Washington In The Red(skins)


Words have often been proven to be the most dangerous weapon perpetuated against mankind. They suppress and mould, anger and excite a plethora of emotions. Most important is the fact that words can also kill. It is said that the difference between life and death is in the power of the tongue, yet we often find that same life hanging in the balance way too often, due to the misguided usage of heinous, deplorable words. We categorize people by ethnical backgrounds, religious affiliation and gender, only to add stereotypical labels to further amass a crippling connotation of ignorance. “Nigger” comes to mind; “Spick” comes to mind; “Towel Head” comes to mind; “Wetback” comes to mind; however these things are never mentioned or fashionably displayed in public venues. They are the heathen laced epithets cowardly exchanged amongst the inferiority complexed individuals, who blame others for their downfall or demise in the privacy of their own homes or within the comfort of those who share similar views. It is safe to say that you will never see the Nebraska Niggers or the Wyoming Wetbacks, coming to a sporting venue near you. It is also safe to say, that they will not have accessories or paraphernalia made for purchase at the local arenas or online. So why do we have a team in the National Football League named the Redskins? Is it due to the fact that the Native American culture makes up only 0.09% of the American population, thus lessening the influential impact of their voiced opinion? Or is it the unwavering ego of billionaire owner Dan Snyder, who has gone to great lengths to justify the supposed legacy of his team and why the name is a keepsake. In a letter written to the Washington Redskins’ fan base, he would deliver a dissertation reliving out his childhood as a Redskin fan and detailing the histrionic origins of the franchise’s name. He would go on to claim that the Redskins name was like a “badge of honor”. I guess the real question that should arise is, a badge of honor for who? I’m not sure of Dan Snyder’s genetic code or hereditary lineage, but I do know that in order to speak for an ethnicity, you first have to belong to that ethnicity. The Oneida Indian Nation, is a part of that ethnicity group and have made it a point to campaign against the Washington Redskins organization, along with, the N.F.L., in an effort to push for a name change, as they find the term “redskin” to be both offensive and degrading. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, supports Snyder, stating that: “It would be a real mistake to think that Dan, in any way, has a lack of sensitivity regarding somebody’s feelings”. That’s a strong endorsement coming from another maverick owner who, much like Dan Snyder, thumbs his nose at those he deems as opposition to his own, personal ideologies. This support by Jerry Jones of Snyder as if he is a martyr in all this, is extremely irresponsible being that the Oneida Indian Nation’s feelings have been expressed and have also been ignored. They have been seeking contrition from an owner who could never empathize with their plight as a culture, yet continues to speak for them as if he is a part of their heritage. Is it not this same type of greedy arrogance that perpetuated the genocide of their culture in the first place? Maybe our sense of history has abandoned our recollection of the Native American plight. Perhaps Dan Snyder should read about the Pequot Massacre of the 1600’s. That would be true sensitivity training, that puts this debate into its proper perspective in depicting the difference between a logo and decimated legacy. Let us not forget, Plymouth Rock landed on them, in spite of Malcolm X’s claim. #change the name

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