Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Redskins Term Just Keeps Piling on Insult

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Redskins Term Just Keeps Piling on Insult

Article excerpt

Washington, D.C., has an endless supply of stupidity and truculence these days. Even with a government shutdown and the threat of default looming, we're in no danger of running out of bad faith and intellectual dishonesty.

One would think that even in these ideologically polarized times, there would be a tendency on the part of combatants to identify those areas where some agreement is possible and plant a flag of comity there.

Nothing brings people who would otherwise hate each other together better than cheering for the "home" team and its transplanted roster of millionaire players.

Every team has millions of fans spanning the political spectrum. These fans are united in their contempt for everything outside a very narrow set of tribal boundaries. This myopia is considered healthy and not to be politicized under any circumstance. The normal courtesies are checked at the door of the stadium for the sake of fan cohesion.

Both liberals and conservatives are proud members of the 79 percent of Americans who believe the Washington Redskins shouldn't change their name out of some misplaced sense of "political correctness."

Redskins fans are united in arguing that a nickname coined eight decades ago during the heyday of lynch mobs and a century after the infamous Trail of Tears has no racial overtones.

If anything, naming the franchise after a people who were driven close to extinction by savage acts of brutality by the federal government is a way of "honoring" the Native Americans' fierce legacy of being crushed by overwhelming odds. Sure, this makes all the sense in the world if you're a psychopath.

People who would come to blows over the symbolism of the Confederate flag in another context will join arms and walk in lockstep to defend the good name of the Washington Redskins from "haters" in the media like myself.

Of course, none of these people would ever dream of approaching a group of actual Native Americans to test the theory that "redskins" has been drained of its offensiveness by the franchise's 81 years of institutional indifference. Even diehard fans realize that addressing someone using a racial slur like redskin would be an appalling breach of etiquette. …

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