Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The name for the game

I found it interesting the other day that right below a headline saying "Native American Groups Renew Push To Change Redskins Name" the comments poured in from hoi polloi, many of them stating that "Native Americans have no problem with the Redskins name."  Dude, it just said that Native American groups are pushing to change it? And you say none of them have a problem with the name?

Remember the scene from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" when the philosophical choice was proffered between two unpleasant outcomes?  It's got to be one or the other in this life, my friend.  Either the Native Americans have no objection, or they do.  

And I don't pretend to speak for them, but I do remember this from many training sessions at work.  It's NOT "well we've always done it this way!" that matters.  I found an interesting blog called Wry Wing Politics, which made this point last summer: 

If you are an American woman, racial minority, religious minority, or gay person, your rights are much more secure now than they were in colonial times.   Quaint little colonial customs like slavery, hanging for sodomy and Native American genocide are, thank goodness, things of the past.  For the most part, state and federal laws no longer treat American women like legal incompetents, akin to children and criminals.  States like Massachusetts no longer ban non-Christians from holding office...

You do want to avoid the trap of saying "We always did it like this."  One respondent wrote "Where were they in 1933 when the Redskins first got their name?" as if something wrong in 1933 must be allowed to remain wrong for all time. 

I am not Native American, nor a fan of the Washington NFL team, so I guess I don't have a nickel in this argument, but as someone who looks out for the rights of all, I think that we need to take a more reasonable look at the argument over the team's name.   

And one more question, since I'm so full of them:  knowing that people are hurt by something, how can you support its continuance?

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