Monday, September 16, 2013

Okay, I can kinda see their point on that one...

When someone brings up the team name of the Atlanta Braves, one can always counter with the Dallas Cowboys or Cleveland Cavaliers. (If the latter move to Rochester, will they keep the alliteration and change to the Roundheads? One wonders.) When the Cleveland Indians are brought up, one can retort with the Boston Celtics or Minnesota Vikings.

But the Washington Redskins? Uh, we are polite enough to call Notre Dame the "Fighting Irish" and not the "Drunken Micks", after all, and "Redskins" is something of a pejorative, albeit one that is largely a creation of Hollywood serials rather than actual 19th Century bigotry.

Bobbi's proposed solution of renaming them the "Ofays" for a few years lacks the proper sting; perhaps a more suitably local term? The Washington Tax Leeches, perhaps?


Anonymous said...

Soul Suckers has a nice and appropriate ring to it...

But I prefer the Warmongers.


Mike_C said...

They should keep the name and change the mascot to a potato.

In related news the next town over, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) used to be known as the Hurons. This was offensive, though apparently not to the Hurons themselves, but to the usual crowd of butthurt on behalf of our little brown brothers types. So the EMU Hurons became the EMU Eagles. Thereby bowing to pressure from people without skin (sorry) in the game AND missing the chance to be the EMU Emus, which would have made a great mascot.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Call them the "Washington Hasn't-this-PC-stuff-gone-on-long-enoughs"

Bram said...

They don't call them "Drunken Micks" but the logo of a 2-foot tall drunk leprechaun ginger with his fists in the air, says it load and clear.

Armed Texan said...

The Washington One Percenters.

Drang said...

Always wondered at this one. Reminds me of a Dave Barry column (he is not making this up!) in which he reported that he was visiting the Custer Batlefield and talking to a local member of the Crow tribe, who said he was trying to get the Rez to change the high school teams to the Fighting White farmers.

@Mike_C: The biggest problem with the Hurons I could see during my time @EMU was that the guy who was leading the cheers was dressed as a Plains indian, complete with feathered headdress down to the ground, not a Huron, which would have called for him to be dressed like Wes Studi in Last Of The Mohicans.

Tam said...

"Call them the "Washington Hasn't-this-PC-stuff-gone-on-long-enoughs""

When did lack of manners become a conservative dogwhistle? How 'bout the Washington Wetbacks? Or the Washington Wops?

Would you walk up to a Native American you didn't know and say "Hey, redskin!" If not, why not?

wolfwalker said...

Some years ago, Miami (of Ohio) University faced the same choice: a local lib group was opposed to the college calling its teams the Redskins. So the university knuckled under and decided to change the name. After a suitably long and arduous search for a name that was close to the original but not offensive to the libs, they selected "Miami Redhawks."

I have never figured out if the implied poke in the eye to the liberals was intentional or not.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought; why don't we ask the Native Americans what they think about it?
I'm not offended at being called a Yankee even though the original usage indicates someone as stupid as a block of cheese.
If 10% of people who are at least 25% Native American (and identify themselves as such for reasons unrelated to affirmative action benefits for ethnicity) are offended, change it.

Let's just not waste our time listening to someone who is 1/964th Native American and claims that only for personal benefit.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Call them the Washington Politicians, then proceed to beat the s#!+ out of them.

Robert Fowler said...

Tam said...
Would you walk up to a Native American you didn't know and say "Hey, redskin!" If not, why not?

I did that once at a company I worked for. He was one of the drivers. We ended up running together for almost two weeks. The first words out of his mouth every time I saw him after that was "eat yet?"

Shortly after leaving the service, I went to work for a Indian cabinet maker and carpenter. We became good friends and I would call him "redskin" every now and then. Of course he would call me paleface. He was a Choctaw from Oklahoma. Everyone called him Chief because his name was almost unpronounceable. When things got too slow, he got me a job with his Step-son working for a large equipment company. He was like a second father and it really saddened me when he died.

Anonymous said...

The Washington Withering Dithers

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

If I recall correctly an intramural college team somewhere named themselves the Tighty Whities or some such to "raise awareness". My understanding was that this has backfired as the local white population loved it.

This white guy doesn't have a problem with it, anyway.

That said, I find a lot of the complaints aren't coming from American Indians, the complaints are coming from white liberals who need an excuse to get their greivance on.

Case in point: There was a white girl at Middlebury college who ripped out all the flags from a 9/11 memorial in protest of all the Indians the US killed in the theft of their land. And that having it on an Indian burial ground was adding insult to injury. The Chief of the local tribe called BS on it saying that not only was the memorial not in a burial ground, but even if it was, they still would have welcomed it.

I get what you are saying, but it keeps looking like the people who are upset are upset on behalf of people who aren't.

Tam said...

Yu-Ain Gonnano,

"If I recall correctly an intramural college team somewhere named themselves the Tighty Whities or some such to "raise awareness". My understanding was that this has backfired as the local white population loved it. "

This mostly goes to show that the hysterical rants about "privilege" have a kernel of truth at their core. ;)

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

I don't follow. To me it just shows that the hysterical rants are just that: hysterical.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

To me, complaining about the Tighty Whities or the Redskins is on par with Christians getting all bent out of shape over the Blue Devils.

Tam said...

Yu-Ain Gonnano,

"I don't follow."

"Why are you complaining about that team being called the 'Washington Womanishes'? I wouldn't take offense if they changed it to the 'Maryland Manlies'."

Woodman said...

"To me, complaining about the Tighty Whities or the Redskins is on par with Christians getting all bent out of shape over the Blue Devils."

And they do. The difference being it's the "injured" party making the protest and not rich white progressives. Therefore =/ news.

Robert Fowler,

There should be a rule like Rule 34 that if someone on the internet states a hypothetical to prove their point, someone reading will have done it and profited by it.

If Tam were to say no one profits by shooting their own leg at the start of a gunfight I'm sure someone would pop up to talk about the time they did that and it made the bad guys ignore them long enough for them to make it to their car and get their rifle and finish the rest of them off from the prone. And it turns out that the police were shooting at chest height so they avoided friendly fire because they shot themselves as well.

Not dismissing your story, I've had similar relationships, but her point is still valid regardless of anecdotal evidence. On average, walking up to a segregated group and calling them by a non-preferred name is not going to go over well.

Matt said...

Not that I care much about what football teams call themselves since I generally consider them a blight upon the land. But, how about the Washington Sounders in deference to Puget Sound (which i think is part of Washington state)?

Personally I am offended by the New England Patriots. They are a Boston team, not a New England team and as a self described Patriot I find the use of the name and the image to be offensive. Shouldn't they be on a watch list as Patriots anyhow?

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

"Why are you complaining about that team being called the 'Washington Womanishes'? I wouldn't take offense if they changed it to the 'Maryland Manlies'."

And what about "Tighty Whities" is supposed to be a some sort of positive thing like 'Manliness'?

Generally, sports teams have mascots that are supposed to elicit images of strength and power, not weakness. That's why you have the Bears, Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings, etc and not Pansies, Wimps, and Cowards.

Positioning "Redskins" as an image of strength hardly seems demeaning to me. And it seems most American Indians aren't really put off about it either. At least no more than New Yorkers are put off about their team being called the Southern perjoritive "Yankee".

That said, I'm not going to fight to keep it, either. Sports teams are generally branded as trying to create a sense of solidarity in their target market. If the name is a source of divisiveness (whether for good reasons or bad), then change it. It ain't a big deal.

Ken said...

I dunno, but people from Boise get irritated if you call their fictitious football team the Mashers.

Rob K said...

I believe Tam's right about the kernel of truth in the "white privilege" claim. As a typical "Heinz 57" white male, I can't think of any pejoratives based on my race/ethnicity that could offend me. You can call me honky, cracker, round-eye, gaijin, hillbilly, or redneck with as much venom you can muster, and I'll just get a chuckle from it. I look very Irish, but calling me Mic or Paddy would really make me laugh. Bram's comment about the Notre Dame leprechaun mascot makes this point really well.

Just don't call me a yankee. I'm not a yankee, I'm a Hoosier.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

And they do. - Woodman

Yes. My point is that I view all such complaints as a little silly. It's a mascot, not an ideology. The names weren't choosen so as to thumb their noses at someone which generally seems to be what the complainers want to do.

But as I said, if it really is *that* big of a deal, go ahead and change it. Just as the complaints are silly, fighting to keep it is too. The only real issue is not giving a heckler's veto to every tiny group with a greivance. I'm pretty sure there is an UberVegan group somewhere upset at the trivialization of animals by using them as mascots.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the mascot for the Washington Warmongers?

Guy in a suit sitting in a big chair, different guy every 4-8 years. Sometimes carried on the shoulders of other suits; sometimes dragged by them through the mud.


Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

I believe Tam's right about the kernel of truth in the "white privilege" claim. As a typical "Heinz 57" white male, I can't think of any pejoratives based on my race/ethnicity that could offend me. - Rob K

And what, exactly, prevents non-white males from excersizing that same privelege to not be offended?

I do get it. Being rude is, well, rude and it shouldn't be done without good reason.

It just seems that the people claiming it is rude, don't seem to be the people involved. As I said, the people claiming that it is rude seem to be doing so on behalf of people who don't think it is rude.

Tam said...

Frankly, "Yu", I really didn't give a shit one way or the other myself until a friend of mine pointed out that it was an offensive term. Seeing that they were born in one of the new homelands to which we confined the previous owners, I took her word for it.

Having grown up in the South, I knew elderly folk in my younger days who used "nigger" with hardly any more pejorative intent than Twain or Kipling, but I believe we can agree that times and manners change, no?

Woodman said...

What makes a name like that hurt is power. The power to label someone and make it stick.

I don't give a shit about "honkey" because it doesn't stick to me. It carries no baggage, and I can afford to ignore it. And the person using it is often an idiot and can be dismissed as such.

While Redskin may not carry as much weight as most terms put into the category, it's still an outside label imposed on a weaker group. WOP doesn't matter now, because people don't use it as a label that means "not human" and make it stick.

Terms like "boy", "wetback", "Nip", and the whole rest were used by people in control of the group so being named. It's not just a word to some people, it brings the whole mess out. But even then not to all of a group, just the ones that connect with it.

Frankly, I think the free market has made the decision that Redskin will stick as the name. And any legislative action is asinine.

Tam said...


"Frankly, I think the free market has made the decision that Redskin will stick as the name. And any legislative action is asinine."

I agree with the latter, although I strongly suspect the former will probably change in my lifetime.

(I mean, I remember when the Braves logo was still the dude with the mohawk and Chief Nock-A-Homa danced around a teepee in the outfield bleachers after a home run. I don't really miss that any.)

Scott J said...

This is why animal mascots are so much safer.

They can't sue. At least not until Cass Sunstein realizes one of his dreams.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...


And if it is, or does become, a problem, then change it. And if it isn't or doesn't, then leave it alone.

Like I said, it just seems like the people who are offended are, mostly, not the people in question. American Idians, by in large, seem to like the name..

If that changes, then the name should change too.

mikee said...

"Washington Federals" would make them the most hated team in football.

Ain't nobody likes the Feds.

Matthew said...

Notre Dame mascot -Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fisticuffs

RKN said...

All this attention on Redskin. Is no one concerned about the multiple-meanings of "Packers?" Think of the children!

JohninMd.(help?!?) said...

It's bad enough their field is in Md., thank you very much. The owner has said he will NEVER change the name, tradition, yada, yada, HTTR, (Hail To The Redskins) ETC. I find it amusing that the one or two tribes voicing objections have no connection to the region. Except, of course, for the Butthurt Libtard tribe...

Anonymous said...

Since we had the "Hogs" nickname for the offensive linemen (and we can always resuscitate the "Hogettes"), I'm going to vote for Pork Barrel as the new name:

Hail to the bacon!
Legislative victory!
Sausage in the appropriation!
Fight for dollars from D.C.!

See, we hardly have to change the song at all, and everyone hates lawmakers equally, so no one will care if it's offensive.


Goober said...

Washington DC, son.

Washington state has the Seattle Seahawks.

Redskins are from the other Washington. You know, on the Potomac between Virginia and Maryland.

Goober said...

Yankee is not a southern perjorative. It is Dutch.

Jan Kase is dutch for "john cheese" and was what the Dutch referred to the English settlers in new York (at the time called new Amsterdam and very much a Dutch, not an English, colony at the time. )

Lots of Englishman named john. Dumb as a block of cheese. Jan Kase.

Pronounced "yan kays".

Misheard and repeated as "Yankees"

Jayson said...

SI did a poll a few years back, and something like 70% of Native Americans don't care about sports names. This is another one of those times where white people treat NAs like they're not smart enough to take care of themselves or to have the correct opinions, so the noble white folks will do it for them. It's condescending as hell.

Darrell said...

I daresay the people complaining don't go to football games in the first place.

Kristophr said...

The Washington Occupiers.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

The polls I've seen are north of 90% of American Indians don't want the name changed.

Liberals: You shouldn't use Redskins as a nickname, it's offensive to Native Americans.

Native Americans: Um, we're not offended.

Liberals: Yes you are!

Native Americans: No, really. Most of us are fans.

Liberals: Just great. While the white man was stealing everything else, he must have stolen your ability to know when you've been insulted, too!

Native Americans: Uh. Sports teams don't usually pick names that insult themselves. There aren't too many teams named "Wimps" or "Jerks".

Liberals: Shut up. You're being oppressed already, dammit.

Look, if Native Americans really do feel they are being insulted by it, then by all means, change the name. It just doesn't seem that that is the case at the moment.

If it does change, I hope they take the FSU route. Change the name to one of the original local tribes, get that tribe's buy-in and have the mascot be an actual member of the tribe. Any rituals performed should be actual tribal rituals. Any dress should be actual tribal dress. This will ensure everything is done with authenticity and respect.

BatChainPuller said...

I grew up on TV westerns. I can't remember a single positive use of the word Redskin. "you know, when we were snowed in last winter, the redskins brought us some pemmican and buffalo chips" I think Danny Snyder should promise to change the name after two consecutive Super Bowl victories by his team. My choice, the Warriors, a multi ethnic moniker.

BatChainPuller said...

(borrowed from Jill Dobson)
When I think of football, I think of professional quality, salon endorsed hair care products...the Washington Redkens.

Ed said...

I have a suggestion - the Washington Railriders. The mascot would be a tarred and chicken feathered politician.

As far as the Washington Ofay suggestiong goes:

Brad K. said...

How about the Washington Furious, with a Fast & Furious BATFE agent and gunwalker pair as the team mascot?

Or maybe the Washington Agents, with a Homeland Security uniformed SWAT team member, using live ammo, as the mascot?

How about the Washington Scofflaws, and dress the team in Cabinet-style dress?

I suppose "Congressional Quislings" would be a bit pointed.

Matt G said...

"The Washington Tax Leeches, perhaps?"

It's already been done, with a baseball team. But they moved to Texas in 1971, and changed their name.

Anonymous said...

The Chicago Blackhawks have what is arguably one of the best logos and names in pro sports. They intend to keep it, and with sufficient contribution (i.e. payola) to the Illinois Sac tribe from which Chief Blackhawk came, they will get to keep it, p.c. be damned, as far as the well subsidized Sacs are concerned, now they have skin in the game via the continued usage of Chief Blackhawk's image and name on the Stanley Cup winner, and Original Six legacy team (see what I just did there?).

Tam said...

Anon 1:16,

That situation is not at all analogous.

"Blackhawk" is not a made-up derogatory term for "Indian". "Blackhawk" is no different or worse than "Viking" or "Celtic".