Letter: Why ‘Redskin’ is wrong
John Bowman’s defense of the term “Redskin” asks people to “read a history book” (Monitor letters, Aug. 28).
If one wanted to read books on the subject, one could find several books stating that this is a derogatory term. These books would include virtually every dictionary in print. Also, this is not a new controversy, the name has been protested by Native American groups since the 1970s.
Even if one wants to ignore the dictionaries and multiple Native American groups who consider this an offensive term, there is a deeper problem in using it. Sports teams are typically named for characteristics a person can choose or for animals that symbolize those attributes. A bruin can symbolize toughness.
The bears can’t know how their image is used, thus can’t take offense. A person can choose to be a patriot, but they can’t change the race they’re born into.
Using race as a team mascot suggests that members of that race are different from the norm. I don’t know of any team that has taken the name “average person.”
Even if “Redskin” implied good qualities, it labels people with characteristics based on an attribute they can’t change. It reinforces the preconceived stereotypes about the traits of a given race, which makes it that much harder for people to be perceived by their qualities as an individual.
JAMES K. COLE