This Redskins tempest got me thinking. A very small minority of Native Americans believe it’s an outrage to have an NFL team named the Redskins. Changing the name won’t do any more for Native Americans than naming roads after Martin Luther King has done for African Americans.
As usual, the PC police have entered the debate calling the name racist and insulting to a great people. You know when Jesse Jackson gets involved that “the cause” has liberal legs. There’s got to be a way to make some money if Jesse and Al get involved. So many debates have been won on the charge of racism that it would be a crime not to keep the ball rolling.
Pat Buchanan has written an article that I found delightful probably because I had some of the same thoughts but could never write them as well as he did. The truth in the following cuts through the liberal hype and hollering:
“And as I have never heard of anyone choosing a team name to insult it, who is really lacking in tolerance and mutual respect here?”
So I ask this question: “Would a Nazi football team ever put a Star of David on its helmets?” To ask the question is to answer it: No! It would be the last image they would want gracing their helmets. They would consider it a great sacrilege to the Nazi cause. The team would want something that reflected the Nazi worldview. They wouldn’t put an image on their helmets of a people they despised.
If you’ve seen the film The Natural, you might remember that Roy Hobbs was called up to play for the Knights in 1939 from the fictitious baseball team the Hebrew Oilers. Does anyone think that this Jewish team would have used a Swastika and called themselves Nazis?
The mascot for my high school is a Highlander. The name was chosen because “the high school building was located in a section of Baldwin [Borough outside the city of Pittsburgh] that developers referred to as the Baldwin Highlands.”1, A highlander is a guy wearing what looks like a skirt and carrying bag pipes.
I found this image in my 1968 yearbook.
Compare it to the new Highlander image.
Which Highlander would you choose to lead you into battle? The Redskins organization chose the Indian logo as a sign of respect, not denigration. Keep in mind that it was early Native Americans who described themselves as redskins.
- Mary Niederberger, “The Mysterious Origins of High School Mascots,” The Pittsburgh Post Gazette (December 3, 1997). [↩]