Why is ‘Red People’ OK but not Redskins?


In a previous article I wrote how the choice of Redskins for our nation’s capital NFL team was to honor American Indians, I mean, “Native Americans” or “Native Peoples.” I get so confused these days about proper usage.

It used to OK to use “Negro,” then it was Black, and now (I think) it’s African American unless you’re part of the group, then it’s OK to use the N-word for which Negro was a welcomed substitute. Negro means black in Spanish and in other languages. It used to be said by blacks that “black is beautiful.”

“Colored People” was bad, but “People of Color” is politically correct. I think these constant designations are designed to keep the race meme alive.

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Now there’s a renewed debate over the name Redskins. President Obama (naturally) weighed in on the subject.

“‘If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it,’ Obama said in an interview with the AP released Saturday.”

What sizeable group? Newspaper editors and sports writers?

Major newspapers like the Washington Post and USA Today have taken it upon themselves to stop referring to the Redskins as the Redskins. It’s their choice. Neil Irwin, writing for the Post, describes the name as “the most patently offensive name in pro sports.”

I’m not sure who’s reading the Washington Post these days, so it may not matter what anyone says on the subject. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has cancelled his subscription. It’s too liberal. He doesn’t read the New York Times either. The younger generation certainly isn’t going to subscribe. These papers are headed for the dust bin of newspaper history.

I suspect that most football fans don’t care about the name. In fact, I doubt that many Native Americans have given it much thought. I’ll bet you that Oklahoma resident and Native American Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) would not have viewed the Red Skins name as derogatory.

How do I know? Because of what Oklahoma means. The state’s name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning “red people.”

In addition, Thorpe made his coaching debut with the Cleveland Indians.

Liberal Redskins attorney Lanny Davis defended the team’s name: “We at the Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s hometown), we love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group.”

If it’s OK for Oklahoma, then it should be OK with our nation’s capital.

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