FanDuel - WFBC

September 16, 2009

Native Americans Ask Supreme Court to Sack Redskins Trademark: A group of Native Americans have filed a petition for certiorari in the case Susan Harjo v. Pro-Football, Inc., asking the Supreme Court to cancel the trademark of the Washington Redskins on the grounds that it violates the Lanham Act, which bars the registration of "disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable" marks. The last round of the legal battle, which began in 1992, went to the Redskins when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs waited to long to file suit. Back in 1999, Harjo conducted an online chat on ESPN.Com where she took some unbelievable abuse from angry fans. "You pay taxes? Give me a break," said one questioner. "No, you don't. How can you come on here and lie like that."

posted by rcade to football at 12:56 PM - 113 comments

Most people still don't realize what the term "redskin" means to a Native American. Quite a shame that we still have this team name out there.

posted by curlyelk at 01:14 PM on September 16

I'm generally OK with team names like "Chiefs", "Braves", and the like, but I can totally understand the problem with "Redskins". If this goes through, I wonder what they will end up changing it to?

posted by TheQatarian at 01:43 PM on September 16

The "Washington Native Americans" has a nice ring to it.

Pshaw.

posted by mjkredliner at 01:49 PM on September 16

Most people still don't realize what the term "redskin" means to a Native American. Quite a shame that we still have this team name out there.

quoted for truth

posted by rumple at 01:49 PM on September 16

In that online transcript, Harjo does a good job of explaining why names that supposedly honor Native Americans -- such as Seminoles -- are still cause for offense. "... they are not considered honorifics today by the vast majority of Native Americans. And, even if it were the case that one team meant well by it, it still would be the job of the other side to mock the image, name, traits of their opponents. The very nature of the context makes it preferable to just make the change and move on."

posted by rcade at 01:51 PM on September 16

Attorneys for the National Football League franchise say the name is a sign of honor but are also fighting to protect millions of dollars' worth of sales of Redskins merchandise. If the team had lost in court, it could have continued to use the name on Redskins paraphernalia but would have faced a tougher time preventing merchants from infringing on its trademarks.

Aside from the whole having a team with an offensive name thing, this particular charge doesn't make much sense to me, as I would imagine they would make a lot of money off of their fans buying gear with the new name on it.

In either case, it's time for the name to go.

posted by bender at 01:57 PM on September 16

well they did a poll a few years back and only 9% of native americans found the name offensive.

I'm betting you could find 9% of peta followers who find the Dolphins name offensive.

posted by bdaddy at 02:00 PM on September 16

Didn't we have a discussion about the Redskins not too long ago?

In any case, how about the 'Washington Roundeyes' considering there are no Native Americans that play for Washington.

posted by BornIcon at 02:02 PM on September 16

well they did a poll a few years back and only 9% of native americans found the name offensive.

Cite?

I'm betting you could find 9% of peta followers who find the Dolphins name offensive.

I'm betting the moon is made of green cheese.

Really, bdaddy, we have had this discussion before, and these points were addressed. You were there for it. Do you really need a rehash?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:07 PM on September 16

well they did a poll a few years back and only 9% of native americans found the name offensive.

What percentage have to find it offensive before their feelings are worthy of consideration?

A registered trademark is a government-granted monopoly on using a term in commerce. When the law is clear that derogatory racial slurs are not acceptable as trademarks, and the fact that Redskins is a slur is beyond dispute, on what grounds should the team keep the mark?

posted by rcade at 02:09 PM on September 16

Cite?

Really, bdaddy, we have had this discussion before, and these points were addressed. You were there for it. Do you really need a rehash?

Apparently I do, because I don't remember ever participating in such a discussion here.

posted by bdaddy at 02:11 PM on September 16

I want them to change the name. It is preventing me from becoming a fan now that I am living in the area. I also want my undergrad to change their mascot, which is also troublesome, the Seminoles.

posted by bperk at 02:11 PM on September 16

What percentage have to find it offensive before their feelings are worthy of consideration?

Well I guess that was my point about the Dolphins/Peta argument. You could find that small a percentage of people (and lets be clear..that was 9% of NATIVE AMERICANS, not 9% of random people) who could find offense to just about anything.

My point about Peta was that if you polled ONLY PETA members and asked if they found using an animal name/mascot as offensive, I'm sure a small % would (considering they wore KKK gear to a Westminster dog show, it's not as inconceivable as a moon made with green cheese)

posted by bdaddy at 02:13 PM on September 16

A registered trademark is a government-granted monopoly on using a term in commerce. When the law is clear that derogatory racial slurs are not acceptable as trademarks, and the fact that Redskins is a slur is beyond dispute, on what grounds should the team keep the mark?

On the grounds that a federal judge ruled it was ok?

btw - the same judge concluded there was insufficient evidence to conclude it is an insult to American Indians, so I disagree with you that it is "beyond dispute" that it is a slur.

posted by bdaddy at 02:22 PM on September 16

I took a poll of dolphins asking them if they found the Miami Dolphins mascot offensive and an astounding 100% replied:

"Squick, squick--EEEE-EEEE-EE!"

So there's that.

As for the Washington football team, this is just another example of how they don't get it. I don't think the law specifically says that the particular race facing the derision and tone of the offense has to be in the majority of a poll for it to be found offensive, did it? I would say that most reasonable, educated people, when they know where the term "redskins" originates would find it disgusting.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:25 PM on September 16

LOL.

posted by bdaddy at 02:26 PM on September 16

I would say that most reasonable, educated people, when they know where the term "redskins" originates would find it disgusting.

Therein lies the rub, no? Did it derive from

- the perceived color of their skin
- the color of the bloody scalp
- color of warpaint
- a translation of a word the native indians used to use for themselves.

There are different arguments as to that source.

For example, Ives Goddard

posted by bdaddy at 02:31 PM on September 16

You talking to Flipper and his boys again THX?

I would say that most reasonable, educated people, when they know where the term "redskins" originates would find it disgusting

The Redskins have had that name since 1933 and after 76 years, you would think that the name would've been changed by now, especially when you consider where they're located.

posted by BornIcon at 02:32 PM on September 16

Not only the name but the shitheads wearing their chickenfeathers at the games...it all needs to go.

I was a fan when I was a kid but the older I got the less I liked it. And, man, I loved those teams when I was a kid wearing my "Hogs" and Riggo's Rangers" shirts, etc. No more. Maybe if they change the name.

posted by chris2sy at 02:42 PM on September 16

On the grounds that a federal judge ruled it was ok?

The judge did not rule that the use of "redskins" was OK. The judge ruled that the trademark board that threw out the mark did so on insufficient evidence and the plaintiffs waited too long to sue.

... I disagree with you that it is "beyond dispute" that it is a slur.

In a social setting, would you call Native Americans redskins?

posted by rcade at 02:57 PM on September 16

In a social setting, would you call Native Americans redskins?

Or would you ask a Native American if they're a Redskins fan?

posted by BornIcon at 03:23 PM on September 16

I hope they change it to the "Washington Color Blind White Guys" so I can take them to court.

I'm in no position to comment as I don't know any native American's currently. (Wish this had come up a few years ago, I could have asked Donny, the guy I worked with. He was awesome.)

I mean it's not a word I perceive as offensive, but I guess maybe to natives it's akin to what it would be to African Americans to having the team called the "Washington N******". (You know what word I mean.)

I agree with bdaddy about PETA. But only because PETA is owned and run by absolute fucking nutjobs.

posted by Drood at 03:29 PM on September 16

I disagree with you that it is "beyond dispute" that it is a slur.

If you're waiting for a court and general sentiment to declare something hurtful before we stop saying it, you're doing it wrong. God I'm getting old, but if your standard for decorum is "Anything that pisses off less than 50% of the people addressed so much that they say something", move to a bunker.

Can we drop the PETA strawman? It's the new "political correctness run amok" argument. People trying to discuss a sensitive issue? Screw that, I heard this one time PETA sued to have a baby killed because it was drinking milk from another animal!

posted by yerfatma at 03:35 PM on September 16

bdaddy cites an article containing the following -- emphasis added by me:

A poll of American Indians found that an overwhelming majority of them are not bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins.

Only 9 percent of those polled said the name of the NFL team is "offensive," while 90 percent said it's acceptable, according to the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, released Friday.

Annenberg polled 768 Indians in every state except Hawaii and Alaska from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20, 2004.

So, because 699 Indians in a poll say that they are not bothered by the name, we must disregard the objections of all others? No matter how many others there are? Here's another cite for you: a poll by Indian Country Today showing 81% disapproval of the use of native names and mascots. Who wins?

This is a good illustration of where polls are useful, and where they aren't. If well-designed, a poll can be an indicator, a sort of diagnostic. It should never be used as a determinant. Legal issues are not and should not be determined by poll results, nor should the standards governing civilized conduct and good relations between human beings. It also doesn't make any sense from a business perspective. If you wanted to open a business, would you poll your prospective customers and then choose a business name that only 9% of your customers found offensive?

Here's a good article that addresses the objections that are typically raised by those who support the continued use of native names and imagery in sports teams. If you're one of the people who raises these objections, you're sort of obliged to listen to the answers.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:53 PM on September 16

Well I guess that was my point about the Dolphins/Peta argument

Native Americans are not animals, BTW.

posted by rumple at 04:13 PM on September 16

The NFL has real problems as the Chiefs are next to be sued by native Americans.

The Chargers are being sued by a group of rehabilitated compulsive shoppers and credit card addicts, they are also suing the Bills.

Gay rights advocates along with produce farmers are suing the Packers.

The Cardinals are being sued by the Catholic Church and Peta.

A group of people with congenital glandular conditions are suing the Giants.

A ocean based terrorist organization in Somalia is suing both the Buccaneers and Raiders.

The Steelers are being sued by the Iron Workers of America.

The Cleveland Browns are being sued by Hispanics

The Cowboys are being sued by Texas ranchers, and the Texans are being sued by the state of Texas (at least until the win something).

Peta is also suing the Colts, Dolphins, Rams, Jaguars, Panthers, Seahawks, Ravens, Bengals, Lions, Bears, Falcons, Eagles, Broncos

A bunch of almost 50 year olds are suing the 49ers.

England is suing the Patriots and Norway is suing the Vikings and Greece is suing the Titans.

The Jets are being sued by Boeing, Lockheed and Airbus

posted by Atheist at 04:15 PM on September 16

Yeah, 768 is not enough of a sample to draw the conclusion that the majority of Native Americans are OK with the term redskins.

posted by curlyelk at 04:17 PM on September 16

The Hoser forgot and used the term "Redskins" in Week One's picks. Won't happen again.

And on edit: Atheist, do you have to try hard to be that clueless, or does it just come naturally?

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:19 PM on September 16

The Cleveland Browns are being sued by Hispanics

If their mascot was a caricature of a mexican do you think there might be a problem?

Your comments may be tongue in cheek, but it looks like to me like you're trying to diminish the Native American stance by drawing false comparisons.

posted by curlyelk at 04:22 PM on September 16

In a social setting, would you call Native Americans redskins?

It would depend on the thickness of their skins.

I'm 1/4 Omaha Injun, should I get my attorneys to file suit against Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha? The likeness they use for their logo is disgusting.

posted by mjkredliner at 04:25 PM on September 16

Yeah, 768 is not enough of a sample to draw the conclusion that the majority of Native Americans are OK with the term redskins.

Not even enough for many Reservation's populations. Not around here anyway. Just Red Lake, White Earth, and Leech Lake in Minnesota have around 40,000 enrolled members. That is just three reservations here.

where did they pull their sample from?

posted by chris2sy at 04:27 PM on September 16

God I'm getting old, but if your standard for decorum is "Anything that pisses off less than 50% of the people addressed so much that they say something", move to a bunker.

OK. So where do you stop? What's your measure for determining whether something is important enough that it needs to be addressed? 1 person offended is enough for you to want to change the name of the hometeam? 50? 1000?

So, because 699 Indians in a poll say that they are not bothered by the name, we must disregard the objections of all others?

768 is not enough of a sample to draw the conclusion

surely I don't need to explain the concept of polling. They randomly interviewed 700+ Native Americans across the US and the result was 90% of them were not offended. There is a margin of error in any polling, of course (unless you believe they happen to grab the wrong 700 people?)

Here's a good article

404 error

Native Americans are not animals, BTW.

Oh, for f**k's sake.

posted by bdaddy at 04:30 PM on September 16

On a related note:

Porpoises have announced their solidarity with the dolphins. In a statement read today in front of the Miami-Dade courthouse, a porpoise was quoted as saying,"ChikaEE-chikachikaEE-EEE!"

Just change the mascot names, FFS. Who is really being hurt? Somebody in charge of selling some merchandise? Don't have a racially offensive mascot you dumb F'er and you don't have to spend the money to change all the gear. It will get changed someday, mark my words. Just do the right thing, instead of suing your fanbase when they are financially down. You'll create some better PR than you have going right now.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:35 PM on September 16

In a social setting, would you call Native Americans redskins?

In a social setting, would you call Nordish people Vikings? :-)

Nobody is calling anyone "redskins". The TEAM NAME is redskins.

posted by bdaddy at 04:42 PM on September 16

What's your measure for determining whether something is important enough that it needs to be addressed?

I feel pretty comfortable that if we're talking about a team that plays a sport watched by millions of people, the team name should be fairly bland. And regardless of viewership, the team name should be something that any person would be ok with wearing on their chest.

posted by yerfatma at 04:43 PM on September 16

I feel pretty comfortable that if we're talking about a team that plays a sport watched by millions of people, the team name should be fairly bland.

So what's bland? So what if, tomorrow, 1000 Minnesotans with Nordic heritage say that the Vikings name is offensive. It suggests a history of raping and pillaging and they don't want it associated with their past.

posted by bdaddy at 04:50 PM on September 16

Not to rile you or anything bdaddy, but what's the big deal? Just change the name. Are the team mascots so precious that we can't just change them if they piss people off? I don't think there is anything sacred about any team's name, Yankees included. I guess we all have a different perspective.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:52 PM on September 16

I'm not riled...in fact I have no stake in the matter at all, being non-Native American AND non-Redskin fan.

But based on your thinking, should we take "Will and Grace" off the air because certain Christen groups are against it? There's nothing sacred about the show, so why not change it to avoid pissing people off? My point is...where does it stop? It's a very slippery slope.

I mean we're asking to change the name of the team on the presumption that the term "redskins" is offensive because it implies some sordid past of trading scalps in to bounty hunters...never mind that some professional linguists (like the one I linked to), actually show that the name came from no such sordid past. I mean the whole fact that these small portion of offended people may very well be offended based on false understanding of their own past, is so sad it's almost funny.

We're far too concerned about being politically correct. Heck, I can't even make a comment about the Dolphins without someone inferring that I'm comparing Native Americans to animals. Or criticize the president without being considered racist. Or be against a supreme court justice's nomination without having the hispanic community rail against me. Where's that bunker yerfatma was talking about, as I think I want to take up residence.

posted by bdaddy at 05:13 PM on September 16

Please do.

posted by bperk at 05:17 PM on September 16

surely I don't need to explain the concept of polling

No. I already did the math. The sample should have been closer to 2000 to have significant results. My comment wasn't an off handed stab in the dark.

posted by curlyelk at 05:18 PM on September 16

We're far too concerned about being politically correct.

I don't think one person can decide this on a case-by-case basis. What if I say something tomorrow that you find offensive?

Or criticize the president without being considered racist. Or be against a supreme court justice's nomination without having the hispanic community rail against me.

I think we're talking about two different things. I didn't see those threads here.

posted by yerfatma at 05:29 PM on September 16

So what if, tomorrow, 1000 Minnesotans with Nordic heritage say that the Vikings name is offensive.

I can guarantee that you'd have trouble finding 1 Minnesotan that was so self-important as to think that a team name should be changed on *their* account.

Also, you're going to increasingly ridiculous lengths to defend a racial slur in popular usage. wtf?

posted by rocketman at 05:30 PM on September 16

Please do.

Yea...I mean we don't want people with opposing viewpoints speaking their mind, do we? Then we might actually have to make real counter-arguments, instead of snide, ass-hat remarks with no substance.

No. I already did the math. The sample should have been closer to 2000 to have significant results.

Gallop has been using 1000 sample size groups to show public opinion for years. IIRC they say the margin of error is somewhere in the line of 3-4 % with that sample size. And that's in regards to the entire population, not a subset.

posted by bdaddy at 05:30 PM on September 16

I think we're talking about two different things. I didn't see those threads here.

Just in how it relates to racial sensitivity in this nation, which I believe is very on-topic. But you're right, it does risk throwing things very Off-topic, so withdrawn :-)

posted by bdaddy at 05:33 PM on September 16

you're going to increasingly ridiculous lengths to defend a racial slur in popular usage. wtf?

I don't know what's "ridiculous lengths" about posting in a forum? But I believe I've stated that I don't necessarily believe it to be a racial slur and why I feel that way, so might that be why I'm defending not automatically yanking it down? I wouldn't be on here defending the n word on the side of some helmet. I don't believe them to be even remotely similar.

posted by bdaddy at 05:36 PM on September 16

We're far too concerned about being politically correct.

So then you don't mind if I say wop, kike, wetback, jungle bunny, etc, etc.

never mind that some professional linguists (like the one I linked to), actually show that the name came from no such sordid past

I am always amused at the lengths people will go to to justify their racism. You won't accept what the Native Americans believe and feel about this term, but you will believe the arcane interpretation of the word by a caucasian linguist. That you will interpret our past for us is about as racist as it gets.

I don't pretend to speak for any of the nations, but of my Cherokee friends and family which number in the hundreds, I can say that the names and mascots of the washington redskins, cleveland indians, and atlanta braves are highly offensive to us. that they still exist just proves to us how un-civilized America really is.

posted by irunfromclones at 05:40 PM on September 16

I don't necessarily believe it to be a racial slur ... I don't believe them to be even remotely similar.

Wow. Fucking unbelievable.

posted by irunfromclones at 05:43 PM on September 16

I'm 1/4 Omaha Injun, should I get my attorneys to file suit against Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha? The likeness they use for their logo is disgusting.

Yes. Yes, maybe you should. And if you choose not to, then don't get in the way of people who do. If you're not part of the solution, etc etc ..... either way, if you find that logo disgusting and choose to do nothing about it, then you also lose the right to complain about people who make different choices. Same would go for the Redskins issue.

posted by rumple at 05:48 PM on September 16

You won't accept what the Native Americans believe and feel about this term

No, I certainly will accept what they believe and feel about this term. As I referred to earlier, what I had understood is that 90% believed and felt that there was nothing offensive about the redskins. Now if that poll is outdated, prejudiced, etc...and in actuality 30%, 40%, 70% felt that it was offensive, then by all means i would have a different opinion.

Wow. Fucking unbelievable.

I guess it is...since I certainly do not equate the *n* word to be even remotely similar to the word redskin. That's why I'm abbreviating one of those words..it's too offensive to even type in a forum.

posted by bdaddy at 05:51 PM on September 16

I cannot believe that we are still having this discussion. Quickly, some random points though to feel like I'm in the conversation (although, at this point, I clearly feel defeated):

  • while teaching a third-year university course covering this topic (sociology of sport), I actually had a student who, no shit, believed that the term "redskin" was referring to the football. Yeah, no shit. Dispute the origin or the intention of the term all you want. It's racist. Period.
  • I will repeat: the Washington Bullets changed their name to Wizards (partly) because of the "violent connotation" of the word bullet. No shit. We seem to have been able to move past that name change. So, to all who still argue to keep the name (arguing effectively that "it's just a name"), then you should have no problem flipping that logic to accept a new name. Why are we fighting so hard "for" this name?
  • In close, I always ask anyone, on either side of this or any argument about social injustice, how do you want history to remember you and your actions? When your grandkids ask you why you celebrated racist imagery, what will your answer be?
  • posted by Spitztengle at 05:54 PM on September 16

    I guess it is...since I certainly do not equate the *n* word to be even remotely similar to the word redskin.

    Then I'm sure you won't mind if I consider you to be a hopeless racist.

    posted by irunfromclones at 05:56 PM on September 16

    Why are we fighting so hard "for" this name?

    I could give a crap less if they keep it or change it. I'm not fighting for the name, just adding debate as to why I personally don't see what the deal is.

    the Washington Bullets changed their name to Wizards (partly) because of the "violent connotation" of the word bullet

    Perfect example, which has nothing to do with race. If this forum was around when this change happened, I would have been on here saying "what's offensive about that?" and "where does it stop?".

    posted by bdaddy at 05:59 PM on September 16

    I guess it is...since I certainly do not equate the *n* word to be even remotely similar to the word redskin. That's why I'm abbreviating one of those words..it's too offensive to even type in a forum.

    And from where did you learn the degree of offensiveness of the "n" word? Linguists? Or, you know, actual "n" people? Maybe in the fifties, the n-word was ok. Maybe 50 years form now the r-word will always be written "r*". If you don't agree, well, why not make an error on the side of decency? Would you want to have been that guy in 1959 saying "I don't think that the n-word is offensive" ? Why risk being that guy in 2009?

    posted by rumple at 05:59 PM on September 16

    I guess it is...since I certainly do not equate the *n* word to be even remotely similar to the word redskin. That's why I'm abbreviating one of those words..it's too offensive to even type in a forum.

    bdaddy, this is not entirely your own fault. Race relations in America in particular has historically been dominated largely by a binary black-white understanding of race. This also really highlights why this issue is so important today. One of the main effects of the racist imagery of the Native American mascot has been to cast them as a people of the past, not a living, thriving, active culture. Effectively, the "native" is dead. That's what these symbols are saying ... and fuels the belief that deafens the ears that cries of injustice fall on.

    posted by Spitztengle at 06:01 PM on September 16

    Fixing lil_brown_bat's link.

    The R******s don't just have an insensitive mascot name, but they've demonstrated total contempt for their fans this year. I propose the name be changed to the "Washington Managed-By-Asshats."

    posted by Joey Michaels at 06:01 PM on September 16

    wfrazerjr - do you really think I was in any way serious - it was a silly joke - I don't expect you to think its funny but if you didn't get that it was just silly stuff then who is clueless?

    posted by Atheist at 06:02 PM on September 16

    Then I'm sure you won't mind if I consider you to be a hopeless racist.

    No, you're certainly entitled to feel whatever you want. But if 90% of native americans do not feel that word is offensive, then might they not find me racist? (since all I've ever done is agree with them that I didn't find the word offensive?)

    posted by bdaddy at 06:04 PM on September 16

    1 person offended is enough for you to want to change the name of the hometeam?

    The Redskins are free to keep their name if the suit wins. They just lose the monopoly granted to them by the federal government to profit off that name.

    posted by rcade at 06:07 PM on September 16

    FWIW I would not only change the name from Redskins to make Native Americans happy but I would give them the stadium as it sits on land that was stolen from them in the first place. As a matter of fact lets all just give them back the United States. Even Native American is offensive as they were here before there was an America so how can they be native Americans? They are just the natives.

    posted by Atheist at 06:12 PM on September 16

    My wife grew up in Pekin, Ill., where the high school mascot was the Chinks. A Google image search will show some of their fine merchandise. The mascot was changed in the early '80s to the Dragons .

    From what I've been told, for many years a local store that sells high school athletic gear had a secret room that still carried Chinks merchandise. You had to know to ask for it.

    posted by rcade at 06:16 PM on September 16

    There is a good commentary on the Sports Illustrated poll found here (PDF). I believe this is the problematic poll which is muddying the waters. The authors cite many other polls which reach far more nuanced and, indeed, contrary conclusions.

    posted by rumple at 06:17 PM on September 16

    /Grabs bdaddy and Atheist by their arms and leads them to friendly neighborhood bar close to bdaddy's bunker, where we might have a few laughs poking fun at ourselves/

    posted by mjkredliner at 06:20 PM on September 16

    wfrazerjr - do you really think I was in any way serious - it was a silly joke - I don't expect you to think its funny but if you didn't get that it was just silly stuff then who is clueless?

    And then:

    FWIW I would not only change the name from Redskins to make Native Americans happy but I would give them the stadium as it sits on land that was stolen from them in the first place. As a matter of fact lets all just give them back the United States. Even Native American is offensive as they were here before there was an America so how can they be native Americans? They are just the natives.

    I'm getting a clearer picture now -- you completely suck at humour.

    posted by wfrazerjr at 06:42 PM on September 16

    or you have no sense of it.

    posted by Atheist at 06:50 PM on September 16

    bdaddy:

    404 error

    My bad. If you look at the URL, the error is obvious, but it's too late for me to edit the comment. Joey Michaels already posted a fixed link; here's another. Now are you going to read it?

    and in other comments, bdaddy:

    Yea...I mean we don't want people with opposing viewpoints speaking their mind, do we? Then we might actually have to make real counter-arguments, instead of snide, ass-hat remarks with no substance.

    Wow, bperk handed you that one on a platter, huh? A chance to play the victim, just what you were angling for. People have been pointing out the flaws in your reasoning; not liking that, you spoke of "tak[ing] up residence" in a "bunker" in jest, but also somewhat like a pouty child threatening to take his bat and ball and go home. And now you get to pretend that you were the aggrieved party all along.

    I don't get it. Apparently it's not good enough for you if a Native American like Suzan Harjo, and many others, say they feel that the Washington team's name is racist; you flat-out deny what they're saying. I understand the slippery slope argument; I also understand that it does not apply here, and furthermore, that the slippery slope argument is often fallaciously applied by those who want to derail a popular movement toward changing something that is widely, but not universally, considered to be odious. The ridiculous crap about PETA and the Miami Dolphins is an obvious case of this. I don't think many people here are going to be fooled by this.

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:02 PM on September 16

    I think some of what is lost in this discussion is not whether or not people find something offensive, per se; it's that it is insulting and offensive. Sure, there's always someone who will be offended by almost everything, some people are just sensitive. No, I don't think we should pander to them. The term in question here, however, is more than offensive; it is and has been used traditionally as a derogatory term and an insult. The word was developed with intent to denigrate a particular group. Whether or not you believe a majority of that group is offended by the term is inconsequential. Knowing that the word was intended to marginalize them is much more determinative.

    p.s. As I've noted in similar threads, I went to Miami University when the mascot was the Redskins. The Miami tribe approved of the name as long as they were not characatured in any way. The school, regardless of that approval, decided that because the name was derogatory and outdated, it should be changed. It wasn't because of offense, it was because they realized what it meant.

    posted by tahoemoj at 07:11 PM on September 16

    Native Americans are not animals, BTW.

    Oh, for f**k's sake.

    Maybe you are genuinely baffled why the PETA analogy is not a good one.

    Native Americans (human beings labelled as "redskins") protest against usage "Redskin"

    is to

    PETA (human beings labelled as "activists") protest against usage "Dolphin."

    Asymmetrical analogy, y/n?

    posted by rumple at 07:22 PM on September 16

    PETA did actually try to get the Green Bay Packers to change their name back in 2000, since "Packers" has a correlation to meat-packing. Their alternate suggestions included "Green Bay Six-Packers" (which while somewhat accurate would have gone over about as well as a fart in church with Mothers Against Drunk Driving) or the "Green Bay Pickers" (which would have had me in a mad dash to be the first person to copyright the foam "We're #1" finger with a nose on the end of it).

    I have nothing more to say about the "Redskins" issue, so I'll leave that to those out there who think they know best. But I note the PETA story since they actually have done something like this, though not in the direction most people's examples would indicate.

    posted by TheQatarian at 08:18 PM on September 16

    Not to derail, but is it true that in some parts of the USA (NE?) the word "Canuck" is slightly/mildly derogatory term for Canadians? I mean, I know it is a nickname for Canadians but never heard of any negative overtones until recently. I heard that, and thought there might be a cross-border nuance along the lines of "Yankee" being not a term of neutral endearment everywhere.

    Also, interesting story about PETA / Packers. I think PETA has a genius forgetting publicity, frankly. Though they ride the line of ridicule they do get people talking about their issue.

    posted by rumple at 08:28 PM on September 16

    But based on your thinking, should we take "Will and Grace" off the air because certain Christen groups are against it?

    I don't watch me much TV, but I think that show 'aint on the air.

    Citing a linguists study of a speech given and translated 197 years ago as being the source for natives calling themselves "redskins" hardly seems conclusive to me. Given that the interpretation was conducted by a white man who may or may not have held racial prejudices against natives at the time.

    We all apply our own sense of right and wrong in degrees. To me, the Washington team's mascot is quite wrong. To have a team called the "Indians" is wrong but to a lesser degree. But it's not up to me.

    posted by THX-1138 at 08:40 PM on September 16

    There are probably a dozen solutions to the name issue that require a minimal amount of adjustment for the Washington fans.

    Corporate: The Washington Red Bulls
    Horror: The Washington Redrums
    Synergyistic: The Washington Red Sox (or) The Washington Reds
    Federal Intelligence: The Washington Redacted
    Plain Old Federal: The Washington Red Tapes
    Topical: The Washington In The Reds
    Tropical Sunburn: The Washington Red And Damaged Skins
    Classic Schoolyard Athletics: The Washington Skins (hopefully, somebody could convince KC to become the Kansas City Shirts)
    Internet: The Washington Reddits
    Religious: The Washington Foreskins

    I think you'll agree that the last name in particular suggests an especially colorful mascot.

    posted by Joey Michaels at 08:50 PM on September 16

    Hey, I wouldn't personally find the name "Spics" offensive, because I'm not one. I really don't see how that makes the name any less offensive, or more importantly - seriously ignorant and in bad taste.

    And while this argument gets, once again, muddled in oceans of minutae about "how many people it takes to make something OFFICIALLY offensive (as if such a state exists)", or "you can find someone offended about anything. Ice cream offends people somewhere", and completely lose sight of the fact that you have an absolute embarrassment of a team name out there. It has always been an ignorant, stupid name - it's just that most people didn't realize it. It seems some still don't.

    Yet, somehow the world still grinds on...

    posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:17 PM on September 16

    People have been pointing out the flaws in your reasoning

    Actually, most haven't. MOST people have been regurgitating the same thing to me: that the word "redskins" is offensive and I am a racist for not recognizing it as such or being pig headed by not agreeing that it is.

    I don't find any of that compelling arguments. A few have attempted to make a case (rumple and spitztengle, for example made pretty thought provoking points), but even they haven't really addressed my real question.

    You want to make a compelling argument to me? Explain to me how I should feel the word is offensive if the majority of Native American's don't feel it's offensive. If you can convince me of that, then you've made a compelling argument pointing out the flaws in my reasoning. Telling me I'm acting like a spoiled child is not really making a compelling argument.

    Wow, bperk handed you that one on a platter, huh? A chance to play the victim, just what you were angling for.

    How would you know what I'm angling for? And yes, I was just waiting for someone to insult me so I could jump on that. Wonder why I didn't do the same when irunfromclones called me a racist? (maybe because he was at least attempting to argue a point, not just passing an offhanded asshole comment).

    posted by bdaddy at 09:42 PM on September 16

    In a social setting, would you call Nordish people Vikings? :-) Nobody is calling anyone "redskins".

    You're dodging the question. If you do not feel the word "redskins" is offensive, would you call a Native American a redskin?

    posted by rcade at 09:56 PM on September 16

    I don't like seeing people dress as "Indians" for a football game. I don't like seeing people do the "tomahawk chop" and "imitate" Indian people. When I watch the 1991 world series replays it really bugs me to see all the dumb people in Atlanta doing that chop stuff and mocking Indian people (glad the Twins won). Do most people think the toothy-big-nosed-smiling "Chief Wahoo" Cleveland Indians logo is a good depiction of Indians? Probably not. The name of the team is where those things all come from. Its not separate.

    I just don't see how it is a good thing to name a team after a race of people's skin color, even if that is where it comes from (which it seems like that is what you are arguing). I wouldn't support going to a game in blackface, why should we accept this type of fandom and usage of a race for a team name.

    It won't help people on the reservations to change the name, but it doesn't honor them either to use their race as a stereotype, caricature, or punchline. Maybe I can't convince bdaddy of any of that, and so be it. I just have a real hard time understanding his support of it (or it seems his opposition to any change really rather than supporting it).

    I also went to school at the University of North Dakota where this debate or argument takes place on a local basis.

    posted by chris2sy at 10:09 PM on September 16

    Just want to chime is with this...

    I've always been on bdaddy's side in this fight...in that, I'm not convinced that the r-word was as big a slur as some people let on. Then I read this post. Damn it rumple, thanks for opening my eyes...

    posted by MeatSaber at 10:21 PM on September 16

    bdaddy: You want to make a compelling argument to me? Explain to me how I should feel the word is offensive if the majority of Native American's don't feel it's offensive.

    rumple posted this link that debunks the Sports Illustrated poll.

    In essence, that article significantly challenges the SI poll that suggests that 'the majority of Native Americans don't feel it's offensive" to the extent that I think its impossible to use the SI poll as evidence that the majority of Native Americans truly don't find it offensive.

    In light of this, your statement that a majority definitively don't find the name offensive cannot be regarded as definitive fact. To whit, an opinion based on questionable evidence is, in itself, questionable.

    In other words, if the SI poll is the basis of your belief and the SI poll is questionable, you can't definitively argue that the majority of the Native Americans don't feel it's offensive. At best, the SI poll coupled with rumple's linked article suggests that "the majority of Native Americans may or may not feel it is offensive."

    So, in essence, I would argue that if the majority of Native Americans may in fact feel it is offensive - since we can't definitively say that they don't based on the current evidence at hand - you would do better to err on the side of caution in regards to use of the word.

    ---

    To make another argument, let's assume rumple's article is 100% wrong and that only a small percentage of Native Americans found the R-word offensively racist.

    Were you to enter into a business negotiation with a Native American in your field, would you be willing to call him by that word and risk that he might be one of the small percentage of Native Americans that did find the word offensively racist? If you used it and she or he got angry with you, do you believe that saying "dude, chill out, 90% of your R-word brothers and sisters aren't bothered by that word" would make the problem better or worse?

    Heck, do you think you'd have any better success assuaging their anger by explaining that you read something on the Internet that suggests that Redskin isn't really based on anything racist and that their understanding of the word is flawed?

    Of course not. You, being a sensible person and a prudent businessman, would avoid using the R-word in a business setting with a Native American vendor or client because you know it could potentially cause offense and damage the business deal. That isn't being PC - that's being shrewd and customer/vendor friendly.

    ---

    On the Internet, you never know who you might be talking to. It could be a Native American - perhaps even one of the (maybe) small percentage that finds the word offensive.

    Knowing this, I propose that if you wouldn't use another word that could potentially be interpreted as deeply offensive to a group of your fellow citizens, you should avoid using the R-word for the exact same reasons. There are people of every ethnicity who aren't offended by the racist labels attached to their ethnicities - and there are people who are offended by those same labels.

    Avoiding calling somebody something that you know insults them - even if they are a little confused - isn't a PC thing. Its part of rational, civil discourse.

    You've demonstrated that you are a rational person interested in civil discourse. To this end, I would suggest that, even if you don't personally believe the word is offensive, that you should avoid using the word in order to avoid deeply offending even a (maybe) small percentage of Native Americans.

    Anyhow, those are my three arguments and I believe they are compelling.

    posted by Joey Michaels at 10:46 PM on September 16

    I agree...JM. That is a compelling argument.

    You're dodging the question. If you do not feel the word "redskins" is offensive, would you call a Native American a redskin?

    No, I wasn't. Having a team name of "redskins" is not the same as me calling someone a "redskin" and directing it to them (which was my point about the Vikings).

    Now, I've had Native American semi-friends in the past (I used to do some work on a reservation). I would never had any cause to call them redskins, or direct that to them, but I wouldn't have thought twice about using the term in their presence, if that's what you're asking. So for example, I have cajun friends...and I've used the word coonass in front of them...but I don't really go up to them and say "hey, coonass!"

    posted by bdaddy at 11:01 PM on September 16

    Anyways...I'll leave you guys to it (not sure there will be much left to argue since I was the only one arguing against apparantly :-).

    Not sure I've changed my mind, but there were a certainly few posts that are certainly worth mulling over some more. As for some of those other posts, well......

    posted by bdaddy at 11:11 PM on September 16

    My wife called me coonass tonight and I gave her the dirtiest look I've probably ever given her.

    The pains of being part Cajun.

    posted by igottheblues at 11:32 PM on September 16

    We may not agree on this point, bdaddy, but I think we can at least agree that the Washington owners are kinda douchebags for suing their own fans. ;D

    Ah! There we go! The Washington Douchebags! Not offensive to anyone!

    posted by Joey Michaels at 12:42 AM on September 17

    I prefer TMQ's "Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons"...

    posted by MeatSaber at 01:15 AM on September 17

    Explain to me how I should feel the word is offensive if the majority of Native American's don't feel it's offensive.

    And you base this on a poll taken some years ago with what cross section of Native Americans? Did it ever occur to you that maybe out of conditioning they gave an expected answer? Native Americans don't have a lot of confidence in what the white man says, which given our history, shouldn't be too difficult even for you to understand.

    The nations keep tribal and reservation data very confidential- most do not even allow scholars access any more. Certainly Native Americans keep a lot of their true feelings to themselves. I can't say that given this reluctance that you could ever get an accurate polling on this subject.

    A certain percentage of Native Americans probably don't care, because they know that nothing they say or do will change the white man's perspective of the Indian. They are still on reservations. They are still considered "wards" of the US government. While all other racist and demeaning images have been wiped away, the ones for Native Americans remain.

    You ask for compelling arguements. I am pleased and proud to say that many of my fellow spofiers have already given you ample complelling arguements with an elequence seldom found in any forum. And if that is not enough, then you are just another unega asgaya content to deny the life and dignity and heritage of the nations.

    posted by irunfromclones at 01:20 AM on September 17

    The thing that bothers me the most is that in our great country it has become a court case to offend someone with a word. Get over it already, life has many more challenges that desearve our attention.

    posted by ezpickns at 07:54 AM on September 17

    The thing that bothers is me is you used such an obvious name for such an obvious troll.

    posted by yerfatma at 08:20 AM on September 17

    I can't imagine any name or depiction of black people, Latinos, etc. that I would find acceptable as a mascot. Awesome African Americans? Uhh, no. Minority groups should not be mascots, period. Even if the name itself is not offensive (i.e. Seminoles) the depictions and the opposing team shirts and the cheers inevitably are.

    Yea...I mean we don't want people with opposing viewpoints speaking their mind, do we? Then we might actually have to make real counter-arguments, instead of snide, ass-hat remarks with no substance.

    There is no point in a substantive argument with someone who calls criticisms of racism political correctness run amok. You could at least try to consider what it would be like being a minority. When Tiger Woods made his "spaz" comment and was criticized for it, I thought it was a learning opportunity for me as well. I hadn't realized it was offensive, but I am more than willing to consider that other people might find it so. I don't need a poll to indicate that a majority of disabled people find it offensive. I didn't spend any time searching for linguists who might disagree.

    posted by bperk at 11:08 AM on September 17

    bdaddy:

    I don't find any of that compelling arguments. A few have attempted to make a case (rumple and spitztengle, for example made pretty thought provoking points), but even they haven't really addressed my real question.

    You want to make a compelling argument to me? Explain to me how I should feel the word is offensive if the majority of Native American's don't feel it's offensive. If you can convince me of that, then you've made a compelling argument pointing out the flaws in my reasoning. Telling me I'm acting like a spoiled child is not really making a compelling argument.

    I'll take a slightly different angle on this than Joey Michaels and irunfromclones have. I don't think anyone is trying to tell you how you should feel. I think people are trying to convince you that some of your assumptions of how others feel are in error. The word "Redskin" doesn't carry an emotional charge for you -- it may very well not offend you to hear it or see it used; therefore, to you it is not offensive. Others feel differently and have legitimate reasons for feeling so. They have provided considerable history, personal and otherwise, of the term being used in a harmful and pejorative way. So, no -- I'm not trying to get you to feel offended by the term. I'm trying to get you to understand why others are, and to respect and defer to that.

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:23 AM on September 17

    I wouldn't personally find the name "Spics" offensive, because I'm not one

    Well, I'm Puerto Rican and not a spic either but I find that term to be grossly offensive.

    Nobody is calling anyone "redskins". The TEAM NAME is redskins

    But what does the name "Redskins" represent? Figure that out and you have your answer.

    posted by BornIcon at 11:53 AM on September 17

    Arguing against the use of the term "r**skins" as a team mascot? So easy a caveman could do it.

    posted by THX-1138 at 01:43 PM on September 17

    Please, make that "Person of Cave" willya

    posted by rumple at 01:46 PM on September 17

    Please, make that "Person of Cave" willya

    We prefer "Geico Representatives."

    posted by Joey Michaels at 01:51 PM on September 17

    OK I am going to stop joking around and express a actual opinion. I think that anything you do and probably will be offensive to somebody. That said, although I believe in being offensive to everybody equally, I can also be sensitive to the race issue and agree that naming teams after a race of people is something that has become politacally incorrect.

    With that said I personally am ambivilent regarding the renaming of the Redskins, as I believe the name of the team was more about promoting the rivalry between the Washington team and the Cowboys. I also think that things change, and in 1850 the term Redskin may have evoked a particular image, today however as it relates to 2009 in the great majority of people's minds, the name Redskins only makes them think of a Football team in Washington DC. This is nothing similar to some of the other racial slur names that have been used as an anology.

    I can understand that the stupid indian mascot of the Cleveland Indians and the characature logo may be offensive at some level, but is it any more so than say the stupid big headed Dallas Cowboy, or New England Patriot? Actually some teams with names like Braves, or Chiefs and frankly the Redskins I think could be seen by many as being complimentary as the connotation is of admirable traits, like leadership, bravery, warrior like or strength. Why else would a team choose a name unless they considered it a thing deserving of respect. Then again some teams have names like Dodgers, Senators or Gophers which you would think imply cowardly because they dodge, hide in holes, or are worse Politicians. Of course at some point the name is just a name and is associated with a sports team. Most teams chose name because the name is associated with virtues they want to emmulate and therefore you have a lot of teams names after animals like tigers but very few teams named worms. Apologies to bollweivel fans.

    With all the problems of the world, maybe it would be better to learn to laugh at ourselves a little more and prioritize our battles.

    Indians are actually from India, and the name Native Americans is a joke when in truth if you ask them what they are, the answers are Apache, Seminole, Hopi, Blackhawk etc. Now should Blackhawk's be offended that the Chicago hockey team named itself after them? To me is seems like flattery but if the Blackhawks feel they should own the rights to their own tribe's name then that of course is more of a copyright infringement issue than an offensive issue. If they are offended, it seems in this society a monetary settlement or a casino permit usually heals the wounds enough in most cases to move on.

    I think it serves most people well to look beyond a word or name and see the context in which it is being used. The N word can be one of the most offensive words in the world, but it is also used in the black community in some contexts, where it is not derrogetory, almost as a brother hood thing. It appears to me that a lot of black people have learned something that seems to be excaping the discussion and that is - it is what is behind the use of a name, how it is used, and by whom, which is as important as the word itself. I cannot speak for how Native Americans in general feel about the situation but I do think at some point finding a way past it is best for all. Otherwise next they should go after all the old movies, books, etc that have inaccurate and derogatory portrails of thier culture which are far worse. IMO and please realize I am just expressing my opinion not telling any one else how they should feel.

    posted by Atheist at 01:55 PM on September 17

    I heard this one time PETA sued to have a baby killed because it was drinking milk from another animal!

    Right on, yerfatma; that's the funniest thing I'll read for months.

    I grew up rooting for the Redskins, and when you're a kid you root for the team you like, you get into the players, you make up reasons to like things; I thought for the longest time buffalo nickels were Redskins tokens. But as a kid I also imagined games as proxy battles and hunts, in which the Skins hunted bear, tamed eagles, fought cowboys. Art Monk and I were up on the bluffs potting cowboys as they rode around shouting and waving pistols.

    Then I grew up.

    I won't deny that there was special savor in beating the Buffalo Bills in the Superbowl when I was 20, but by that point I knew enough about the history and people involved to find the team name offensive. Prior to its being a team name, the word "redskin" was only ever used in contexts of division or subjugation. Potatoes don't count.

    Now they've made it easy: they suck. The Redskins' owner problem helps me "boycott" my team. Some moral stand. Let's see how I feel when they're back on the warpath.

    On preview, Atheist: Black Hawk was an individual, a war chief of the Sauk.

    posted by Hugh Janus at 02:11 PM on September 17

    Atheist:

    I can understand that the stupid indian mascot of the Cleveland Indians and the characature logo may be offensive at some level, but is it any more so than say the stupid big headed Dallas Cowboy, or New England Patriot?

    Yes. The caricatures are different in the following ways:

    1. Neither cowboys nor New Englanders have a history as an oppressed group. Caricatures are silly, but when the group being caricatured has a history of being respected and valued rather than demeaned and dehumanized, that's all they are. Cowboys wear big hats...okay. New Englanders wear frock coats and tricorne hats...okay. Both are silly and quaint, but neither is pejorative: even if you took them at face value as being representative of their groups, neither is harmful. Contrast that with the imagery of most "Indian" mascots: half-naked, wielding weapons, warlike, with violent names or chants or slogans. That's a harmful image.

    2. Neither cowboys nor New Englanders are marginalized today. No one (except a young child, perhaps) expects New Englanders to dress like Pat Patriot -- they expect New Englanders to dress like Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick, because that's what they see. In contrast, most people today (and particularly children) don't have much experience with realistic representatives of native culture -- instead, they have old movies and Chief Wahoo.

    Why do we have to keep explaining this basic point?

    Actually some teams with names like Braves, or Chiefs and frankly the Redskins I think could be seen by many as being complimentary as the connotation is of admirable traits, like leadership, bravery, warrior like or strength.

    It's possible to argue that somewhere, far down the list of other motives, those who choose a native name for a team may believe that they're somehow honoring native people. The sincerity of this intention (if it exists) doesn't change the fact that this practice does not honor native people. And, really, there's no excuse for thinking that it would: casual and sloppy cultural appropriation never honors its target. If you were sending a formal dinner invitation to a Japanese business partner, would you choose one of those faux-"Oriental" fonts in the belief that you were somehow honoring his/her culture?

    Why else would a team choose a name unless they considered it a thing deserving of respect.

    Because they're dumb and unimaginative? Dunno about where you live, but near me there's an invitational XC meet that originated as a meet between all the teams in the region named "Warriors". There were at least ten. Choosing a native name/mascot isn't exactly a case of stunning originality and cultural savvy.

    With all the problems of the world, maybe it would be better to learn to laugh at ourselves a little more and prioritize our battles.

    I think we'd be even better off if we learned not to laugh at others and not to tell others which battles to choose.

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:24 PM on September 17

    ... I believe the name of the team was more about promoting the rivalry between the Washington team and the Cowboys.

    The Redskins chose the name in 1933, 27 years before the Cowboys were founded.

    posted by rcade at 02:48 PM on September 17

    The only thing that would make this thread any better at this point is if there was a WNFL team named the Lady Redskins.

    posted by Spitztengle at 03:05 PM on September 17

    We prefer "Geico Representatives."

    I thought the representative was a little green gecko with an accent that sounds British and has been confused with Australian and whose heritage seems to be in dispute according to the latest commercial. Or maybe it's the money with the eyes?

    Anyway, the cavemen are victims!

    (Did I say earlier that I don't watch much TV?)

    posted by THX-1138 at 03:09 PM on September 17

    Awesome comment lil brown bat. Makes me wish we had a 'favorite' feature.

    posted by justgary at 03:31 PM on September 17

    If they are offended, it seems in this society a monetary settlement or a casino permit usually heals the wounds enough in most cases to move on.

    I think that statement goes a long way toward illustrating the empathy with which you are approaching this discussion.

    posted by tahoemoj at 03:51 PM on September 17

    LBB - I would never dream of telling anybody what battles to choose. So your suggestion that I was doing that is unfair. I suggested that it might be better if we learned to laugh a little more at ourselves and prioritize our battles. You obviously have a problem with me stating my opinions or opinions that disagree with yours. Frankly, also a way of implying that any opinion that differs from yours is just wrong, end of discussion.

    Please explain to me why a team named Indians would be less acceptable than say a team named Celtic's. Yes Indians were oppressed, yes at one time so were Irish immigrants. Both teams have an identity associated with race which I suppose is just wrong at any level. Maybe both are equally offensive or equally unimportant.

    What I really see is that this is all about perception. The perception that it is some how not offensive to refer to Scandinavian culture as Vikings ( a brave, strong warrior like, conquest oriented symbolism) in regard to a sports team, but it is offensive to refer to Native American culture as Indians ( a brave, strong warrior like, conquest oriented symbolism) in regard to a sports team. Both perceptions have about the same element of truth, myth and fiction and should both be taken with about the same grain of salt and seriousness, as they both are similarly ridiculous.

    Maybe those old movies that portray both cowboys and indians in an unfavorable light should be destroyed before they damage another generation.

    posted by Atheist at 04:22 PM on September 17

    I suggested that it might be better if we learned to laugh a little more at ourselves ...

    We're not laughing at "ourselves" with a team called the Redskins, dude. We're laughing at Native Americans.

    Maybe those old movies that portray both cowboys and indians in an unfavorable light should be destroyed before they damage another generation.

    You're being snide here, but a lot of old movies and cartoons have been edited or removed from circulation because of ridiculously biased depictions of minorities.

    posted by rcade at 05:09 PM on September 17

    What I really see is that this is all about perception. The perception that it is some how not offensive to refer to Scandinavian culture as Vikings ( a brave, strong warrior like, conquest oriented symbolism) in regard to a sports team, but it is offensive to refer to Native American culture as Indians ( a brave, strong warrior like, conquest oriented symbolism) in regard to a sports team. Both perceptions have about the same element of truth, myth and fiction and should both be taken with about the same grain of salt and seriousness, as they both are similarly ridiculous.

    The Vikings no longer exist.

    Native Americans still exist.

    I imagine if Vikings were alive today, they would object to many aspects of their portrayal that reflect ignorance of their culture. For example, their hats didn't have horns. King of ignorant of us to put horns on Vikings, but we do it because "everyone knows Vikings had hats with horns.

    Native Americans are alive today and recognize when they are depicted in a way that is ignorant. They have every right to point out that the mascot for the Cleveland Indians is ludicrously ignorant and racist or that the name "R******s" was one that was applied to them rather than one they chose for themselves.

    Furthermore, R*******s has been used as a racial slur. Maybe that wasn't its origin. If you're going to insult an Irishman or Englishman, I very much suspect that you're not going to be calling them "you fucking Celt."

    You also probably wouldn't call a Northern European a "fucking Viking" because they would chop you in half with their mighty battle axe and then cart off your female relatives.

    Damn vikings.

    posted by Joey Michaels at 07:16 PM on September 17

    I've been combing the internet all day trying to find evidence of the systematic ethnic cleansing of Vikings in American history, can anyone point me to a good site?

    posted by tahoemoj at 09:00 PM on September 17

    tahoemoj: This is the closest thing I can find.

    posted by Joey Michaels at 09:29 PM on September 17

    I stand corrected. That there's some sweet, sweet interweb sleuthin'.

    posted by tahoemoj at 10:01 PM on September 17

    Ah! There we go! The Washington Douchebags! Not offensive to anyone!

    Says you

    posted by tahoemoj at 12:09 AM on September 18

    The Vikings no longer exist

    Wait a minute! What the hell do you mean that the Vikings "no longer exist"? I clearly saw them play the Cleveland Browns last week. You might need to re-check those facts, buddy. Someone needs to ask Brett Favre what the hell is he doing in Minnesota then.

    This is the closest thing I can find

    Thanks Joey, that's some funny stuff right there.

    T-DAY
    THANKS FOR NOTHING

    Cracks me up!

    posted by BornIcon at 07:45 AM on September 18

    Wait a minute! What the hell do you mean that the Vikings "no longer exist"? I clearly saw them play the Cleveland Browns last week.

    They won't exist after week four, when Brett Favre's throwing arm explodes.

    Oh wow, did I say that???

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:05 AM on September 18

    Atheist:

    LBB - I would never dream of telling anybody what battles to choose. So your suggestion that I was doing that is unfair. I suggested that it might be better if we learned to laugh a little more at ourselves and prioritize our battles.

    Okay. So if you weren't telling others which battles to choose, you were suggesting that they prioritize their battles. The distinction escapes me. Both sound like you are telling other people that their determination of what wrongs need righting is faulty. Telling others that they should "prioritize" suggests that you think their current set of priorities is wrong. I don't know what other conclusion can be drawn from that.

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:10 AM on September 18

    IMO LBB, I think you're reading too much into Atheist's comment. I understand what you're saying but I don't believe that Atheist is suggesting that people follow his orders because their priorities are wrong. What I think he's trying to say is that we should pick & choose our battles because not everything is worth fighting for(?).

    Or maybe I'm just an idiot that needs to shut the hell up (I vote for that one)

    posted by BornIcon at 12:32 PM on September 18

    Thanks BI for getting it. LBB seems to have an ax to grind with me. I fully understand that there is an incredible amount of social injustice in this world. I also understand that there is a new attitude regarding protecting peoples racial sensitivities. All I was saying is I THINK, there are probably more important battles for native americans, they of course can decide for themselves which ones are worth fighting. If they think the name Redskins is a problem by all means they should fight to change it.

    I do believe in Americaware the right to offend is protected by the constitution. Most companies and organizations do not want to offend as it is bad for business. Maybe the best way to get the Redskins to change their name is to make it bad for business to keep it.

    posted by Atheist at 04:35 PM on September 18

    Americaware is a pretty awesome typo, unless there is a product I am missing out on.

    Seriously, I think sometimes the symbolic issues are the ones that need to be tackled first, then the others can fall in turn. Was not being able to use a whites-only drinking fountain the most important issue facing African Americans in the 1950s? Not really, compared to, say, systemic voting "irregularities", but by tackling the highly visible petty annoyances of American apartheid, it raised the issue in a very public way. The Voting Rights Act followed afterwards. So, I guess I am saying, symbols do matter and sometimes are essential vanguards of social change and raised consciousness.

    posted by rumple at 05:15 PM on September 18

    IMO LBB, I think you're reading too much into Atheist's comment. I understand what you're saying but I don't believe that Atheist is suggesting that people follow his orders because their priorities are wrong. What I think he's trying to say is that we should pick & choose our battles because not everything is worth fighting for(?).

    And my point is, absent evidence otherwise, why not assume that that's exactly what they're doing? And if that's what you assume, then why say anything? You don't typically urge people to do what you believe they're already doing.

    posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:17 PM on September 18

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