Originally Posted by Hookem Horns
I don't think people supporting the name "Redskins" are racists. Most (including Snyder) are sentimental to the name because they grew up Redskins fans and to them it's just the name of their team. The same way many of us had a connection to the Oilers name.
However that said, there is no denying the name is a slur. It is what many whites called Native Americans back in days of the Indian wars.
The "redskin" to most whites back then was the enemy. A threat. They weren't viewed as honorable people, but redskin savages.
I don't think the name was given to the team to honor Indians either. It was more than likely taking the villain mascot approach. "We're the nasty Redskins coming for your scalp!".
To me the name is comparable to "Japs". "Japs" and "Nips" are what Americans labeled the enemy Japanese during WWII. That generation continued using "Japs" and "Nips" to refer to Japanese people. However you couldn't name a team "Japs" nowadays as it's considered slur.
Great post, man.
My own perspective is not from being offended. I've said it many times before, but words do not offend me. I've got thick reptilian skin about these kinds of things and don't sweat most of it. I get offended by actions (i..e. rape, genocide, child abuse, etc.).
That said, this matter is one of principle for me. The simple fact is that all respected dictionaries reveal that the name is a racial slur. Take that and consider the deplorable treatment by native peoples by our government throughout its history, and it's a no brainer for me.
I've talked with a lot of Native Americans (through BSA's Order of the Arrow) about this subject, and there seems to be a general consensus against the name (and really against the stereotypical image of the war bonnet, which is highly revered in Indian cultures).
However, none of them that I talked with trust the government and do not want government action to force a change. They would rather it change 'organically' as a result of a shift in public attitudes. Seeing the government FORCE someone to do something reminds them of a very ugly history of government coercion by force. It makes sense.
Interesting that some of the most patriotic and fiercely loyal people to this country I have ever met are Native Americans. They might dislike government, but they certainly love this country.