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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.



Legacy Comments12

75% of the population - including many native americans - don't give a damn about this issue. ISIS, Israel/Palestine, Russia/Ukraine, the debt, the job market . . . and THIS is what you think is an important issue?!?!?


How about we just give back Washington to the "redskins" and call it done.

super idea

We have turned into a society of soft, overly emotional, crybabies on a quest to right all of the perceive wrongs in the world. Words hurt.....wa, wa, wa, wa. Well, I can see that the next thing will be if someone uses the word "Redskin" they will be sued for 'heap big wampum'. That will turn many to drink 'firewater' and then chase their neighbors with a tomahawk while screaming "you hurt my feelings Kemosabee". So I am so offended that on this forum I have been called a 'white man' and told to get over it when someone on affirmative action is given a job over me because of their skin color. I have been accused of being an extremist "tea bagger" and I don't even belong to the Tea Party and a "denier". Damn it, I want all of those words changed and the people who are throwing them around are so intolerant yet they support the removal of the name Redskins. Go figure, double standards. I've got it, let's have them rename the Redskins the "Average Persons".

If it were called the "whiteskins" and we complained, all the politically correct types would tell us to get over it. Leave it as it is! Who cares?

Well, I know one thing. The Vatican will soon show their anger over the Cardinals name being used for baseballs and those Irish folks should be very upset by the Celtics. Pilots and flight attendants are especially upset about the Jets name, they want nothing to do with a football team. As a Yankee I am very offended by the NY Yankees name and let me tell you that I heard that Chrysler is going to sue the RAMS as they find it offensive that their truck is compared to a football team. This country is on the decline when supposedly educated citizens are so soft and so weak as to be concerned by such petty baloney.

You may not feel this way, but to be white was considered to be superior. The "yellow menace", blackface, to "be free, white and twenty one". The English set out to rule over the black and brown continents. Redskins is a putdown. So if someone had called you a "whiteskin" they would actually be paying you a compliment. Do you even remotely see the difference, Cranky?

you are such a radical - you are no where near the massive supermajority on this issue

It doesn't matter what white people think of the name. If the people who are affected by the derogatory name want it changed then those are the people that count.

On one side of the coin we are telling people to celebrate diversity and the differences between people and now we are upset because the differences are being mentioned. Which one is it?????

Hard to imagine any team at any level known far and wide as "The Palefaces". Inspirational indeed! What sort of official cartoon might be it's logo?

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