the owner being racist, it really depends on which one. The franchise has been around since 1910. And though some were racist not all are. I however fully agree, that if this is going to be the standard then the Vikings, KC Chiefs, (lets not forget the other sports), Braves, Indians, Blackhawks. These are just the teams in the NFL, MLB, and NHL you still haven’t gotten to colleges and all the way down to local sports. It really just looks like another smoke screen for politicians to look like their doing something.

    Now before you say that the viking references aren’t the same, please look at Norway and the fight between the decedents of this culture and their outrage at the Christian influence that was forced upon their society (in many ways by sword).

  27. 27
    Rasalhague

    It turns out that the cancellation of the registration of marks (assuming that it survives appeal) is something that will have relatively little impact (all of the screaming that I’ve seen in my own facebook feed about the “NAME HAS BEEN BANNED BY OBAMA’S THUGS!!!!” notwithstanding).

    There’s a good writeup by a trademark expert here:

    http://patentlyo.com/patent/2014/06/implications-blackhorse-football.html

  28. 28
    basementmatt

    I have to admit to some relief that this isn’t about my love of funny cat pics.

  29. 29
    citpeks

    Finally, an instance where the government has ignored a a treaty with the redskins that the whiteskins won’t tolerate.

  30. 30
    iangould

    I think they should change the name of the team to the Washington Rednecks.

    In time fans will come to love their new mascot Cletus the six-toed inbred banjo player.

  31. 31
    eric

    I’ve always thought they could keep the name, but just change the logo to an image of a sunburned white tourist wearing dark socks and sandals.

    How about just a picture of John Boehner?
    [/shudder]

    Or would that be the Washington Orangeskins?

  32. 32
    colnago80

    Re Wes Aaron @ #26

    College teams like the Stanford Indians, Florida State Seminoles, etc.

  33. 33
    Marcus Ranum

    The washington lobbyists
    The washington evolving door
    The washington weathervanes
    The washington wonks

  34. 34
    Chiroptera

    2. “How long will people suffer at the alter of political correctness?”

    lol

    And remember, the cause of this “suffering” is that other people can now sell junk with the Washington Redskins logo on it and the owners of the team and the NFL won’t get a cut. That’s some real suffering right there.

  35. 35
    Chiroptera

    cjcolucci, #25: The District of Columbia Metropolitan Area National Football League Franchise….

    Hey! Now that would be a great name for the team!

  36. 36
    parasiteboy

    Wes Aaron@26
    I’m not sure where you are getting your information from about the establishment of Washington’s football franchise, but they were established in 1932 and the racist owner that I am talking about was George Preston Marshall

    If you accept that if a group of people use a word as a slur (that had not previously been so) and therefore the word can be banned

    Nobody is saying it should be banned. That would be a violation of the 1st amendment.

    Not using a word that is currently considered a racial slur is just common human decency and you are using a slippery slope argument that is fallacious in this case.

  37. 37
    parasiteboy

    colnago80@32
    Florida State and the Seminole tribe came to an agreement for the university to use the name.

  38. 38
    democommie

    “Those folks who chirp so much about how they hate “politcal correctness” (read: actually applying the Golden Rule in reality) don’t seem to have as much enthusiasm to refer to African-Americans as n******. ”

    Especially if the African-Americans within earshot are all members of a professional football team. When they’re just with their friends at work, however….

  39. 39
    eternalstudent

    @37, @32: As I understand it, part of the FSU deal with the Seminole tribe is members of the tribe get deep discounts on tuition (might be free, not sure about that). Also the dude that rides around on the horse after touchdowns is always of Seminole descent.

  40. 40
    parasiteboy

    democommie@38
    Unfortunately there were a number of instances with African-American football players in the NFL that use the N-word. I believe that they are trying to put a stop to it altogether.

  41. 41
    parasiteboy

    eternalstudent@39
    I don’t know the specifics of the details, but it’s within the tribes rights to allow organizations to use their name. You do not have the same set up (for lack of a better phrase) when the R-word, Chief, Indian, ect. are used.

  42. 42
    dono

    “The franchise has been around since 1910.”

    Pretty neat trick considering the NFL was founded in 1921 and the Washington team was founded in 1932.

  43. 43
    Wes Aaron

    To parasiteboy

    Yes you are right I must have had a major brain fart, it was 1932 and they were the “Boston Braves” initially.

    And when I said banned, I meant banning an organization from continuing use of a name, that wasn’t originally a slur. This is not protected by the first amendment. It would only be a slippery slope argument if I was adding in non-relevant examples.

    Example would be (hypothetically); The Gay Baker. If this was a business established before the 80′s, at the time the word would have referred to a happy baker, not homosexual baker. But as people change their use of a word it can easily become a slur without intention.

    What I would also like to bring up is that this is an action not put forth by a Native Americans, but a politician. And was put forth because of Sterling’s racist remarks in the NBA. According to D Nelson Bell “We are going to make an example of the Redskins.” I am not saying it couldn’t be taken as a slur, but what are a bunch of white guys doing calling for the name change. If it was Native Americans calling for the change, it would make sense. But instead you have Native Americans saying that it really isn’t a slur or that they are OK with the name and a bunch of non-Native American politicians saying, “Oh yes it is”. Is that not absurd?… Why aren’t they including the KC Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians (which oh by the way, this is a slur, no two ways about it. Columbus didn’t want to look like a fool, when he found America instead of the East Indies so he called the natives Indians.) ? It really is one big double standard.

    I would like to add that if the 6 things about the Redskins change (it is not just the name they took the patent off of, it was nearly all of the iconic Redskins images), then so be it. I just would like to see consistency by the government forcing other sports teams to change their image as well.

    Oh and one more thing. Everyone saying the Redskins are a bunch of rednecks, well maybe you should look at the demographic of Washington DC. The majority of Redskin fans and DC residents are African American. Check your neck.

  44. 44
    matty1

    Columbus didn’t want to look like a fool, when he found America instead of the East Indies so he called the natives Indians

    Are you sure about this? I was always taught that Columbus continued to believe the islands he had found were in the East Indies until he died. He had no idea there was any risk he would be considered a fool for calling them that or their inhabitants Indians.

  45. 45
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Wes Aaron #43:

    but what are a bunch of white guys doing calling for the name change. If it was Native Americans calling for the change, it would make sense. But instead you have Native Americans saying that it really isn’t a slur or that they are OK with the name and a bunch of non-Native American politicians saying, “Oh yes it is”. Is that not absurd?

    I don’t have to be black to find the n-word offensive. I don’t have to be First Nations to find the r-word offensive. While I’m not the direct target of those words they are still offensive and do not belong on any type of branding whatsoever because I know the history of the word, I know the use of the word was intended to dehumanize, and I’m not OK with it being used.

    Why aren’t they including the KC Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians (which oh by the way, this is a slur, no two ways about it. Columbus didn’t want to look like a fool, when he found America instead of the East Indies so he called the natives Indians.) ?

    If you feel so strongly about those teams then maybe you should join a campaign to get those changed as well. Focusing on one battle at a time is a way to not be so scattershot. It also keeps the debate focused and doesn’t muddy the waters with regard to what is permissible or not. ‘Indians’ has been falling by the wayside in usage as well, except when referring to actual Indians from India. I wouldn’t mind seeing any of them go. So I fail to see what bringing those up does for the specific instance of the Washington team name.

  46. 46
    dingojack

    Throwaway – the question is one of ‘standing’, I believe.
    Do white folks have the standing to force someone else to change the name of their business because the aforementioned white folks think it’s offensive to another group of people?
    A judge might say: ‘Well, no matter how offended you feel, you don’t enjoy a right not to be offended. If there is another group that finds that this name actually degrades, denigrates or unfairly slurs them, well then let them come forward and have their case heard’.
    Dingo

  47. 47
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    I didn’t say it would be good enough for court. I’m not OK with it being used is all I was trying to get at, since Mr. Aaron thinks that white people shouldn’t be calling for the cessation of calling other people derogatory names on any level.

    This was actually started, this time, by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. So saying it was “a bunch of white guys” (rather dismissively) is factually wrong.

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/06/18/oneida-nation-taxpayers-cant-pay-to-help-redskins-profit-off-of-racial-slur/

  48. 48
    dingojack

    Throwaway – you’re not denigrating ‘a bunch of white guys’, are you? ;) I was simply paraphrasing the argument as presented.
    The problem is that these issues have to go to court because who else can decide? If I find ‘throwaway’ offensive* can I force you to change your handle? Does it take three people, five, ten, fifty, five million? At what point is there a right to be offended? Is this an example of ‘the Heckler’s Veto’? Exactly how offended to I have to be?
    If the Oneida Indian Nation finds it offensive and other Amerindian groups don’t**, what then? Are the Oneida representative of all Amerindians?
    It’s not so straight forward as you seem to think.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * No, I don’t. But let’s just say I did as a hypothetical
    ** This is not really substantiated, but let’s imagine it were true to further the hypothetical.

  49. 49
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    The Oneida are representative of themselves. The history of the term is clearly and unambiguously dehumanizing, much as the n-word. If this were a court I would take into account that they have a pretty strong case that the use of the term disparages the entirety of the group. We’re not exactly sitting on zero information here in a philosophical hypothetical, so posing it as a hypothetical is a distraction.

  50. 50
    dingojack

    Firstly, is it ‘clearly and unambiguously dehumaniizing’? How would you prove this?
    Secondly, they can represent themselves, but they can’t represent all persons, nor all Amerindians. Again when does a right to be offended kick in?
    Dingo

  51. 51
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Differentiation based on skin color alone, used to foment hatred and despising of the group during a time when there were prices on ALL of their ‘red’ skin, and they were rounded up, hunted down, torment individuals by referring to them as a collective rather than their unique name, all while the word was being used to assuage the murderers that it was their destiny as not-the-other to dominate or eliminate them. It was used to break the spirit, to torture the mind, and it encapsulates all the wrong done to them at foreign hands. There is also no such thing as a right to be offended. I think it is reasonable for them to be offended for the reasons I’ve laid out.

  52. 52
    democommie

    “Firstly, is it ‘clearly and unambiguously dehumaniizing’?”

    Try using it at a large gathering of Native Americans in the U.S. or First Nations people in Canada and get back to us after your injuries heal.

    Having said that it’s no more dehumanizing than terms such as Kike, Spic, Porch monkey, Polack, Bohunk, Wop, Kraut, Frog, Limies, Micks, Slopes, Gooks, Chinks and the hundreds of other terms for people from various countries and of differing ethnicities. None of those words is in current use as a nickname, trademark or service mark, to my knowledge.

    Is there a cricket or soccer team in Australia with “Convicts” or “Abos” as part of their name?

  53. 53
    parasiteboy

    Wes Aaron@43

    And when I said banned, I meant banning an organization from continuing use of a name, that wasn’t originally a slur. This is not protected by the first amendment.

    Nobody it banning Washington’s football team from using the R-word because it is protected by the 1st amendment. Taking away the trademarked status is not banning them from using the R-word.

    It would only be a slippery slope argument if I was adding in non-relevant examples.

    And then you use a hypothetical example that does not support your argument

    Example would be (hypothetically); The Gay Baker. If this was a business established before the 80′s, at the time the word would have referred to a happy baker, not homosexual baker. But as people change their use of a word it can easily become a slur without intention.

    People who are homosexual call themselves gay. Just look at this article on Ellen Page coming out as gay. Yes people do use the word gay to mean “less than manly” or something that they don’t like, but homosexuals also use the word to identify themselves.

    But instead you have Native Americans saying that it really isn’t a slur or that they are OK with the name

    The only evidence to support this is a poorly conducted poll that is part of my comment @14. Please go and read that and you’ll see that the poll is basically useless.

    I would like to add that if the 6 things about the Redskins change (it is not just the name they took the patent off of, it was nearly all of the iconic Redskins images), then so be it. I just would like to see consistency by the government forcing other sports teams to change their image as well.

    Again, the government is not forcing them to change anything. It all depends on who brings the lawsuit and who the lawsuit is against. The government didn’t decide to bring this case, as throwaway@47 noted it was the Onieda Indian nation.

    Just for a moment, think about how you would feel if your heritage was distilled down into a caricature of reality. I’m not just talking about images but also what your culture was really like, especially when you consider that each Native American tribe had it’s own culture.

  54. 54
    Wes Aaron

    What I find interesting is that the senator Nelson Bell who led the action says it was because of Sterling’s remarks in the NBA that they must act. Why not just say it was because you had a Native American tribe pushing for this and given the current problem in the NBA it was necessary to act. Seems like the senator is just taking advantage of the situation, not really caring for the issue. (But I could be wrong and maybe the stories took his comments out of context).

    As I stated before, if the name changes I’m not going to be heartbroken. I will still be a fan of the team, no matter what it is called or looks like after the changes. I’m also a man of integrity, so not going after all professional teams just seems to undermine or discredit the action. When they investigated steroids they didn’t pick on an individual team they went after one sport. But again that was short sighted as they didn’t go after other professional sports where steroid abuse was also just as rampant. If your going to take action, do it with consistency and include all that need be involved.

    As for the origin of the term Redskins, one merely needs to look back in our history to its beginnings to see that it was meant as an utmost respectable term. By the way it is quoted by the person who originally said it, that it is used with the utmost respect for negotiating with the natives. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it started being used as a derogatory term. But if you didn’t respect or like Native Americans, why name your franchise after them like George Marshal did? (There are hundreds of other names and types that could have been used in 1932 but he chose Boston Braves and 1937 it became the Redskins when the team moved to Washington DC.) So the way I look at it, it is not the word, so much as how it is used. So can anyone say with any determination other than George Marshal, why he chose the name? From what I am finding on the 1933 Boston Braves team there were four Native American players. (That would rule out racism against the Native Americans if he is willing to hire them.) Also it was a player Lone Star Dietz who may have been part Sioux that nicknamed the team the Redskins. (Sorry but the “slur” claim is not stacking up to the evidence.)

    Whether it is team history or actual history there is evidence that the name originated as a positive not a negative. Yes democomie your analysis of this being just a slur seems unsupported.

    To parisiteboy

    If your not gay and you use the word gay as a negative, it is considered a slur, so yes that is a correct analysis.

    There are many Redskin fans including myself that are either Native American or have a positive Native American ancestry. What is irrelevant about that? My information is not just coming from a pole. As a fan of the Redskins I have come across Native Americans expressing their like for the team and it’s name just as much if not more than those who express their dislike.

    I also don’t consider asking for consistency a bad argument.

    Hopefully my opening comment will address your statements.

  55. 55
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Wes Aaron: If the name ‘Redskins’ were proposed today, along with the stereotypical logo of the noble savage, would you be for it or against it?

  56. 56
    colnago80

    Re parasiteboy @ #18

    Danny the schmuck threatened to sue the City Paper for that article in order to put it out of business. He was laughed out of court.

  57. 57
    Kamaka

    Wes Aaron @ 54

    As for the origin of the term Redskins, one merely needs to look back in our history to its beginnings to see that it was meant as an utmost respectable term.

    Indeed, it was a term used first by Native Americans to describe themselves.

    I have heard from Native Americans that later on, it was a term used for the bounty-paid scalps taken from the heads of Native Americans. Whether that is true or not, the term has become sufficiently opprobrius to warrant it’s exclusion from polite discourse.

    That a population of people who have been the object of genocide find The Cleveland Indian’s mascot “Indian” caricature reprehensible should really come as no surprise.

    Blackhawk was a very interesting man committed to his people’s lifeways who got chased around by murderous soldiers because he refused to summarily vacate his people’s city. We can do better than insult the man by naming a hockey team (with not-his-name, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, the Engish translation being Black Sparrow Hawk) after him and represent him with a cartoon “Indian” caricature. It is an insult to the man and the Fox and Saukie peoples.

    I live in North Dakota where the Fighting Sioux team name controversy has been fermenting for some time. I have seen dispicable racist behavior over this with my own eyes, so I know from experience this “mascotting” of Native Americans is harmful to children, Frat boys and Pow-Wow attendees.

  58. 58
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Wes Aaron:

    Indeed, it was a term used first by Native Americans to describe themselves.

    Just curious, have you got a source on that? There are so many origin stories for the word it’s a take-your-pick buffet. I’d like to know how you are so sure, for future reference. But yes, you are right that the origin doesn’t matter. It’s sort of like “Well they call each other the N-word, why can’t I.” but chronologically reversed (in the case of the First Nations peoples using it amongst and towards themselves.)

  59. 59
    democommie

    “Whether it is team history or actual history there is evidence that the name originated as a positive not a negative. Yes democomie your analysis of this being just a slur seems unsupported.”

    Then you’ll be posting links to that evidence? ProTip: don’t offer shit that you haven’t got.

  60. 60
    Wes Aaron

    First of all I would like to make one correction Lone Star Deitz was the coach not a player of the “Boston Braves” and yes there are four Native American players in the roster.

    Just look up the 1933 Boston Braves football roster if you don’t believe me.

    To be fair there are a lot of allegations that George Marshall was a racist. So I cannot say for sure it wasn’t a slur to name the team that, but the problem I find is that same nagging question. Why name your franchise (your financial future) after something you hate or despise? The action doesn’t fit the claim that he was doing this to insult Native Americans, especially when you consider he lost so much money in Boston. If your heart is not in it you would quit, not continue to struggle in hopes of success.

    As far as the history of the term it goes way back and was initially used by Native Americans to distinguish themselves from other races. This is why democommie I said the evidence doesn’t support your assertion that it is always a slur. So yes the Smithsonian Indian Language Scholar Ives Goddard says there is evidence that it didn’t start out as derogatory. Check the link below if you don’t believe me or just look up his name plenty of ready info available.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2013/12/18/redskins_the_debate_over_the_washington_football_team_s_name_incorrectly.html

    I have enjoyed the conversation and challenges brought to me. I can honestly say I have said all I really care to about this topic. I am sure next year there will be another debate about the Redskins, if they retain their image. But whether it is the Redskins or the (team formerly known as the Redskins), I will still be a fan of the team, that as a young child, inspired me to love football.

  61. 61
    democommie

    “Just look up the 1933 Boston Braves football roster if you don’t believe me.”

    Team roster does not equal “history”.

    This:

    “However, a historical association between the use of “redskin” and the paying of bounties can be made. In 1863, a Winona, MN newspaper, the Daily Republican, printed among other announcements:

    “The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.” [22]

    (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redskin_(slang))

    is from wiki (I’m assuming it’s the same source you used for your “data”–we tend, here, to call that “cherry picking”*

    If you think that because Native Americans are A-OK with using the term themselves and, therefor, you’re allowed to do so with impunity, please do this. Next time you’re at RFK, when the game is over, walk a mile or two in the neighborhoods around the stadium and, whenever you see an African-American (or someone else with dark skin) say, “Hey, my NIGGAH, Wuzzup!?”.

    * Pretty much the polar opposite of the behavior of the 1st PotUS who was noted for his honesty in dealings with others.

  62. 62
    dingojack

    Demo (#52) – long on threats, short on evidence*.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * “Then you’ll be posting links to that evidence? ProTip: don’t offer shit that you haven’t got.”

  63. 63
    democommie

    @62:

    No threats that I see, there.

    If you’re referring to this:

    “Try using it at a large gathering of Native Americans in the U.S. or First Nations people in Canada and get back to us after your injuries heal.”

    You don’t have to travel all the way to the U.S.

    You can try something similar in a place near home, where YOU’RE the minority.

    This is fun reading:

    http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racism-in-aboriginal-australia

    Can you answer the question about the sports teams in Oz?

  64. 64
    parasiteboy

    Wes Aaron@54 (&@43)

    Your hypothetical situation falls apart because a homosexual would not object to or consider it a slur if a heterosexual called them gay in a descriptive way. I am highly doubtful that a Native American would consider the R-word anything other than a slur, regardless of context, if it was spoken by a non-Native American.

    Also, AFAIK there is no Native American organization who support keeping the name.

  65. 65
    parasiteboy

    Dingo and Democommie
    Off-topic and may be of interest. Patty Mills made history as the first Australian Aboriginal to be part of an NBA title when the San Antonio Spurs won last week.

  66. 66
    martinc

    democommie @ 52:

    Is there a cricket or soccer team in Australia with “Convicts” or “Abos” as part of their name?

    There’s even a gay rugby team. Actually there are several “Convicts” sports teams. “Convict” doesn’t have the opprobrium here that most Americans think it might. Saying “you were descended from convicts!” can be answered by some statistics: there were 165,000 convicts sent here, and we have had 7.5 million migrant arrivals in the post-war period alone. The percentage of our ‘bloodstock’ that was convict is probably similar to the percentage of Americans currently imprisoned.

  67. 67
    democommie

    martinc:

    I suspected that the “convicts” name might be in use for sports teams (I knew about the cachet it carries there) but how about the Adelaide or Alice Springs Abo’s?

  68. 68
    Wes Aaron

    I did say that, I have nothing more I care to say about this. Instead I would like to sum up the argument from what I have both read and seen in response.

    As I have stated in my posts this wasn’t about the first amendment, which I thought would have been obvious to all. So my statements had nothing to do with the conversational use of the word. It is about an organization using a name that in our current society is viewed as a slur by many and not by others. My question was given the current view on the word, could an atheist organization be forced to change or remove any atheist material for the same reason?

    Example: If a large group of Christians say that it is a slur upon their religion would this not also mean that they could openly attack those organizations and bully atheists organizations out of communities?

    Given the responses I got the answer is blatantly, yes. Since atheism or atheist imagery has no protection from legal action just like this sport’s organization has no protection.

    If your going to omit 100 years of history from 1760-1862 to say that the word is “always” a slur, then you have proven that the “accurate” history of the word is “irrelevant” to your argument. Also dismissing the fact that the Boston Braves owner in his second year of owning the team hired a Native American coach and four Native American players without anyone forcing him to do so, therefore, making his the first franchise in NFL history to hire Native Americans. And it is from this Native American coach that the name Redskins arises.

    I would equate this as presupposition to your argument. (Meaning that you presuppose dismissing this part of history to strengthen your argument. And by doing so you play the “straw man fallacy” when addressing my argument. It is the equivalent of ignoring, both the history of Theocracies and what is written as law in the Old Testament, to defend a Christian religion.

    As I said in the opening and when I first posted (though I admit my wording was not a precise as I would have preferred) it was never about the use of the word it was about is setting this “standard” a good thing? If your OK with it, then how can any organization other than religion ever be protected from the masses?

    I still stand by my statements that if the government is going to take action it should be against all professional teams committing this act otherwise it is easily viewed as the government picking sides which is what this whole article was about.

  69. 69
    Wes Aaron

    Kamaka I didn’t forget your question and I was finally able to find the article about the english explorers using the word in the highest respect.

    However, linguist Ives Goddard has stated, “When it first appeared as an English expression in the early 1800s, “it came in the most respectful context and at the highest level,” Goddard said in an interview. “These are white people and Indians talking together, with the white people trying to ingratiate themselves.” It was not until July 22, 1815, that “red skin” first appeared in a news story in the Missouri Gazette on talks between Midwestern Indian tribes and envoys sent by President James Madison to negotiate treaties after the War of 1812.

    I have take the time to give a link to anyone interested in what Ives Goddard wrote about this.
    http://anthropology.si.edu/goddard/redskin.pdf

  70. 70
    Wes Aaron

    To decommie and paristieboy if the above PDF which by the way also was a complete refuting of the 2003 trial that attempted to change the name over the claims you have stated. Context is everything and just because you can find information doesn’t mean its always up to date. You will find the article you mentioned about bloody scalps. FYI wikipedia is only a good start, but if you unwilling to research the info to confirm it’s authenticity, then that is your problem. Oh and I do mean this with the highest respect. (I have learned more about the accurate history of both the team and the word, to understand the argument from both sides.) I will stand by my decision that even given it’s current stigma the name the Washington Redskins has never been about disrespecting Native Americans.

  71. 71
    democommie

    @68-70:

    That’s quite a lot for someone who was done with this.

    What your argument boils down to is:

    “It’s okay to name your team whatever you want to.”

    Fine.

    Do that.

    It’s okay for the gummint to change what is “acceptable” in various places, times and situations.

    It happens a LOT.

    FWIW; what happens if the moron who owns the LA Clippers wins his court battle, retains control of the team and decides to change the name to “MY Overpaid Porchmonkeys”

    This:

    “If your going to omit 100 years of history from 1760-1862 to say that the word is “always” a slur, then you have proven that the “accurate” history of the word is “irrelevant” to your argument.”

    Really.

    Do we have any authenticated historical documents written by Native Americans that support YOUR views?
    Women didn’t get to vote in U.S. national (and most state) elections until, what, 1919?

    Black people were simultaneously property and free men (depending on their location) in the U.S. until 1864 or thereabouts.

    There were cash bounties offered for Native Americans from shortly after the European colonization of what is now the U.S. until the late 1800′s.

    There’s a long and disgraceful list of practices and policies at various levels of government that were once considered routine, customary and even divinely ordained.

    In skimming the PDF I note that it was written by non-Native Americans relying on anecdotal evidence and translations by Europeans of various Native American dialects. There is extensive footnoting and an impressive bibliography/source listing that, at a glance, contains no names that are obviously those of Native American ethnologists, linguists or anthropologists.

    I don’t see a clear refutation of the court case. My understanding, from others’ comments is that the suit was tossed on the grounds of “standing”. That’s not a refutation, it’s a legal procedural move.

    I’d be good with the team being renamed, accurately, to “The Washington NFL Former Owners of the Land on Which RFK Was Built.”. The could call them, “The Manifest Destined” for a nickname.

    I understand your feelings on this matter. Feel free to call the team whatever you like, I will not be watching them unless they’re playing a team I care about.

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