In honor of Native American Heritage Month I want to shed some light on a topic that has bothered me for years, the Washington Redskins. For years there have been petitions, protest and even pleas of government intervention to get rid of the Redskins name. I think the name should stay the way it is. I have never at any point in my life wanted to change the name of the team.
I want to make things clear. I am not a fan of the Washington Redskins. As a football fan I do not want the team to change its name. I like that the National Football League teams play against the Washington Redskins. I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I grew up in Philly and have lived there my entire life. I like the fact that my Eagles play against the Redskins twice a season.
They have a long history of playing against one another. The rivalry between the two teams goes back decades. As a football fan I live for these type of rivalries and I would not want it to change in any type of way. It would be a better situation if the Redskins franchise would do more to honor Native Americans during Native American Heritage Month. It seems like it would be the right thing to do.
I do not want people to think this is coming from somebody who just throwing his opinion in with the others. I have a stake in this situation just like other individuals because I am part Native American. I have Native American blood passed down from my grandfather, to my mother, to me. That may not mean much to others but I think that gives me a valid position in this argument.
The Redskins franchise has been around since 1932, which is 82 years they have been using that name. I know some people claim the name is offensive to Native Americans. At the time of its establishment it most likely was intended to be offensive to Native Americans. The case I want to make is that times have changed. The name is not meant to be offensive or racist in today’s age where those type of things are not tolerated in mainstream media.
Example number one, this would not be the first time a word has changed its meaning over time. The word “gay” did not mean the same thing 50 years ago as it mainly is used today. Words and meanings can change, maybe not at the drop of a hat, but they can eventually change. That is what happened to the Redskins name. The term Redskins represents the name of a team that plays inside the National Football League and nothing more.
I do not want it to seem as though Native Americans have been nothing to be offended about. I feel we are in an age where if something sounds or looks offensive we would know it when we hear or see it. Mainstream media has turned a blind eye to the insults the Native Americans have suffered through. For example, Peter Pan, a beloved Walt Disney children’s classic, shows blatant racism and stereotypes of the indigenous people featured in the film. The movie highly disrespects the intelligence and feelings of Native Americans. Yet Peter Pan is still celebrated.
How can you want to change the Redskins name but still tolerate other acts of prejudice? That goes the same for other franchises around the United States.
How is the name Redskins different from the name Chief or Indian? They are the names of two other sports franchises. The Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Chiefs. Both use Native American monikers. I actually have more of problem with Native Americans being associated as Indians. Native Americans are not actually Indians. The baseball franchise take advantage of that misrepresentation and exploits the heritage of the indigenous people.
The Cleveland Indian’s mascot is much more offensive to me than the Redskins mascot. The Indian’s mascot has the likeness of a Native American with a feather wrapped around its head, a great big smile and its face painted right red. If it were painted in blackface with the same features there would be no question that it is offensive and/or racist. My stance is if one thing is intolerable then why are other entities not treated with the same level of inquirer.