Is the name Redskins racist?

We are living in the year two thousand thirteen and the general consensus of the people is one of understanding and acceptance of each other’s differences.  I am no fool, I know that there are still a number of dim-witted people out there that will continue to hate and perpetuate their hurtful and idiotic stereotypes about people that are different from them.  I just thought California would be a bastion of the unbiased and not of the bigoted blowhards that I seem to keep meeting.

enlightenment-and-the-selfJust when I thought that this age of enlightenment was shinning on the good people of Southern California, I encountered some miscreants this past Sunday night that reminded me that some folks prefer to stay in the shadowy depths of the dark rather than walk in the light.

On Sunday night I went out to a bar with a buddy to watch the NFL night game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.   First off, when I got home I immediately stripped off my clothes, marched them outside, and threw them in the garbage can because they had clearly been made out of some material that attracted insane, socially inept people.   All night long I found myself involved in conversation after conversation with the craziest and most ignorant people OC had to offer.

Each one of them seemed normal until their mouths opened and out poured a myriad of random words that formed unintelligible sentences that bubbled up out of their talking holes and spilled out into the room creating nonsensical gibberish that I foolishly listened to.   Now that I think about it, I guess I am to blame for that night’s raucous entertainment, because at any point I could have just walked away from the crazy, and gone on about my evening.  But I was so captivated by the level of crazy on display that I couldn’t drag myself away.  Lucky for me drinks are not limitless, so each psycho had about the amount of time it took me to finish a pint of Guinness to tell their tale.  Now I will tell mine.


So there we were sitting at the bar, drinking our drinks, watching the game with people all around us that were cheering for both teams.  The place seemed like it had a good vibe going.  Just then Bob Costas or one of the announcers said that he thought that the NFL needed to be more proactive about changing the name of the team from the offensive “Redskins” to, well, just about anything else that is not a racial stereotype, slur, or derogatory image of an entire group of people.

Well of course this got the natives restless.  A general murmur started, and soon that murmur turned into a gentle rumbling until that rumbling erupted with a “Yeah, they should change it” followed by a “times have changed.”  So far I’m thinking to myself, “These are some enlightened cats I’m drinking with.”

Just then from the other side of the bar a voice spoke up and said, “That’s stupid.  They shouldn’t change the name.  It’s not offensive, it’s tradition.  Besides, it’s what those people are called.”

Everyone was silent.  No one wanted to speak up and say something about this… it was my turn once again to the champion of the people.  So I say, “Wow, really?  How is it that tradition?”

Now remember, this is a real story, I didn’t make this up, this is actually what he said to me.  “C’mon man, how is that racist? Cowboys and Indians fight each other.  That’s what they do.  It’s history man.”

I just kind of stared at him the way you are probably staring at the screen right now.  So I ignored the general stupidity of what he said and focused on the tradition aspect hoping that I could steer the conversation back to something not so blatantly racist.

WitchesBurningSo I say, “Well, it had also been a tradition to own slaves, to prohibit women from voting, and burn witches at the stake. But we moved on from those traditions when we realized how insane and cruel they were.  Just because something is a tradition, doesn’t mean it needs to be continued.  It takes real courage to stand up and make a change when one realizes that a tradition is wrong”

He countered with a, “No man, that is exactly what tradition means.  To keep doing something that his been done that way for a long time IS a tradition. Besides, Its not racist.  It’s a fact, they have red skin.”

“No,” I said, “It is a fact that the word is highly offensive and is a racial slur.”

Then he resorted to the oldest play in the “I’m a raging racist asshole” playbook. “Well, I happen to know some Seminole people (great he’s from Florida, this explains everything.) and the word doesn’t bother them. “

Which is true, he might know some Native Americans who think the word is acceptable.  But as a human being, I find it offensive and reprehensible, and if even one Native American does too, then the name should be changed.  Maybe I would feel differently about it if Native Americans owned the team and they were the ones that picked the mascot, but they didn’t.  I am getting on a tangent, as I often do, so back to the story.

Then his druclev indiansnk logic led him to this perfect little nugget of information. “Well then what about the Cleveland Indians?   That team name is offensive too.  And no one complains about that shit.” He was very happy with himself since he thought he had stumped me with this new bit of information.

So I very politely explained to him that the image that the Cleveland Indians use has been under debate for some time since it is pretty offensive. But the word Indian is not a slur nor is it a nickname.  It is a term used to describe the name of a group of people the way, Irish, Catholic, or Swedish would be used.  Whereas, the term “Redskin” refers to the hue of the skin of Native Americans and was created as a slur with the intent of degrading and demoralizing Native Americans.

Well apparently my definition and the use of logic enraged him.  He started gnashing his teeth and getting all excitable.  He gruffly responded with a, “Well, they don’t go around changing team names in professional sports.”

To which I offered, “Well, they have changed a team’s name in the past. Ironically, in the very place we are talking about, the Washington Bullets changed their names to the Washington Wizards a few years back.  And last year, the New Orleans Hornets changed their name to the New Orleans Pelicans.  So it does happen.  The question isn’t could it happen, the question is why hasn’t it happened.”

Well if he wasn’t a fan of logic, he really wasn’t a fan of facts, because he just went silent.  That was when my friend tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, “Hey, this guy looks extra stabby bro.  Plus I think he is trying to pick a fight with you.  Like not just with words”

So I glanced up from my hunched over powwow with my buddy to see if he was indeed correct about his observation.  Now, I know we have all been guilty of beer goggling before, thinking a girl or guy is better looking than they are because of all the alcohol you have consumed.  Well I had been beer podium-ing this guy, which is when you argue with someone without really looking at who they are, which is super important when trying to gauge how far you should pursue certain topics.

ganz2Well this guy looked like he had  just stepped out of the 1990 movie Another 48 Hours with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.  He looked exactly like that dirt bag murderous biker guy, Ganz they were chasing.   I then looked at his friend next to him, who I can only describe as a dead ringer for the Michelin man, if the Michelin man was super buff and had a bunch of prison tattoos.  I looked back over at the guy I had been talking to and I noticed that this guy was looking at me with murderous intent.  Like in one of those old cartons where the two guys were stuck on a deserted island together with no food or water and after a few weeks when they looked at each other they saw a giant roast turkey with the other guys head on it.  Yeah, well that is how he was looking at me.

Not wanting to get stabbed, I decided to wrap up the conversation and head outside.  So with a, “Well, good luck to your team, I’m a Philly fan anyway,” I grabbed a new beer and walked outside by the fire pits to get away from by Stabby McGee and the tire man.

That was a mistake.

As soon as I said good-bye to one set of crazies, I jumped into a boat with a few new ones.   It was just like the movie Life of Pi, but instead of being trapped in a tight space with a dangerous animal, I was trapped speaking to dangerously stupid people.  So in lieu of the fresh air I had been hoping to get, what I got was a whole new fresh batch of crazy from this old ass cougar and her moronic boy toy.

But that story is for tomorrow.

About thedailyheard

Just a guy with an opinion and some time on my hands trying to find out where the sidewalk really does end.

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