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Now this is an effective campaign

It’s hard to imagine a more crystal clear example of institutionalized racism than a racist football team owner giving his team a racist name, and then a generation later refuses to make a trivial change. Nothing big; just change the name to something a little more respectful…and apparently the right to use this slur is more important than respecting human beings.

Change the name. It’s obviously the right thing to do. Every day that the Washington football team delays is a day that their stubbornness and stupidity and bigotry becomes a more notable part of their history.

Comments

  1. ManOutOfTime says

    Would “First Americans” be such a bad name? Or just “Americans” maybe? Nice and jingoistic as well as accurate.

  2. carlie says

    Would “First Americans” be such a bad name?

    Yes, because it would still be making a group of people into a mascot.

  3. colnago80 says

    At hard as it is to be fair to Daniel Snyder, who is the asshole’s asshole, he did not name the team. Redskins was the name of the team before he was born. I suspect that the NFL commissioner is going to eventually force him to rename the team. IMHO, I think Deadskins would quite appropriate.

  4. Trickster Goddess says

    A much more appropriate name for a football team would be the Washington Pigskins. They could have a ferocious looking wild boar for a mascot.

  5. Socio-gen, something something... says

    I’m a TA for an intro women’s & gender studies class and showed this on Wednesday as part of my discussion section on Paula Gunn Allen’s Who’s Your Mother? Red Roots of White Feminism and re-examining history and its effects (what we know and how, who’s telling the story, etc.).

    I was pleasantly surprised by the response it got from my usually dead-eyed class of 80 — some applause, some cheers, etc. Of course, most of them are aware of the fight surrounding the University of North Dakota’s mascot.

    Of course, there was That Guy™ (there’s always one), who did the entire “it’s not a big deal, bigger things to worry about, it doesn’t bother me, some Indians are okay with it” song-and-dance, complete with a comparison of his grandparents’ experience as immigrant Norwegians as essentially the same as centuries of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

    colnago80:

    I suspect that the NFL commissioner is going to eventually force him to rename the team.

    Actually, no. From the Washington Post (my emphasis).

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that the league is “listening” to and is “being respectful” to those who have expressed opposition to the Washington Redskins’ nickname.

    But Goodell also said the team has “honored” Native Americans with the use of its nickname, and he cited polling results indicating that most people do not believe the name should be changed.

    He thinks use of an ethnic slur is an “honor.”

  6. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Beautiful. A thoughtful showcase of some of the diversity of Indian Country, too.

  7. arensb says

    Maybe the team could keep its name, but switch to a potato as a mascot. I could go along with that. Why should the world of sports mascots be dominated by metazoa?

  8. says

    Wait, what? Immigrant Norwegians had it hard?

    No harder than any other white people in the 19th and 20th centuries. They actually had it better in many ways, because we’re sort of the pinnacle of whiteness. We never really experienced the kind of contempt the Irish and Italians, for instance, had.

    To even try to compare the experience of Scandinavians to that of American Indians is appalling. Does he think we were somehow on the side of righteousness in the 1862 Dakota war? Norwegian leaders weren’t hanged en masse, weren’t kicked off their farms, weren’t dispossessed by swarms of foreign invaders.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Trickster Goddess @6:

    They could have a ferocious looking wild boar for a mascot.

    For Washington, a trough would be more appropriate.

  10. Socio-gen, something something... says

    PZ @ 13:

    Supposedly, they were beaten by teachers and bullied by students and their family ostracized by the town because they spoke only Norwegian when they arrived in MN as pre-teens.

    Not that I’m calling him a liar, but I struggle to understand how native Norwegian speakers would be ostracized in central MN. It’s like saying native German speakers were ostracized in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Does.not.compute.

  11. whheydt says

    After this fight is won can we move on to getting rid of “Viking(s)” as a team name? And along the way, ditch the ahistorical horned helmets.

  12. marcus says

    Rob Grigjanis @ 14 +1
    whheydt @ 16 Not to hold a grudge or anything but we will do something about the misrepresentation of the Vikings as soon as they pay for the cow they stole from my great great great geat etc… grandmother. (Oh, and they could return granny too if she’s still about.)
    Signed, a Saxon

  13. says

    whheydt:

    After this fight is won can we move on to getting rid of “Viking(s)” as a team name?

    Yes, indeed, let’s chat about the Vikings and how ruthlessly oppressed they were. I forget, where are their reservations? Wait…

  14. bugfolder says

    Perhaps the most powerful motivation will come if the USPTO rejects the “Redskins” trademark for the football team. They’ve already rejected “Redskins” for a brand of pork rinds. If the team loses its trademark, that opens the door to anyone and everyone using the team name to advertise their own products (“Great deals at the Washington Redskins Used Car Sale!” “Protect your Foreskins with Washington Redskins Prophylactics!”) The loss of licensing revenue and control will be considerable.

    The team owners may not respond to morality or justice, but I’ll bet they’ll respond to capitalism.

  15. Trebuchet says

    This needs to run multiple times during today’s game. Of course, even if they had the money the NFL wouldn’t allow it.

  16. AlanMac says

    I wonder if his position would be more amendable to change if he realized that that is what some Africans call white people.

  17. Merlin says

    Careful, marcus (@17), lest a Celt come along and talk to you about reparations as well.

    Gentle needling aside, this video is amazing. I remember trying to discuss this with a co-worker (he brought it up) and he kept trying to change the conversation into, “Why do Native Americans need special rules? They’re Americans like everyone else, and -I- didn’t oppress them…”

  18. Parse says

    I don’t think it would be trivial to change the name. After all, think of all of the fan stuff – uniforms, shirts, hats, Official Licensed Memorabilia, etc – that would become obsolete, and how much new stuff the fans would buy.
    In other words: Trivial, no. Profitable, yes.

  19. marcus says

    It is just ridiculous that we (human beings) are having this conversation at all. It’s like some place fielding a team called something like the Sarasota Slaves or the Nashville N*.
    @22 quoting idiot. “Why do Native Americans need special rules? They’re Americans like everyone else, and -I- didn’t oppress them…”
    Ummmm. You’re doing it now.

  20. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    I think the team should be called the “DCs”. As in Washington DC. I dunno what they could do for a mascot—maybe a caricature of a white guy.

    That video was great.

    And no, just the fact that the mascot has been what it is for a long time is no excuse.

  21. sapperdon says

    University of Utah used to call themselves the Redskins as well until 1972, when they dispensed with that and became the Utah Utes.

    Most importantly though, they have the explicit permission of the Ute Tribal Council to use the name Ute.

    And I don’t think it hurt their ‘brand name’ or anything to change from something racist.
    Imagine how Asian-Americans would react to “Yellowskins”

    I’ve always disagreed with the Redskins, ever since I started thinking for myself (ie, not toeing the line my parents and religious leaders established).

  22. Rey Fox says

    “Why do Native Americans need special rules? They’re Americans like everyone else, and -I- didn’t oppress them…”

    I wonder sometimes if many people just have an innate inability to think in terms of systems. Of course, empathy seems to be a foreign concept to a lot of folks too.

  23. cry4turtles says

    My first husband was Seneca. We dated in the mid 90s when the Atlanta Braves were doing well, and always on TBS. Remember the chant and chop the fans did? Well my boss was a sports fan, and owner of the bar, and the bar’s TV. I Remember my face burning in either embarrasment or rage, or both, when the chant blared loudly as my husband sat for countless hours courting me. His face would turn to stone, and he refused to comment. It was very sad and disheartning.

  24. Amphiox says

    Am not aware of any significant recent history wherein “Viking” was a derogatory in common usage for the people question….

  25. says

    I don’t think it would be trivial to change the name. After all, think of all of the fan stuff – uniforms, shirts, hats, Official Licensed Memorabilia, etc – that would become obsolete, and how much new stuff the fans would buy.
    In other words: Trivial, no. Profitable, yes.

    A disturbing thought is that racists would begin a campaign of inflating the collectability of the old stuff. They’d make it a point of pride that they show up at games wearing it, citing “true fandom” or protesting the team’s “selling out” as their motivations. It wouldn’t fool us, but I’m pretty sure they’re more interested in fooling themselves.

  26. sapperdon says

    Interviewing a bunch of moron university students is hardly members of the Ute people disagreeing with the name.

  27. says

    Now this is an effective campaign

    An impressive, professional effort with loads of emotional appeal, yes. But it won’t be shown to be “effective” until the DC team actually adopts a different mascot. And, sadly, I’ll be surprised if that happens during my lifetime.

  28. says

    sapperdon:

    Interviewing a bunch of moron university students is hardly members of the Ute people disagreeing with the name.

    Oh, so it was just a buncha moron Indian students interviewing white moron students, amirite? I mean, it didn’t highlight how the use of Utes enables blatant, disgusting displays of racism, all of which happens right in front of those moron Indians who are just wandering around, eh?

    Do you have any idea at all of how you are coming across? Or how the Indians in this thread feel when they read such a moronic comment?

  29. sapperdon says

    Whoa, hold on.

    I never said I approve of what the students were doing.

    The fact that the Ute tribal council gives permission for the use for the name, is a whole different topic than what the students do with it.

    I agree, that the students are being dumb, turning it into stereotypical tropes, and that is likely very insulting to Native Americans.

    My point solely was that the name has at least been ‘approved’ (for want of a better word) for usage for the school.

    Carlie made the statement that the Utes (implying the Native Americans) disagreed with the usage of the term and linked a video of students being morons. That has absolutely nothing to do with the Ute council allowing the school to use the name.

  30. ChasCPeterson says

    Immigrant Norwegians had it hard?

    Didn’t you watch Deadwood? Why, Swearengen called them “Squareheads”!! (And the whole family was brutally murdered by white guys pretending to be Indans.)

    After this fight is won can we move on to getting rid of “Viking(s)” as a team name?

    *Raises fist in solidarity*
    Yes! Then Celts, Spartans, Trojans, Irish, Honkies, Crackers, and Peckerwoods!

  31. carlie says

    I really don’t know if it’s a ringing endorsement to respond “yes” to a deal that amounts to “Hey, we know your people are all suffering in poverty, so we’re willing to help out, but only as long as you say it’s ok for us to mock your name and continue to use you as a stereotype. Your pride isn’t worth as much as your kids getting an education, right?”

  32. Onamission5 says

    @sapperdon #37:

    There stands a long history of marginalized groups agreeing to terms which are less than ideal in order to get privileged groups to agree to stop doing things to them which are flagrantly awful. So that is a thing to consider in this situation.

  33. marcus says

    Amphiox @ The funny thing is that “Viking” is a negative connotation. If I understand it correctly “viking” is a verb, as in “We should go viking (looting and pillaging)…”

  34. says

    Carlie:

    I really don’t know if it’s a ringing endorsement to respond “yes” to a deal that amounts to “Hey, we know your people are all suffering in poverty, so we’re willing to help out, but only as long as you say it’s ok for us to mock your name and continue to use you as a stereotype. Your pride isn’t worth as much as your kids getting an education, right?”

    Anyone who has spent time on a rez, and has even a surface understanding of the restrictions and all too often desperate poverty wouldn’t think that “yes” was an endorsement at all.

  35. Onamission5 says

    My #40 ought to read “being forced into a position where they have little choice but to agree… lest even worse thing continue” for clarity.

  36. sapperdon says

    @carlie #39

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/utes/57102617-89/tribe-tribal-utes-font.html.csp

    Seems the tribe is given fair negotiating grounds, and are given scholarships to the school to.. you know.. try to pull them out of poverty through education?

    @Onamission5 #40

    I do understand that, but from everything I have read concerning the Ute tribe and the UofU this isn’t necessarily the case.

    I am however, very open to being proven wrong, and would welcome it if there is some information I am missing on the topic.

  37. carlie says

    According to 2012-13 data, the most recent available, the U. has 171 students who identify themselves as American Indians, making them the smallest minority group on campus.

    Seems like the Admissions/Diversity offices ought to be making scholarships available to tribal students anyway, not as a coercive measure to strongarm them into letting their name be used. And would you even want to attend the local university, the only one that is feasible for you to attend, when you have to look at a caricature of your people everywhere you turn on campus?

  38. says

    According to 2012-13 data, the most recent available, the U. has 171 students who identify themselves as American Indians, making them the smallest minority group on campus.

    So…that makes the racism okay, eh?

  39. says

    #38, Chas
    Better a square head than a cocksucker, I guess.

    Vikings weren’t a people, it was a raiding party.

    My high school was Kent-Meridian, called the Royals. Our mascot was a fat little white man wearing a crown., and later just a crown as a symbol. I don’t think kings can claim to be oppressed, so it was a fine choice.

  40. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    The University of Minnesota has a lot of cool options for Indian students. Scholarships and that absolutely amazing tuition waiver.

    Weirdly, none of the applications start out with, “Do you agree to be a mascot?”

  41. carlie says

    Besides, what is the point of using the name? Teams like to have mascots. Fine. There are an awful lot of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, protists, inanimate objects, weather features, ecological niches, manmade technology, etc. and etc. in the world to choose from. There is no need to use a group of people as a fucking mascot. Just say that over and over in your head awhile: I want to use a group of people as a mascot. It’s as ugly as it sounds.

    It’s not honoring them if they tell you they don’t want you to. It’s not honoring them if you have to bribe them to let you, especially if you’re bribing them with necessities that your group took away from them in the first place. Using people as an object does not honor them. So what, then is the reason to do so? What is the reason that justifies objectifying people and reducing their entire heritage down to a cheerleading chant?

  42. sapperdon says

    @Carlie #45

    You’re right. Utah with a population of roughly 1.2% Native American, means a fair representation in the school should be close to 400 students. 171 is far below that mark, and is troublesome.

    Thank you. Seems I’ve some reconsidering to do.

  43. says

    #44, sapperdon:

    UMM has free tuition for American Indians. We don’t find it necessary to demand that they be our clowns in return. (UMM’s mascot is the cougar.)

  44. Onamission5 says

    #44 sapperdon:

    I don’t know what point you expected that link to make. What I see is some sternly worded legalese that amounts to “we agreed to this contract under a very specific set of terms and you assholes are not upholding your end of the agreement. AGAIN.”

  45. carlie says

    sapperdon – thank you for saying that. I’m a European descended Whitey McWhiterson, and grew up with my local junior high and high school both with Indian mascots, moved to another town with a professional sports team with an Indian mascot, then moved to another town where the high school ALSO has an Indian mascot, and never really thought twice about it until a few years ago, so I understand the reflexive “but I don’t see anything wrong with it” mindset. The fastest way in to understanding the problems with it that I’ve found is to dive into listening to what Indians have to say about it rather than arguments other third-party people (like me) make. The group that made the video I linked to earlier (the 1491s) have a lot of other videos that you might be interested in watching – they have a dual mission of educating others about Indian issues and promoting Indian culture.

  46. carlie says

    I would also be remiss if I didn’t say that an awful lot of my education in learning what common phrases/ideas/etc. are offensive slurs against Indians came right here on this blog, from Caine. She’s really helped make me stop and realize how harmful those stereotypes still are.

  47. sapperdon says

    Wait… the video makers were native americans? *facepalms* Okay, makes more sense to me now. Seems I just got pwned heh.

  48. sapperdon says

    The video Carlie posted in #28… I knew the original PZ posted was by Native Americans, before someone tries to call me out on that. I’ll just slink back into the shadows while I do a little more reflection given this new information.

  49. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    When I went off to college I became a pioneer. Originally, the iconography of the pioneer was a woman in a gingham dress and a prairie bonnet, e.g. a woman of the “Conquest of the West” phase. Later, this was redesigned to be a line drawing of a woman’s head and shoulders with long hair streaming behind her.

    I rather appreciate the redesign, as the “noble white people go out and “civilize” the savage West” is a really crappy meme, but pioneer as a term can be taken about 40 different ways, so picking a new one is a good idea.

  50. Al Dente says

    I really like the University of California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. It’s so rare that invertebrates are used as team mascots.

  51. Scr... Archivist says

    Carlie @49.

    Besides, what is the point of using the name?

    I always thought that most sports team names in the U.S. were chosen to suggest how dangerous the team is. Many of them are named for predatory animals, as were the teams at my high school and my college. A hundred years ago when sports became big, I suspect that some teams were named for what people thought were “dangerous people”, perhaps even “wildly dangerous people”.

    For Washington’s football team, I would have chosen “Generals” and made George Washington the mascot. Unfortunately, there is already a famous basketball team that has used that name for decades (even if they aren’t using it at the moment).

  52. says

    Carlie:

    I would also be remiss if I didn’t say that an awful lot of my education in learning what common phrases/ideas/etc. are offensive slurs against Indians came right here on this blog, from Caine.

    And The Mellow Monkey, and Kevin, just to mention two others of Indian extraction here.

  53. unclefrogy says

    this may be a little bit off topic but this “controversy” brings up an observation. When ever I hear a defense of some thing like this, I can remember back in the early 60’s similar defense, blaming the uproar on outside influences cause “our N……” think its ok or stuff along those lines. Absolutely no one defending ever asks those on the other side the offended party how they see it or considers them for a second. It is all rationalized away because reasons. The same reactive argument is very apparent in the current minimum wage issue no one is asking the people who are effected by any of this what they think. It is always “We” real people vs they as some vague abstraction interpreted in such a way so as to support our position. Otherwise why is this even a question?
    maybe some day we will really learn how to live a democracy, maybe
    uncle frogy

  54. says

    Carlie:

    What is the reason that justifies objectifying people and reducing their entire heritage down to a cheerleading chant?

    Oh, not just a cheerleading chant. A bastardized, generalized, bigoted cheerleading chant. One that perpetuates idiotic myths about indigenous peoples, dumps us all in one nasty category, glories in the dehumanization, and carries on like we’re all dead and hey, even if there are some around, why we don’t care anyway!

    People who do (and defend) this shit don’t have the slightest understanding of how perilous life is for indigenous peoples, who try to hang onto to traditions, meaningful things, and can’t even have that without non-Indians jumping at every opportunity to indulge in the worst of mockery and bigotry, with never even a thought to understand just what it is they are doing, or how it affects people. That video you linked – people paying 800 bucks for a sham ‘war bonnet’? Someone’s cleaning up, and it’s not the Indians. If only people would think about what it says to pay 800 bucks in order to parade your bigotry about. No one would answer the blackface question, because they know they couldn’t get away with that. But Indians? Yeah, we’re still fair game.

  55. Lofty says

    Maybe these clowns should become the Washington Rayguns and adopt Saint Ronnie as their mascot.

  56. says

    Taking a brief hiatus from my hiatus…
    It’s amazing, and by amazing I mean aweful, how normalized racism against Indians still is all over the world.
    At the moment I have to explain to an unbelieving 4yo that no, she can’t go as an Indian for carnival. There’s no fucking way I’m going to allow that, even though at the moment she can’t understand it and hates me for it. But I could buy the costume for cheap. Everywhere. Including the version “sexy Eskimo woman”.
    And to add insult to injury: She wanted to go as a knight. She used to fucking LOVE the knight costume and wore it often “just so”. Now some boy in kindergarten told her that it’s only for boys and she doesn’t like it anymore. What year is this again? 2014 or 1914?

  57. Gregory Greenwood says

    A professionally put together and impactful video, but I doubt it will be very effective. Racists have no capacity to see the beauty and dignity in the peoples they despise for no rational reason, and small ‘c’ conservative traditionalists will not care if the mascot is racist just so long as the tradition is preserved, because once any convention has stood for long enough it becomes a moral good unto itself to maintain it, dontcha know. Because reasons.

    It will probably be a long road before meaningful change is effected, and as Bronze Dog points out @ 31, there will be any number of idiots who will try to claim that it amounts to ‘selling out’ or allowing the much feared ‘political correctness’ (mentioned with that sneering tone bigots always use to describe treating anyone other than their in group as actual people) to ‘destroy a sporting legacy’ or – in a display of the usual spectacular lack of awareness so common to prejudiced idiots – the erosion of a piece of ‘Tru ‘Merican heritage!’

    The abominably racist ‘redskins’ team name and mascot has to go, and people of conscience will need to keep up the pressure on the NFL to make sure it happens. One way is to hit their wallets, and in that regard this video is a start – raise awareness of how bigoted the name really is, and make it clear that anyone with any shred of decency will boycott any NFL affiliated game until the Washington team is renamed.

    If enough American football fans are decent people who take up the cause, and as a result profits start to take a hit, then I think attitudes at the NFL will start to change.

    Unfortunately, that’s a big ‘if’.

  58. says

    MM
    I will
    And I will also show her this video and ask her how she would feel if some other kid somewhere else dressed up as “her” because they thought it funny. Maybe the basic appeal to “how would you feel” will soften this for her.

  59. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Howzabout the Washington “Surveyors”? See, back when George Washington was a surveyor, “surveying” was a euphemism for going out into new territory as an explorer, and claiming it for European civilization. Well, it was on a map, now, right? And it wasn’t like anyone lived there, right?

  60. says

    Adopting the Nationals team name is unlikely for Washington, given that the former Montreal Expos of the National League of baseball now play out of DC as the Nationals.

    I’m surprised no one has advocated changing the Redskins logo and mascot to something having to do with potatoes, given the common red skinned potato.

    Here in Saskatoon we have our own naming controversy. The sports teams at Bedford Road Collegiate, a high school in the Saskatoon Public School system, use the Redmen name, and a logo featuring a stylised First Nations person. Many people have argued the name needs to go, for obvious reasons.

  61. psychodigger says

    ‘But tradition!’

    This is very much like the debate centering around ‘Zwarte Piet’, the blackface sidekick of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (which Coca Cola turned into your Santa Clause in a clever marketing ploy). The debate has become more prominent over the years, but any mention of the fact that it may be a little racist usually ranges from ‘it’s just for kids’, ‘it’s only in jest’ and ‘it’s harmless’ through ‘nobody messes with our tradition’ right up to ‘why don’t you fuck off to your own country if you don’t like it’.

    Sigh.

  62. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m surprised no one has advocated changing the Redskins logo and mascot to something having to do with potatoes,

    It’s been done many times (most recently right here in #11).
    But that would be a sleazy way out, imo, because it would amount to a *wink wink* elbow-in-the ribs without dealing directly with the problem.
    Plus it would never ever happen. An NFL team named for a starchy root crop? Not nearly macho enough.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    ‘But tradition!’

    This is very much like the debate centering around ‘Zwarte Piet’, the blackface sidekick of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (which Coca Cola turned into your Santa Clause in a clever marketing ploy).

    What I think a lot of regular folks miss is that any company with a true Quality System™ looks at all SOP’s on a regular basis. With questions like, does this policy do what we want it do to? Has regulations changed to make this policy out of date? Has technology progressed to make this analysis no longer the state of the art? Is this policy racist/sexist and out of line with present standards and practices?

    Hiding behind tradition is an extremely weak argument. It can and has resulted in fines in the eight figure range for regulated industries.

    It also allows bigots/racists/sexists to keep peddling their fuckwitted ideas, like the use of the Confederate battle flag should be shown anywhere other than a Civil War cemetery, or in a parade with uniforms of that period.

  64. ChasCPeterson says

    I really like the University of California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

    Me too. (Students voted in ‘Banana Slugs’ over the administration’s preferred ‘Sea Lions’.)
    Of course, they don’t even field a football team.

  65. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I always thought that most sports team names in the U.S. were chosen to suggest how dangerous the team is. Many of them are named for predatory animals

    Is there a Washington Priests team?

  66. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m partial to pro-sports names that reflect directly on their hometown: Steelers, Packers, Oilers, 49ers, Brewers, Phillies, Islanders, Blues, Senators etc.. Of course, this gets weird when the franchise moves but retains the old name (viz. Utah Jazz [huh?], LA Lakers, LA [Trolley-]Dodgers).
    Even two of the weirdest of NFL team-names fit this bill: the New Orleans Saints (a stretch imo) and the Buffalo Bills (though if they started today I’ll bet they’d be called the Wings or the Stampede–Soldiers would be good though!). (The Browns are a special case, honoring a person.)
    Other good team-city matches include the Baltimore Orioles and (odious hated) Ravens, the Texans, Rangers, and Cowboys of Texas, Mets, Rockies, Padres, Knicks, Celtics (srsly), Pistons, 76ers, Patriots.
    Even the Suns and Thunders are appropriate enough for their geographical locale.
    Special mention should be made of the New Jersey Devils (thumbs up) and the Anaheim Ducks (thumbs down).
    (I also hate singular or uncountable names like Jazz, Heat, Wild, and Magic, but that’s another story.)

  67. ChasCPeterson says

    Disney

    right. That’s the city connection.
    (Their rink is called The Pond *eyeroll*)

  68. says

    Perhaps the most powerful motivation will come if the USPTO rejects the “Redskins” trademark for the football team.

    In the 1990s I personally examined over 250,000 trademark applications for research on for a book project I ended up abandoning.

    One thing I found is HUNDREDS of the most horribly bigoted and racist trademarks. Mostly directed at African-Americans, but some at Asians, Irish, etc.

    Stuff that makes Aunt Jemima look like nothing… (Aunt Jemima is from the same time peroid, it’s one of the ones we insist on hanging on to.)

    That experience actually radically altered my understanding of this country’s past – in part by getting rid of the evidence, we’ve whitewashed it.

    So don’t do looking to the USPTO to lead the way on this. They trail.
    I’d actually considered compiling all the racist trademarks I found, but I knew I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to write anything to go with them to relfect properly on them, tie them into then-current events, etc.

    I still think it would be worth doing if someone could do the brainwork… that experience of combing through a quarter-million TM records and finding that was the biggest single event in waking me up.

    The USPTO that allowed trademarks like “Niggerhead Tires” is not going to do a damned thing.

  69. woozy says

    Is there a Washington Priests team?

    Carmel High School was the Carmel Padres (after the local mission). At least it was in my mother’s generation.

  70. gmacs says

    Special mention should be made of the New Jersey Devils (thumbs up) and the Anaheim Ducks (thumbs down).

    Agreed. Even though my childhood hockey rink was New Hope, which more than doubled in size from revenues on that. It was a stupid movie written by people who knew nothing about ducks or hockey.

    (I also hate singular or uncountable names like Jazz, Heat, Wild, and Magic, but that’s another story.)

    Now you’re sounding like my future father-in-law. I like the name, and The Wild would be an awesome team if they could stop playing like Mites.

    On the topic at hand, a family member of mine said we need to get rid of “Vikings” if we get rid of That-DC-Team-Name (we’re mostly Norwegian American). I thought “yes, because it’s totally the Native Americans who named that team.” Sadly, this was one of my more liberal and open-minded family members.

  71. unclefrogy says

    with the news lately or finally about Chronic traumatic encephalopathy and football I can’t even watch the game any more just as bad as boxing except it starts much younger.

    They want a new name and mascot how about Bulldozer, imagine a great big dozer setting on the sidelines every once in awhile revving its engine made louder with the exhaust modification and a big burst of black smoke. Like NASCAR they could probably even get money from a heavy equipment manufacturer with logo patches and all. The possibilities are endless.

    uncle frogy

  72. Rob Grigjanis says

    gmacs @81:

    On the topic at hand, a family member of mine said we need to get rid of “Vikings”…

    I agree. “Berserkers” would be more in line with what I’ve seen of the game.

  73. says

    @psychodigger #71

    ‘Zwarte Piet’, the blackface sidekick of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (Coca Cola turned into your Santa Clause in a clever marketing ploy.

    No: http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/cocacola.asp

    However, illustrations of lavishly bearded Santas (and his predecessors), showing figures clothed in red suits and red hats with white fur trimming, held together with broad black belts, were common long before Coca-Cola’s first Sundblom-drawn Santa Claus advertisement appeared in 1931, as evidenced by these examples from 1906, 1908, and 1925, respectively:

  74. rq says

    The video was beautiful, heartbreaking and inspirational all at once.
    I hope the Washington football team takes heed.

  75. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Great ad. Hopefully a few people will wake up and realise that the offence is legitimate, but the sort of idiot who supports the team name is more likely to dismiss it as “whining”.

    *sigh*. I swear, I get more cynical by the day.

  76. quatermass says

    I don’t get it.

    A guy owns a football team. He gives that team a rather stupid name. Then a whole bunch of people (who don’t own a football team) decide it should be changed. How does that make sense?

    Here’s how the real world works: If you own it, you control it. If you don’t own it, you don’t control it. This guy is perfectly at liberty to give his team whatever kind of idiotic name he chooses, everyone else is free to campaign against it, and he in turn is free to ignore them.

    An example:

    There is a punk band called Ethnic Cleansing, and aside from the incredible name of the band, they have some truly shocking album titles. Obviously, they are deliberately aiming to offend people – but so what? Surely one of the greatest joys of freedom of speech is that it lets all the idiots in the world grandstand so we can all see who they are, point and laugh, etc. The band members of Ethnic Cleansing are clearly idiots, but any campaign launched to convince them to change their name would surely be missing the point.

    The same goes for football… this campaign strikes me as frankly bizarre. So what if people are offended? I’m offended! But as with most cases of bigotry like this, it says a lot more about the owner of the club than it does about Native Americans.

    I almost hope the guy does change the name- to something even more offensive, just to remind people whose club it actually is. If nothing else, all this is far more entertaining than the football itself.

  77. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @quartermass

    What a stupid argument. For a start, the phrase “ethnic cleansing” is not, in and of itself, offensive; though the glorification of such acts obviously would be.

    The phrase “Redskins” is an ethnic slur and is offensive in and of itself. As Daz says, a football team called the “Carolina C**ns” or somesuch would be getting the same pushback, and rightfully so.

    You state you’re opposed to the name, so I suspect you are supporting this guy’s “right” to name the team thus because of some weird fetishisation of freeze peach, but do you agree that the freedom of speech also comes with certain responsibilities? I.e. to avoid gratuitously offending a whole group of entirely blameless people for no other reason than you can?

  78. anteprepro says

    then a whole bunch of people (who don’t own a football team) decide it should be changed. How does that make sense?

    Here’s how the real world works: If you own it, you control it. If you don’t own it, you don’t control it. This guy is perfectly at liberty to give his team whatever kind of idiotic name he chooses,

    Scent of a libertarian.

    Obviously, they are deliberately aiming to offend people – but so what?

    So we shouldn’t campaign for the racist name of a team to be changed because they are intentionally racist and just trying to troll us? Funny, that’s not the defense that the people who think the name should remain are using! I hear a lot of “tradition” and a lot of “it’s not racist” but not a lot of “we did for the lulz”.

    So what if people are offended? I’m offended! But as with most cases of bigotry like this, it says a lot more about the owner of the club than it does about Native Americans.

    I almost hope the guy does change the name- to something even more offensive, just to remind people whose club it actually is.

    So wait: You are offended. You agree that it is bigotry. You disregard offense and opposition to bigotry. You think that the bigotry says a lot about the owner but don’t want people actually, you know, reacting to that. You want the owner to be even more bigoted to cause more offense and to make a statement regarding Holy, Holy Property Rights.

    Yeah, definitely betting glibertarian here.

  79. quatermass says

    @Thumper:

    On my weird fetishisation of freeze peach:

    I really don’t think I do that. You mentioned free speech coming with responsibilities, and I would certainly agree. For example, I refrain from using certain words in front of children, at work, etc, and if I didn’t, then I would fully expect to be shunned by all – and rightfully so. But I still fail to see why this guy should change the name of his football club just because you (and x number of others) don’t like it. The world simply doesn’t work like that – if this campaign is just a petition to ask an irresponsible person to behave himself are you really surprised that he told everyone where to stick it?

  80. quatermass says

    @Daz:

    Whether I approve of it or not is entirely irrelevant, since it’s not my football team.

    @anteprepro:

    I must admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what a Libertarian is (I don’t live in the USA, where I’m guessing it’s a popular thing), so I looked it up on Wikipedia (a bad start for finding anything out, I know). I didn’t look far into it, but the contents list alone was enough to convince me that whatever I am, I am not Libertarian.

  81. quatermass says

    @Daz:

    “Dodging the question” implies I have something to hide, like I’m a closet racist but don’t quite want to admit it openly. So my answer is no, obviously I wouldn’t approve. It actually was irrelevant though.

  82. quatermass says

    @Daz:

    Ah, I see where you’re going with this.

    I am not certain – why would adult human beings need protection from words?

  83. anteprepro says

    I am not certain – why would adult human beings need protection from words?

    Aaaaaand douchebaggery confirmed.

  84. anteprepro says

    Oh quartermass wouldn’t approve. They would just say that the owner has the right to do so, chuckle about how that owner is just trying to get everyone’s goat, scoff at people who get “offended” about it, dismiss people who want to get the owner to change the name, and then go off to masturbate while thinking about how Logical they are.

  85. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    A guy owns a football team. He gives that team a rather stupid name. Then a whole bunch of people (who don’t own a football team) decide it should be changed. How does that make sense?

    1) because this is the grown-up world and actions affect other people. Like, fucking duh.

    2) A guy owns a blog. He makes a post that promotes a video arguing that a racist, offensive team name should be changed and people chime in. Then an arrogant, privileged little shit waltzes in with a bunch of pedestrian arguments to the effect that no one should ever criticize what someone does with something they own. How does that make sense?

  86. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    But I still fail to see why this guy should change the name of his football club just because you (and x number of others) don’t like it. The world simply doesn’t work like that – if this campaign is just a petition to ask an irresponsible person to behave himself are you really surprised that he told everyone where to stick it?

    The world does work like that, to a significant degree, because humans are social animals and social pressures influence behavior. Not always quickly, or perfectly, or in the desired ways, but you’d pretty much have to be a Silicoid to sincerely deny the basic effect. Again, “like, fucking duh.”

  87. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    (..are you a silicoid? Because despite how fucking obnoxious you’re being, that would be kind of awesome.)

  88. says

    Oh come on people.

    Everyone knows that words don’t have anything to do with thoughts or actions. Words don’t have any influence over anything. Don’t be stupid. People are influenced and actions spring from telepathy and radiation.

    Who’s ever been harmed because of words??

    Glabaka! I just made that word up. Did it hurt? OF COURSE NOT, lol.

    Glabaka! Did you flinch?! You guys are so silly.

  89. Rey Fox says

    Here’s how the real world works: If you own it, you control it. If you don’t own it, you don’t control it. This guy is perfectly at liberty to give his team whatever kind of idiotic name he chooses, everyone else is free to campaign against it, and he in turn is free to ignore them.

    Hooray for Freedumb! So what exactly is your point here?

    I almost hope the guy does change the name- to something even more offensive, just to remind people whose club it actually is. If nothing else, all this is far more entertaining than the football itself.

    Oh. I guess your point is that you’re an asshole.

  90. sapperdon says

    @Quatermass

    You’re absolutely correct, the owner does have the right to name the team whatever he wants.

    We also have the right to object to the name.
    We also have the right to encourage others to object to the name.
    We also have the right to boycott buying things with the racist name on it.
    We also have the right to encourage others to do the same.
    We also have the right to stop watching that particular team. And encourage others to do so as well.

    So, whats the problem? The team has an objectionable name, and we are objecting. We haven’t progressed beyond that (yet), and hopefully won’t need to. Hopefully the owner will see reason and change the name. We have no delusions of control over it.

    You’re acting all in a huff over it, like we are trying to force him.

  91. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @quartermass #92

    You mentioned free speech coming with responsibilities, and I would certainly agree. For example, I refrain from using certain words in front of children, at work, etc, and if I didn’t, then I would fully expect to be shunned by all – and rightfully so.

    Good. So presumably you would expect the same social shunning of anyone who uses a racial slur in public?

    What about people who name their sporting franchises after racial slurs?

    But I still fail to see why this guy should change the name of his football club just because you (and x number of others) don’t like it.

    It’s not just because I “don’t like it”. It’s because it’s a massively offensive racial slur, the high profile and publicly accepted use of which furthers the oppression of Native Americans.

    You’re treating this like it’s some people being overly sensitive or something (whether you mean to do so or not). Despite your acknowledgement of our previous examples, I have trouble believing you would be so accepting of any team named after “N***ers” or “C**ns”. The thing you apparently fail to grasp is that “Redskins” is as offensive to Native Americans as those words are to Black people.

    Does the douchewad’s right to name their team trump the right of Native Americans not to have a racial slur associated with centuries of oppression and genocide rubbed in their face? Yes or no?

    “Dodging the question” implies I have something to hide…

    That may be true, but that’s irrelevant to the fact that dodging the question was exactly what you did. You were asked a question, and rather than answer it you deflected it with a meaningless platitude. That’s dodging the question, or at least a closely related fallacy. On a related note, why on Earth does the fact you don’t support them (or, a possible alternate reading of your statement, own them) mean you don’t get an opinion on whether or not their name is offensive?

  92. says

    quartermass may not respond to the questions or arguments being directed his way because you are using words and words don’t have any affect on the world.

    Try thinking at him or waiving your hands around or something.

  93. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Thumper @ 111

    Despite your acknowledgement of our previous examples, I have trouble believing you would be so accepting of any team named after “N***ers” or “C**ns”. The thing you apparently fail to grasp is that “Redskins” is as offensive to Native Americans as those words are to Black people.

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this, and I believe a lot of it comes down to people simply not grasping exactly how bad things are for Indians. They take the public gains the American Civil Rights movement made for granted and don’t realize that many of those improvements weren’t made for aboriginal people (and many of the other improvements were, sadly, little more than lip service).

    So try to imagine yourself back in 1967. Now imagine the New Orleans Saints are branded as the New Orleans N***ers. Quite a few white people are going to shrug that off in 1967, obviously, but even if you go and ask the 1967 Black people what they think you’re still going to run into a lot of them who shrug it off. Why? Because it’s not even the worst thing they’ve been slapped in the face with that day. Because staying alive is more important than the insult. That doesn’t make it OK. It doesn’t make it right. It just means that when you’re getting kicked in the stomach every day, it’s hard to work up much vitriol about someone spitting on you, too.

    Of American Indians and Alaskan Natives: 7.5% of newborns have a low birth rate; 13.6% of persons of all ages are in fair or poor health; 34.2% of persons under 65 years are without health insurance; infant deaths per 1,000 live births is 8.47 (non-Hispanic whites in the US have a rate of 5.3); and the poverty rate is 27%. People are dying, young and fast and horribly. When you’re fighting just to live, it can be really hard to find the time and energy to care about the insults. That shouldn’t make the insults okay, though. It should make everyone more concerned about them, because this shit is literally putting insults on top of injuries.

    So what do you say? 1967. New Orleans N***ers. Lots of people think it’s just fine. Acceptable or not?

  94. ChasCPeterson says

    Off-topic, but I’m still undercaffeinated:
    There is no point to spelling Offensive Words with asterisks. You are using the Word (it’s OK, you’re not using it in an Offensive way). You want everybody to know the Word you’re using. Everybody who reads it replaces the asterisks and mentally reads the Word you intended.
    All you’re doing is spelling it really, really wrong.

    [maybe it's done to slip past auto-spam filters? if that's why I guess there's a point. It would only require a single asterisk, though.]

  95. says

    Chas:

    maybe it’s done to slip past auto-spam filters?

    Yes, it is. Even the word sni**er won’t get through, because of a certain asshole who thought it might be a clever way to get a certain word through.

  96. says

    MM:

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this, and I believe a lot of it comes down to people simply not grasping exactly how bad things are for Indians.

    Even when this is pointed out and explained, repeatedly, the reaction tends to be a shrug, or something along the lines of “if things are that bad, why are Indians concerned with a football team name?”

    For the most part, indigenous peoples are out of the picture for most people. A lot of people still react with “there are still Indians?” or similar, then there’s the shrug to brush them and their concerns off. In a lot of ways, at least here in the States, Indians still come under the heading of enemy, a la the only good Indian is a dead Indian. People in general would much rather not think about Indians at all, which is one of the reasons any consciousness raising in this area, like changing a sports name receives so much resistance.

  97. carlie says

    The owner also doesn’t exist in a vacuum. He has to answer to the NFL, which exerts tight controls over teams in ways it deems appropriate in order to maximize the profits to the entire enterprise. If the NFL realizes that it’s getting a social black eye over this, it can, indeed, tell the owner what to do regarding the name of his team.

  98. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Inaji @ 118

    For the most part, indigenous peoples are out of the picture for most people. A lot of people still react with “there are still Indians?” or similar, then there’s the shrug to brush them and their concerns off.

    Sigh. Yeah, I know. People view it like saying you’re a Half-Elf Ranger. I keep fantasizing that if I can just word it sensibly enough I’ll get through to them.

    Re: Asterisks. Yes, it’s for the spam filter. I couldn’t remember how sensitive it is and N*s looked like I was doing a wildcard search.

  99. says

    Mellow Monkey @113:
    I think you may be right about people not thinking about how bad things are for Indians. Possibly related to that-some people act as if racism is only about the way white people treat blacks. As if no other group of people have been marginalized and oppressed.

  100. says

    Tony:

    Possibly related to that-some people act as if racism is only about the way white people treat blacks.

    I don’t think that’s it, it’s more that to most people, Indians are supposed to be something consigned to history – we’re supposed to be over, done with, nothing more to say. Along with penning people up in reservations, there seemed to be a collective dusting off of the hands, “well, that’s that!”

    Reservation life also figures into a lot of attitudes. I’ve had people tell me that if Indians would just leave the rez and integrate into ‘normal’ life, things would be better. Then I’ve had people tell me that the damn Indians don’t want anyone poking around on reservations, so why should anyone care about them. People still seem to hold a grudge that any land at all was set aside for Indians, and as they got that, they should just shut the hell up.

  101. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    …I don’t think I’ve ever seen blatant spamming like that here before!

  102. David Marjanović says

    When I went off to college I became a pioneer.

    My mind immediately leapt to the youth organization communist countries had instead of Scouts & stuff. :-]

    Maybe these clowns should become the Washington Rayguns and adopt Saint Ronnie as their mascot.

    I love this idea.

    But I could buy the costume for cheap. Everywhere. Including the version “sexy Eskimo woman”.

    …Ah, yeah. That. I don’t even know where to start with that, and it’s been a thing for easily 20 years. *headdesk*

    And to add insult to injury: She wanted to go as a knight. She used to fucking LOVE the knight costume and wore it often “just so”. Now some boy in kindergarten told her that it’s only for boys and she doesn’t like it anymore. What year is this again? 2014 or 1914?

    As I keep saying, it’s only 64, 64 After Present. *sigh*

    Well, it was on a map, now, right? And it wasn’t like anyone lived there, right?

    In some cases that was sort of true once almost everyone had died from the smallpox. *sigh*

    you can contact Dr Saibaba on any problem, he is very nice

    Do you mean this fraud who died 3 years ago?