By Rachel Alexander-Lee | Special Correspondent
The Time of the Name ‘Redskins’ is Ending
Anyone who calls an African-American the n-word in this day and age is often accused of being racist and looked down upon by society, so why can the same not be said for the term “redskin”?
Furthermore, why is this derogatory term the name of a National Football Team?
I believe the Washington Redskins should change their name.
The preservation of the name shows a pointed disrespect towards American Indians.
Kevin Gover, the director of the National Museum of the American Indian, says that the term is “the equivalent of the n-word.”
So why does the name remain?
Some argue it is not offensive because the word originally came from American Indians as a self-identifier, though the word was quickly hijacked by white society and used as an offensive and derogatory term in literature and pop culture.
(See the endless thousands of “Cowboy and Indian” movies made in Hollywood beginning in the 1920s.)
Some say the name honors the American Indians and argue that they are celebrating the natives’ cultures and positive characteristics.
This “celebration of culture” often ends up as appropriation of culture and insults the American Indians.
Many are okay with these types of names because some American Indians are not offended by similar names.
I think it should be enough that a large number of Americans – Indians or otherwise – still find it offensive.
The practice of naming teams after American Indians is not a dead practice.
Too many teams in the United States, with no connection whatsoever to America’s orginal settlers, still use their names and mascots in an offensive way.
Many schools and their mascots have changed, in fact.
(Click HERE for a history of teams that have changed their nicknames. Note that Miami of Ohio has changed from Redskins to RedHawks and St. John’s from Red Men to Red Storm.)
It is time for this practice to end.
We are halting progress.
Below is a list of some schools that have changed their names (USA Today):
– Stanford University – Indians to Cardinal (1972)
– Dartmouth – Indians to Big Green (1974)
– Siena – Indians to Saints (1988)
– Eastern Michigan – Hurons to Eagles (1991)
– St. John’s (N.Y.) – Redman to Red Storm (1994)
– Marquette – Warriors to Golden Eagles (1994)
– Miami (Ohio) – Redskins to RedHawks (1997)
– Seattle University – Chieftains to Redhawks (2000)
– Louisiana-Monroe – Indiana to Warhakws (2006)
– Arkansas State – Indians to Red Wolves (2008)
– North Dakota – Formerly dropped Fighting Sioux in 2012. No nickname currently.