As a native Washingtonian, a partial Native American and a Washington Redskins fan for over 35 years, I felt the need to do a blog about the latest “hullabaloo” over the whole name change situation.
The debate? “The name Redskins and the logo is offensive to Native Americans.” Now I have openly voiced my opinion on Facebook and especially Twitter, but sometimes, you need to really elaborate. So here I go:
Merriam-Webster says: “Red-skin; usually offensive.”
That in and of itself is a very vague definition of the word. The word was used by whites who came and stole the Natives land as all well know. It was used by whites to define their “skin color” which was a reddish tone, although later “colonists” described it as brown, yellow or russet color. But how many real and true Natives are truly offended by this word? Why are so many whites jumping on the “offensive” bandwagon? Why are liberals so determined to keep stirring this pot? Well listen to a REAL retired Native American Chief shed light on this situation:
"Robert “Two Eagles” Green, who retired from his presiding role over the 1300-member Patawomeck Tribe in March, was a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “The Opening Drive” on Wednesday.
He gave a detailed account of the origin of the term Redskin, why so many people are offended by it, and how political correctness has allowed this story to fester far longer than it should.
“I think that first of all, you have to make a decision whether you consider it offensive or not, and frankly, the members of my tribe, the vast majority, don’t find it offensive,” Green said. “I’ve been a Redskins fan for years and to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change it.” Read the full story here: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/05/29/retired-native-american-chief-would-be-offended-if-redskins-did-change-name/
So why ARE people offended by this word?
The answer, as Robert “Two Eagles” Green, a REAL Native said, “Political Correctness!” Ahhhh the dreaded PC conundrum.The conundrum that has Little Leagues all over the country giving trophies to every kid on the field who didn’t earn it, because we don’t want to “hurt their feelings.”
With polls showing that 95% of Redskins fans opposing a name change, and 90% of “Natives” polled also opposing or taking no position and some even stating they love the name as they feel it is an honor of remembrance, why is this still a debate? Let’s flip and reverse the numbers so this is clear, only 5% of Redskins fans find the name offensive and only 10% of Natives feel the same.
I being of a black, white and Native background is surely the last person to stand for racism against anyone! I am certainly not a hard shell to simply dismiss the concerns of a group, no matter how small. The issue I see here is that more whites seems to be complaining about this name than Natives as very clear from the other various polls that have been taken as well as my various “encounters” on Twitter. So is this push to change the name of the Redskins about being politically correct, or is it more having to do with “white guilt?”
Frankly, I find it amusing that so many whites are taking a stance to change the name of a National Football League team, but seem to waiver when it comes to giving the Natives their land and full rights back. How ironic to “choose” which offences are important. I find it further amusing that whites in this country believe they are in a position to tell another group what should be offensive to them. Take for example the “African American” term. I as most blacks I know, where born right here in the U.S, and have never been to Africa. That offends me, as I’m sure it offends a multitude of white Africans as well.
It has been said that the term “redskin” is to Natives what the term “nigger” is to blacks. There is a slight problem with that theory. The first being that the term “nigger’ in its correct usage, defines an ignorant person which demeans character, not a skin color. Whites started that negative skin related issue. Whereas “redskin” simply defines a skin color; not at all demeaning or defining ones character. Could we have a team called the “blackskins, whiteskins, or yellowskins?” YES! We very well could, IF this country and its bleeding hearts weren’t so politically correct. Since when has defining your “skin color” become offensive? Especially when rallying behind a sports team?
Also intent must be looked at here. If I say “See the black woman over there? Ask her.” Are you offended? But if I say “See that dirty, chicken eating black woman over there? Ask her”, now it has become what can be called a negative “stereotypical” condemnation on race. The same holds true to the Redskins. The name is the Washington Redskins, not the Washington dirty Redskins, or Washington savage Redskins.
The Washington Redskins and the logo representing them is a staple in the NFL; one that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell grew up on himself as a fan! Love em or hate em, they are one of the oldest teams in the NFL. The name so many want to now change, has been used to signify the strength, fighting spirit and courage of the Native American, as shown in the logo of a strong and heroic Native; not a degrading, demeaning cheap shot at them.
So who is leading the fight against the Redskins?
The Oneida Indian Nation based in NY have come full front and center in saying the name “Redskins” is offensive. A little more about the Oneida tribe:
"The Oneida, Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Seneca nations are autonomous members of the Six Nation Confederacy (the Haudenosaunee). The Oneida are about 1000 people (450 adults) in central New York.’
Interestingly enough, you only need 1/4 blood to be a member of the Oneida tribe. Which is to say that most of the Oneidas are probably more white than Native American.
But more astonishing is what Front Page Mag had to say about its “chief” and the voice of this Redskins debate, Ray Halbritter; “
"Ray Halbritter is a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation. But it’s the Oneida Indian Nation Inc. It’s a company with gas stations, a hotel and a casino.
How legitimate is Ray Halbritter’s leadership considering that he basically stepped into a leadership vacuum and cashed in on legal gambling?”
Mr. Halbritter’s initiatives have been criticized by some Oneidas, who say he has violated the Great Law of the Haudenosaunee by embracing gambling. They also fault him for selecting his own clan mothers and for creating a “men’s council,” both unheard of practices in Haudenosaunee tradition.
In 1993, the Grand Council of Chiefs removed Mr. Halbritter as the Oneida wolf clan representative and notified the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that he no longer represented the Oneida people. The decision was accepted by the BIA, only to be reversed 24 hours later, reportedly under pressure from Sherwood Boehlert, the U.S. congressional representative for the area and a casino supporter.
Today the U.S. government but not the Grand Council of Chiefs gives official recognition to the Oneida Indian Nation with Ray Halbritter as its representative.”
Read the full story here:
So you’re telling me a man who may only be 1/4 Native, ousted by the true Oneida Tribe for engaging in his business of gambling, and who does NOT represent the Oneida’s as stated by the Grand Council of Chiefs, is the one “offended” by the name Redskins?
You’re offended by a “name” but not so much so that you can totally disregard your own tribes laws about casino’s and gambling? Does anyone else see an issue with this? I DO!
The disheartening part of this is that there are actually Natives, albeit a small percentage who find the name offensive. However, if I am running a business, implement a change and poll 5000 employees for which 5 disagree, do I merely discount the overwhelming approval of the other 4995 people? This is what were are encountering in this Redskins debacle (and pretty much every debate in America). Mr. Halbritter does not speak for all Native Americans. In fact according to the above referenced article, he is not in a place to even speak for the 450 Oneida Indians he claims to be chief of.
Yet, we still allow the liberal media to make statements such as “Native Americans Fight the Washington Redskins” and perpetrate an overwhelming cry for change that didn’t exist. Even the Supreme Court has dismissed this case because trademarks expired in 1967. Read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/16/court-redskins-logo-name-_n_359192.html
This is a private organization, yet the President and Congress in the middle of something much more pressing, a shut down and pending economic meltdown, are joining the liberal media push. The facts are that the President, Congress or any other government agency is on a slippery slope of interfering with private enterprise business, and really has no power to make the change.
We can not ignore the polls, we can not ignore the fans of this team, and we can not ignore the intent behind the name and logo, one that denounces the negative stereotype placed on Natives by the same people now trying to [fight] a small battle for them.
To the Natives who are offended? What do you tell your children when they ask about the Redskins, the Indians, the Blackhawks and any other sports team utilizing some form of Native culture? You tell them to be PROUD! You tell them that the great fighting spirit and strength of your nations are so appropriately admired by so many in this country. Tell them to never forget their history, but embrace their strength, culture and their brown, yellow or red skin. To never let another man tell them what is offensive to them!
To Ray Halbritter? I say sir you are a disgrace to the entire Oneida Indian Nation. Perhaps you should invest some of your unorthodox “gambling” money into a skybox at Giant’s stadium and catch a game between them and the Washington Redskins! Or perhaps you can start a stance against the “Giant’s” name since people over 6’4 or exceeding 300 lbs may find that name to be as offensive as you say the Redskins are to you. I also say to you that you may wish to confer with other Native tribes about their TRUE stance on this issue, seeing as how their are over 70 sports teams in this country named after the Redskins, including several teams who are Native, like this one; perhaps more “native” than you actually are. I also will go as far as to say with a pending economic crisis looming, you may want to place more focus on your “casinos” as less people may frequent them after losing their jobs.
To the bleeding hearts of America who are bent on taking this country down a road of destruction by pandering to every single individual who finds a problem with how someone SNEEZES? I say to you all: MAN UP! Or PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES! You are raising a society of weak minded individuals who will get trampled on in the global world. Every issue, is not an issue and does NOT require mass media frenzy and a slew of petitions. Sometimes you have to shrug it off and let people have their opinions, without changing the entire world order over that opinion!
And speaking of petitions, while a name change seems far away due to the polls, I have started one for all of those who are PROUD of their heritage, their city and/or the TEAM it represents. Those who do not want to see a history and tradition of 81 years go down the drain because of false, rhetorical, ideology. Let us not forget, many of us have that Native blood and pride in us as well! I for one do not want to see sports teams lose the Native names and logos they have, lest the Natives be forgotten all together!
Here are a couple of others:
#HTTR Hail To The Redskins! Always and forever!
This is my story, and “I’M STICKING TO IT!”