The battle over the name of the Washington Redskins has bubbled back to the surface again. The DC city council is getting ready to vote on a proposal that could force the NFL team to stop using the name and ban it from any future trademarks. Is this political correctness run amok or is it sensitivity to an entire race of people...the indigenous people of this continent, no less? I honestly can't believe that anyone can use the word 'redskins' and NOT know that it's offensive to Native Americans...as offensive as the N-word is to African Americans. I you think it's okay, why don't we have teams like the Brooklyn Darkies or the Skokie Jewboys or the San Francisco Fairies. Those all used to be well-used terms for those groups. They were derogatory at the time and they're even more derogatory now. So is 'Redskins'. People who are fans of the team will say it's just tradition and to them it's just a name without the racial hatred attached. We had lots of other traditions in this country that have fallen by the wayside, like forcing blacks to drink from separate fountains, not allowing women to vote or not allowing bi-racial couples to wed. But, through time, we realized how backwards those traditions were and did away with them. Isn't it time to do the same with Washington's team name?
To be honest, I went to the University of Illinois, where our name is the Fighting Illini...and our mascot was Chief Illiniwek. We would come out at halftime with the marching band, do a routine and leave the field. Yes, he was dressed traditionally with full headdress, but he wasn't a characterture and it had the approval of the Illini Nation. I always felt pride in that and loved The Chief, although the NCAA forced the school to get rid of the Chief but let the name intact. I felt it was an homage to the natives that inhabited the plains in centuries past. Redskins fans will say the same about their team...but how can you be paying tribute when the very word you're using is the most hateful term you can use for a Native American?
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