“The name honors the heritage of the Native Americans, so don’t take it literally.”
“But it’s just a mascot, don’t be so sensitive.”
“That name is a part of the proud tradition of the NFL, so as long as there’s football, there will be the Washington R*dskins.”
Here’s another example of the majority deciding for the minority what their rights are.
The majority has decided the minority group doesn’t deserve to be heard, their opinion doesn’t matter, and the answer from the majority remains: “tough, just deal with it.”
Native Americans make up less than 1 percent of the American population. If any other racial group spoke out and said “that’s a racial slur against my people” the word would be known as racist and no one would ever say that word without expecting serious backlash. Take a look at what happened to Paula Deen if you don’t believe me.
Have you ever met a Native American? Have you ever asked a Native American what is offensive or what is a racial slur? I’m going to guess that if you disagree with me, then the answer is no. And that’s the difference between you and me.
I’ve met many, many Native Americans. And guess what? Every single one of them has told me that the Washington R*dskins is racist, it’s offensive, and it’s as derogatory as the N word.
If the R*dskins isn’t derogatory, then why have several national publications refused to print that word in their sports section? Slate, The New Republic, and Mother Jones refer to the team as “the Washington NFL team” – which is what I always said when I covered football on my radio show in Minnesota many years ago.
Even Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said that if the team ever wanted to move from Maryland back into D.C. then the name would have to change. He also refuses to say the R word when referring to the D.C. team.
The truth of the matter is, in the 1800s, the word went from being a negative term to something extremely hateful. Everyday people, journalists and politicians called for the extinction of the R*dskin race.
If you recall something called “The Trail of Tears” – where Native Americans were forced out of their homes in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee because the white settlers and the United States government wanted that land to grow crops and cotton fields?
In 1830, tens of thousands of Native Americans walked from the southern states to Oklahoma without supplies. The United States Army gave them blankets from a small pox hospital in the hopes that the entire race would die off before they reached the land designated as “Indian Country.” People, that’s the definition of genocide. (By the way, that special designated land for this minority group was long gone – taken from them again – by the time Oklahoma applied for statehood in 1907.)
Just as the N word reminds people of slavery, the R word reminds the Native Americans of a time when they were abused, mistreated, and afraid for their very lives. And yes, if you know your history, both slavery and the persecution of the Native Americans took place during the same time period.
It didn’t matter if they learned how to read or how to write or how to speak in perfect English. It didn’t matter if they dressed “appropriately” and held down businesses. It didn’t matter if they paid taxes. They were R*dskins. Their race was seen as inferior.
So the next time someone wants to honor the Native American people in the NFL, maybe the NFL should consult some tribal leaders first instead of slapping a racial slur across every helmet and jersey.
By the way – it’s not one or two Native Americans saying it’s a racist slur – there are entire tribes protesting the R name across the country. I stood proudly with them and protested in the coldest months of the Minnesota winter to make a point: if the Native Americans feel that name is racist, who are we to say it’s not?