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The Official ES All Things Redskins Name Change Thread (Reboot Edition---Read New OP)


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I'm starting to think the Reilly did more harm than good with that article. I am for keeping the name but was cringing while reading that article. I thought it was a terrible defense. Comparing the Redskins name to atheists offended by the New Orleans Saints. Really?!

He did that for a reason. To show how ridiculous the anti Redskins crowd is being.

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If the issue is pejoration of the original non racist meaning wouldn't reversing of that also be in effect? (ie no one uses Redskins as a pejorative term anymore).  Bottomline some pejorative use was used for about 70 years after a previously non-pejorative use for about 200 years, and now 80 plus years of non-pejorative use.</p>

";Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard spent seven months researching its history and concluded that "redskin" was first used by Native Americans in the 18th century to distinguish themselves from the white "other" encroaching on their lands and culture.</p>

When it first appeared as an English expression in the early 1800s,

it came in the most respectful context and at the highest level," Goddard said in an interview.

These are white people and Indians talking together, with the white people trying to ingratiate themselves<p>It was not until July 22, 1815, that "red skin" first appeared in print, he found -- in a news story in the Missouri Gazette on talks between Midwestern Indian tribes and envoys sent by President James Madison to negotiate treaties after the War of 1812<p>......Evidence cited by Harjo and others has pointed to a much harsher origin for "redskin," but Goddard, a linguist who studies the Algonquian language of northeastern North America, casts doubt on much of it. "While people seem to be happier with the agonistic interpretation of past events," he said, "when you get on the ground, the real story is much more complicated and much more interesting."</p>

Reporting his findings in the European Review of Native American Studies, Goddard noted that the first appearance of the word was long thought to have occurred in a 1699 letter written by "Samuel Smith," quoted in a 1900 memoir by his descendant, Helen Evertson Smith, titled "Colonial Days & Ways.

;My father ever declardt there would not be so much to feare iff ye Red Skins was treated with suche mixture of Justice & Authority as they cld understand," the purported letter said. Another part of the letter is quoted in the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary as the etymological origin of

When Goddard studied the letter, however, he concluded it was a fake: "The language was Hollywood. . . . It didn't look like the way people really wrote

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/02/AR2005100201139.html

Edited by nonniey
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I honestly don't know what percentage of Native Americans are offended by the name. We're talking about the most mariginalized group in the history of American society. I've seen polls all over the map on this subject.

 

Really? I've seen one poll. Exactly one. Could you mention some of the ones that are "all over the map"?

 

Regardless, I find the idea that we can write off slurs, marginalization, etc via popular vote to be problematic.

 

That's funny. I find the idea that someone can claim that something is offensive, when the people in question say it isn't, (and by an 10 to 1 margin), to be offensive, patronizing, and dishonest.

Edited by Larry
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OED definition:

 

Definition of redskin in English

 

redskin

Syllabification: (red·skin)

 

Pronunciation: /ˈredˌskin/

Oooh, excellent.

Somebody else has taken up the reins of the "Well, if you take the phrase 'The Washington Redskins', take the word 'Redskins' out of it, move it to a different context and a different sentence, then it's offensive. And look! I've got proof that it's offensive in that other context." banner.

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I'm generally uncomfortable with all "Indian" sport names. I tend to call the Redskins "The Skins" (though I'm sure you can find examples of me not doing that) for similar reasons that Doc Walker calls them "The Burgandy and Gold."

 

Do I think it's a slur? No. A slur has to have intent. 99.9 percent of people aren't even thinking of Native Americans when they say it. This is not in the category of Chief Wahoo.

 

Do I think it is an offensive word? Absolutely. I mean, in every dictionary I've read it is listed as "offensive." I would never use it as a nickname for someone. I can't imagine a modern context where it is appropriate to use it outside of talking about the football team.

 

You can make the argument that the intent is not offensive. You can't win the argument on the word itself.

 

By the way, this isn't a brand new conversation. Deadspin found a decade-old column from Rick Reilly where he talked about the Native American nicknames and came to largely a different conclusion. When I was in college, nearly all the Native American nicknames vanished. Hell, Dartmouth - not exactly a bastion of political correctness - dropped the Indians monikier in 1974. I remember as a teenager, there was a company selling "Cleveland Darkies" and "New York N-----" pennants. This is a discussion that has been going on for 40 years.

 

Like any of these discussions, a tipping point is reached. I think we are in that zone now.

 

Thanks for taking up the mantle of reasoned discussion on this.  Good luck to you.  

 

Warning: it really is like going to a NASCAR event and trying to objectively discuss whether the Dixie Battle Flag is an appropriate or inappropriate symbol in the year 2013.   Your audience is standing there surrounded by those flags, and they will start out at the very beginning of the conversation resenting the hell out of the fact that the question would even be asked, and understandably so because they aren't bad people.    

 

We Redskins fans are not racists, and the fact that the word 'Redskin"  is defined in every dictionary as an offensive term nowadays is meaningless to us, because we genuinely don't intend to offend when we use it.   We are only referring to our football team, and only in respectful and supportive way.  So suggesting that the word is dated or offensive feels like a personal attack, made by outside people who don't understand us and who are more or less calling us racists, and it makes people angry and dig in their heels, and I understand why that is.  

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Oooh, excellent.

Somebody else has taken up the reins of the "Well, if you take the phrase 'The Washington Redskins', take the word 'Redskins' out of it, move it to a different context and a different sentence, then it's offensive. And look! I've got proof that it's offensive in that other context." banner.

 

Larry, that is a counterpoint, but it is not a complete refutation of the original point.  

 

The fact that the word "redskin" is generally understood to be offensive outside the context of referring to the professional football team is relevant to the discussion of whether a professional football team is appropriate in using that word as their nickname.  

 

The fact that none of us would call a living Native American human being a "redskin" anymore is relevant to the discussion.  

 

It may not definitively resolve the question, but it is relevant.    

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Larry, that is a counterpoint, but it is not a complete refutation of the original point.  

 

The fact that the word "redskin" is generally understood to be offensive outside the context of referring to the professional football team is relevant to the discussion of whether a professional football team is appropriate in using that word as their nickname.  

Not every dictionary.  I had an old dictionary from the 80s that didn't define it as offensive.  I remember looking it up a few years ago.  Chances are modern dictionaries are written by English majors who are bleeding hearts and easily get caught up in PCness. 

Edited by War Paint
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Not every dictionary.  I had an old dictionary from the 80s that didn't define it as offensive.  I remember looking it up a few years ago.  Chances are modern dictionaries are written by English majors who are bleeding hearts who easily get caught up in PCness. 

 

I dunno.  When dozens of dictionaries all pretty much say the same thing, the chances are that every one of them is infected by "PCness" seems less likely to me than the chance that they all reflect the same reality that exists in 2013.  

 

http://www.onelook.com/?ls=b&fc=all_gen&q=Redskin

 

interestingly, one dictionary that doesn't even suggest that the name might be questionable is the one edited by my alma mater.   heheh

 

 

Anyhow, the appropriateness of using the term "a colored" to refer to a black man has changed over time, from acceptable to unacceptable.   It's not the N-word, but it's no longer considered appropriate.  Why wouldn't this be the same sort of thing? 

 

I know that I wouldn't call a Native American a "redskin" to his face.     

Edited by Predicto
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The fact that the word "redskin" is generally understood to be offensive outside the context of referring to the professional football team . . .

 

. . . is completely irrelevant to the discussion of whether it's offensive in the context of the professional football team.

 

The word "boy" is offensive, when used in the sentence "You got a problem with your hearing, boy?" 

 

The line to demand that "The Boy Scouts" change their name, because it's a racial insult, forms over there. 

 

You looked up the dictionary definition of the word "oreo"? 

 

I suspect that very few of us would call a black man "oreo" to his face, either.  (Although, some of our members, if they're talking about Obama, I'm not so certain of.) 

 

This proves that referring to a Double Stuff cookie is offensive, exactly how? 

 

----------

 

The topic of discussion, is "Is the phrase 'The Washington Redskins' offensive?" 

 

Not "is it possible to use the word 'Redskin' in an offensive sentence?" 

 

And all of this "well, let's pretend that the question is something else" is simply a way of avoiding the unchallenged fact that the answer to the question being discussed is "No". 

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. . . is completely irrelevant to the discussion of whether it's offensive in the context of the professional football team.

 

The word "boy" is offensive, when used in the sentence "You got a problem with your hearing, boy?" 

 

The line to demand that "The Boy Scouts" change their name, because it's a racial insult, forms over there. 

 

You looked up the dictionary definition of the word "oreo"? 

 

I suspect that very few of us would call a black man "oreo" to his face, either.  (Although, some of our members, if they're talking about Obama, I'm not so certain of.) 

 

This proves that referring to a Double Stuff cookie is offensive, exactly how? 

 

----------

 

The topic of discussion, is "Is the phrase 'The Washington Redskins' offensive?" 

 

Not "is it possible to use the word 'Redskin' in an offensive sentence?" 

 

And all of this "well, let's pretend that the question is something else" is simply a way of avoiding the unchallenged fact that the answer to the question being discussed is "No". 

 

I consider this sophistry.

 

The Washington Redskins football team uses a Native American face as its logo and refers to Native American imagery in its fight song.   The connection is clear, and intended.

 

The two definitions of "oreo" to which you refer are unconnected.  For your argument to work, you would have to demonstrate that it would not be questionable for Nabisco to market a product called an "oreo" while using a picture of a black man in a suit on the package rather than a cookie.

I think what is offensive is to be defined by those it offends.

 

~Bang

 

That has always been the best argument in favor of keeping the name.  

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I know that I wouldn't call a Native American a "redskin" to his face.     

Going up to a stranger's face and calling them anything is going to be an awkward moment that could start trouble.  You could go up and get in a stranger's face and call them "mashed potatoes" and they will get into a defensive mindset.  If someone from the south with a southern accent went up to a native NYer's face and called them a "Yankee", a fight might break out.

I'm offended by those who say my team's name is offensive.

Edited by War Paint
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I dunno.  When dozens of dictionaries all pretty much say the same thing, the chances are that every one of them is infected by "PCness" seems less likely to me than the chance that they all reflect the same reality that exists in 2013.

The reality that dictionaries do not reference proper nouns, and therefore, the dictionary only defines what the word means when it is not referring to the football team?

You know, that's why none of those dictionaries have a definition

"2) A professional football team"?

All your dictionaries say is "When the word 'Redskin' isn't referring to a football team, it usually means . . . "

In short, it's a pretty good authority, if you want to support your claim that calling a NA 'redskin' might offend him.

Unfortunately, that's not the topic being discussed.

No one is arguing that UnWise Mike, if he ever writes an article about a Native American athlete, probably should refrain from referring to him as a "redskin". (Lower case 'R').

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Going up to a stranger's face and calling them anything is going to be an awkward moment that could start trouble.  You could go up and get in a stranger's face and call them "mashed potatoes" and they will get into a defensive mindset.  If someone from the south with a southern accent went up to a native NYer's face and called them a "Yankee", a fight might break out.

I'm offended by those who say my team's name is offensive.

 

I understand that, as I explained in post 1011.

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The reality that dictionaries do not reference proper nouns, and therefore, the dictionary only defines what the word means when it is not referring to the football team?

You know, that's why none of those dictionaries have a definition

"2) A professional football team"?

All your dictionaries say is "When the word 'Redskin' isn't referring to a football team, it usually means . . . "

In short, it's a pretty good authority, if you want to support your claim that calling a NA 'redskin' might offend him.

Unfortunately, that's not the topic being discussed.

No one is arguing that UnWise Mike, if he ever writes an article about a Native American athlete, probably should refrain from referring to him as a "redskin". (Lower case 'R').

 

It's an artificial distinction, Larry.  

 

Yes, the "Washington Redskins" refers to a specific football team AND the word also is an archaic term for Native Americans.  But the choice to call this football team the "Redskins" as opposed to the the "Senators" or the "Hyenas" or the "Papayas" is because George Preston Marshall decided to evoke Native American imagery in the logo and the fight song, and so forth.  The name is deliberately intended to evoke Native Americans.  The logo is a Native American face, not a redskin potato.  

 

No team name exists in a vacuum, completely independent of the meaning from which it is derived and which it is deliberately intended to invoke.   That makes no sense at all.

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 "The logo is a Native American face, not a redskin potato."

 

and the reason for this?

 

 

 

So does Walter Wetzel, former chairman of the Blackfoot tribe and president
of the National Congress of American Indians in the 1960s. By the early
'60s, the Redskins had dropped any reference to Indians in their logo,
uniforms and merchandise. Wetzel went to the Redskins office with photos of
Indians in full headdress.

"I said, 'I'd like to see an Indian on your helmets,' " which then sported
a big "R" as the team logo, remembers Wetzel, now 86 and retired in
Montana. Within weeks, the Redskins had a new logo, a composite Indian
taken from the features in Wetzel's pictures. "It made us all so proud to
have an Indian on a big-time team. . . . It's only a small group of
radicals who oppose those names. Indians are proud of Indians."

 

Taken from "American Indians Among Admirers of Redskins Name"-WP Marc Fisher 2002



http://www.behance.net/gallery/Washington-Warriors-(Redskins-Redesign)/6552585

 

 

I've already heard rumblings that if we changed the team name to "Warriors," it would also be not-PC due to certain native american groups not wanting to be associated with violence.

 

Either way, check the link for what uniforms might look like. Opinions?

Yeah...that W logo looks like it's giving me the finger

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 "The logo is a Native American face, not a redskin potato."

 

and the reason for this?

 

You are correct.  The logo is a Native American and the name "Washington Redskins" is intended to be a reference to Native Americans.   And yes, neither of them was or is intended to be dishonorable or disrespectful in any way by the team or by us fans, but that's not what I was talking about.  

 

I don't think it is reasonable to claim that the team name "Washington Redskins" has nothing to do with the corresponding archaic noun once used to refer to Native Americans (but not used much anymore in polite company).  You can't just define away the problem like that and pretend you are done.   

 

Well, I guess theoretically you can convince yourself that the argument is valid and resolves everything, but don't be surprised when virtually no one who isn't already a Redskins diehard thinks it makes any sense at all. 

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you know that activists like amanda blackhorse want names like 'warriors' abolished too.

 

what then?

 

Frankly, I don't know much about her, and I don't expect her to go away no matter what happens.   I would expect her to turn her attention to the Chief Wahoo cartoon logo next.  

 

Nevertheless, I suspect that the reason she is getting attention right NOW, on THIS particular issue, is because there is a kernel of truth to what she is saying with regard to the word "Redskin," and that kernel of truth resonates with people who are not professional activists like her.  It's a weird word to use in 2013. 

 

In other words, even if I didn't like her and didn't want her to win, I also don't want to be an Archie Bunker about this issue just because she is one of the people bringing it up and she wants go go further.    

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