Just trying to plug along the whole Blogging A to Z series where I pick a letter and just write.
When it comes to professional sporting events, here is my general opinion on mascots: I’m not a fan. And yes. I get the overall concept of why they exist.
In Chicago, for example, the Blackhawks have Tommy Hawk and like most rational, educated, intelligent ‘Hawks fans – I think he’s a joke and an embarrassment to the organization. There’s just little-to-no place in professional hockey for a cross-breed between Foghorn Leghorn and Woody Woodpecker.
But I digress (which seems to happen a lot).
Though what about the Blackhawks name? Is that a bad thing? Is it offensive? What about the Braves? Indians? Or dare I say Redskins?Yesterday a ruling came down stripping the Washington Redskins of their trademark to the name “Redskins”. The US Patent and Trademark Office deemed the name disparaging and that disparaging language cannot be protected under the law.
I call bull shit.
Who exactly does the term offend? Native Americans? If that’s the case, prove it.
I’ve seen polls over the years showing by and large that Native Americans across the country don’t find it offensive in any way. Or at the very least, they simply don’t care.
Yesterday on Phoenix sports radio the jocks were discussing a recent poll where close to 90% of the tribes surveyed had no problem whatsoever with the word “Redskins”.
So then who is leading the charge to have this term banned? Who is taking it upon themselves to speak for groups who have already spoken for themselves?
From what I can tell: white people.
Yeah. There are a couple of tribal groups behind the scenes of the litigation that led to yesterday’s ruling. Though if the above mentioned polls are to be taken seriously – it’s a relatively small number. All I’d like is for the lawyers, the politically correct nuts, the media or anyone to show otherwise.
Sorry, but as a white guy with no NA heritage I can’t speak for Native Americans on the offensiveness of “Redskins”.
Perhaps I’m a bit biased myself as I can’t help but wonder how yesterday’s ruling might someday affect the Blackhawks. I just think that we, as a society, might be slowly erasing our past in some weak attempt to make ourselves feel better about the future.
Anyone care to guess what Oklahoma means? Honestly, I was a bit surprised myself.
Illinois is a Native American term. What about the other 27 states with NA names? Or the hundreds of American cities (like Chicago)? New Mexico is named after Mexico (duh!) which apparently is named for the Aztec god, Mexitili. That has to piss off a few on the right of the political aisle as well, wouldn’t you think?
There seems to be a couple of stories on how the Redskins nickname came to be. Some say it has honorable origins; others say it was a business decision. I haven’t heard where it was done to be racist. Perhaps over the years, legends and traditions were merged and we’ll never know the real truth.
Like others, I do believe that the momentum has finally shifted and the removal of the Redskins name has become inevitable; it really is a matter of time now.
I just can’t help but wonder where this goes next.
End note: For the record, I understand that language evolves and cultural norms change. If I’m completely off base here, tell me how/why. God/Allah/Buddha/Elvis – and Mexitili – know I could stand to learn a thing or two about sensitivities.
Up next: N.
Is the name “Redskins” a humiliation (or “Braves” or “Blackhawks” or “Indians”) or the way some fans act out? There’s a difference.
In your New Orleans Saints example – the people throwing wafers and dressing up like priests might be bothersome more so than the team name.
I can see the cause-and-effect relationship where if you eliminate the name, the elimination of certain actions will follow. Ok. I’ll buy into that.
Though I’d still think addressing people’s ACTIONS should be done as opposed to eliminating or changing the team name.
If you are a Native American trying to raise your children to be proud of who they are, a difficulty considering the present situation of many native Americans, there might be a problem when you see an obnoxious drunken white man dressed in a head dress, which is an important cultural artifact for most tribes, drooling, stumbling, swearing. Maybe an example closer to home would be if the New Orleans saints handed out white wafers like hosts and threw them in the air every time they scored a touchdown or fans dressed in priestly attire or women cheerleaders dressed in risqué nun outfits.
There are many native Americans against this humiliation of their race. In fact most of the native Americans I have met in my studies are opposed.