Let’s Talk About The Term: Redskin
The Washington Redskins have recently announced they will be reviewing the team’s name due to pressure from the public and corporate sponsors. But is the term “Redskin” really a bad thing? The issue is not as clear-cut as it seems. There are always two sides to every story, and in this case, it’s important to consider the argument that the term should not be considered offensive. In this article, we will delve deeper into the topic and examine both sides of the story to understand the true nature of the term “Redskin”.
The Washington Redskins are back in the news. As AXIOS recently reported, “The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team’s name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.” Please don’t buy it!
We need to talk about the term “RedSkin.” By now, you have probably heard that the term “Redskin” is a bad thing. After all, the media has said so since about 2013. Heck, even schools are now getting in on it. However, what if I told you that it was not a bad thing at all?
Some might point to lawsuits against the NFL (Washington Redskins) or reporters approaching the word as though it were a racial slur or cuss word as evidence that I am wrong. That is fine, but remember, there are always two sides to every story, right? So let me take a moment to demonstrate my point.
David Skinner (Skinner, 2013), author of “The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published,” once pointed out that…
“In 2005, the Indian language scholar Ives Goddard of the Smithsonian Institution published a remarkable and consequential study of redskin’s early history. His findings shifted the dates for the word’s first appearance in print by more than a century and shed an awkward light on the contemporary debate. Goddard found, in summary, that “the actual origin of the word is entirely benign.“
Redskin, he learned, had not emerged first in English or any European language. The English term is derived from Native American phrases involving the color red in combination with terms for flesh, skin, and man. These phrases were part of a racial vocabulary that Indians often used to designate themselves in opposition to others they (like the Europeans) called black, white, and so on.
Skinner would go on to show numerous different reasons and historical facts to demonstrate why the term “Redskin” was not racist at all. And you know what? He is right. What is important to note here is that the term was a SELF-GIVEN description that everyone else ran with. Sound familiar? It should.
We live in a country that openly calls anyone with a light complexion “white” or “Caucasian,” without any kind of concern whatsoever for their ACTUAL RACE or heritage. Why? Because everyone just ran with it. Yet, somehow, everyone seems to be okay with it. Let me make it abundantly clear and reiterate that “white” is not a race; not all Caucasians are “white,” and not all “whites” are Caucasians.
Are there some people who find the term “Redskin” offensive? Sure, but that offense is usually created out of ignorance. Some blacks find the term “African-American” offensive too. However, the term African-American does not apply to all blacks, just as Native American does not apply to all reds… just as Caucasian does not apply to all whites. See what I mean?
Ironically, the Washington Redskins have a solid fan base in the “Native American” community. I am reminded of Roy Hawthorne, a “Native American” and vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association. Back in 2013, he appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game against the San Francisco 49ers with a few other heroes that he served with.
For clarity, they were honored for their service in World War II. At that event, he said that the team name symbolizes loyalty and courage, not a slur asserted by critics who want it changed (AP, 2013). He went on to say that he would endorse the name if asked.
And what are we to think about him wearing Washington Redskin gear? Does this not say it all? I really doubt that he would wear it if it were so offensive.
So who are you going to believe? Think about who is really pushing the debate. It is not the proud Natives saying it; it is the left-wing media and those who are virtue-signaling without the facts. Now ask yourself why?
Of course, if you’re still not swayed, here is something else to consider. The Washington Redskins logo was actually designed by Native American Walter “Blackie” Wetzel and depicted a member of the Blackfeet tribe. Specifically, it shows John “Two Guns” White Calf, a Blackfeet Chief who also happens to appear on the Buffalo Nickel. And if that wasn’t enough, then know that “according to Wetzel’s son, Lance, the logo is not offensive, but rather evokes a sense of pride.”
Of course, some people want to cry about being offended by the term. However, if that is truly their feelings, then perhaps they should be offended that they do not have all the facts. The truth is that you can give me just about any word or description, and I am sure we can find (or make) someone or some group that is offended. Honestly, if the establishment did not want to perpetuate racial divides, we would not be marking them on government, education, and employment forms, now would we?
Not that it matters much. We have the Freedom of Speech. We DO NOT have the right to safeguard against the offense. We used to be tough people. Now words are hurting us? Seriously?
Maybe it is yet another way to divide the people even further than what has already been done. As a result, the government (once again) had to get involved in protecting those who did not care until the government and media made it a big deal in the first place. This means bigger government, by the way. The sad part is that the ignorant are buying into it, and it is actually helping to tear us apart even further.
It should not be too difficult to see how these seemingly minor contortions that we continue to discuss have been blown way out of proportion and used to dismantle the very foundation that the Constitution was set up to ensure. Stop giving in to the narrative and come together!
AVOID THE ASTROTURF
If you would like to learn more about Astroturf, check my article titled “Avoid the Astroturf – It’s Dangerous.“