Re: Should the Redskins change their name?
Does anybody remember Little Black Sambo? I loved that book when I was a kid.
When the author originally wrote that book (back in the late 1800's) from what I understand, she wasn't trying to be derogatory. The story itself took place in Southern India and Sambo wasn't African-American, he was Tamil (which is a nationality/group of people in India). But that didn't stop the book from becoming perceived as racist over time in most places (except Japan, for some reason.)
There was a chain of restaurants from the 60's called Sambo's (based off the names of the owners Sam and Bo) and the racist perception of the name Sambo led to the chain closing down in the early 80's.
And then there's the evolution of the word "gay" from happy to homosexual.
So, for me, the original intent of the name, whether it was meant to be good or bad, doesn't really matter.
Unfortunately, with Racism, the majority can't tell how the minority feels and can't tell the minority how they should feel.
I'm an aging white male but I've had brushes with racism because my name is frequently perceived to be that of a black man. When I was a kid (back in the 60's), my mother tried to enroll me (over the phone) in a "swim club" that all my friends were joining. When the Swim Club denied me entrance over some obviously BS reason, my mom got pissed and we went over there so she could give them a piece of her mind. When they saw us, they actually said, "Oh. You're white. No problem, then. Sign here."
I've seen and experienced similar things since then. So I know it's out there and I know that for the most part, the majority doesn't see it and can't quite conceive that it's actually there.
The minority (whatever that minority is) can get overly touchy and start to perceive slights and insults where none were intended but they get that way not because they're paranoid and overly sensitive, but because they've had to endure this sort of BS.
BUT... like Sambo... something like "The Redskins" or "The Braves" isn't going to change until those words start to be perceived by large swathes of the community as an insult. And there are nowhere near enough people who perceive it that way at this time.
Personally, when I was growing up, I always wanted to be an American Indian. When we played Cowboys and Indians, I was the Indian. My dad swore up and down that we were about 1/8th Mingo Iroquois but I'm pretty sure he was saying that just to be cool.