Category Archives: Segregation

Keeping racism alive: the unintended consequences of the “Redskins” name change

How do you feel when someone says “Go Redskins Go!”? Does it make you feel red with hatred? Does it induce feelings of devaluation of a human being?

If you answered “Yes!” to the questions above with an excited enthusiasm, then my friend, perhaps you haven’t thought it through from a post racial standpoint.

First, understand that I am not an insensitive person. In fact, much to the contrary, I am a very passionate promoter of equality in our society. I also believe that the historic treatment of the indigenous people of America, often referred to as “Native Americans” and “American Indians” is a horrific example of the darkest of sides of humanity which ranks equally on the level with the introduction and perpetuation of slavery in this nation’s history. The historical record of the manipulation, trickery, abuse and murder of the indigenous people is clear as day. What happened to them is a travesty and is unforgivable.

That being said, we as a nation have come light years beyond that sort of de-humanization of another race of people. We have built our society around the constantly evolving principles that “all men are created equal” and have transitioned generation after generation into a much more diverse melting pot of a collective community. There is no longer a great fear of being ostracized and mistreated because of the color of your skin or the nature of your culture in this great nation of ours.

Yes, let me stop you now before that vein in your forehead bursts. I understand and will not debate with you the existence in the shadows of our society of those ignorant few whom still believe in a “better race” and who still believe in “inferior” human beings. I hereby acknowledge their unwelcome and inevitable existence within our society and will not make the unrealistic statement that they will ever truly dissolve into extinction. I will, however, point to the fact that their numbers and social presence has dwindled and shrunk generation after generation and they are now little more than a small pea-sized stain on the king-sized bed sheet that is our complete society. In other words, they make up a small enough portion of our society that they can no longer make an impact on our lives or the lives of our community unless we allow them to do so. We can now effectively ignore them and dismiss them as ignorant and ineffective.

So, how was it you felt about the NFL team name the “Redskins” again? Oh yea, uncomfortable and offended. Well let’s look at it from a more updated and logical perspective and see if this makes a little sense to you:

If you ask your children, sitting there on the couch this Sunday watching the game next to daddy and munching on popcorn and nachos and enjoying their favorite bottle of root beer, “kids, who are the ‘Redskins’?” What do you think there answer would be? Do you think their answer will be “they is ingins who is red skinned and savages who we’s should shoot and takes their land”? If that is their answer, you have not only failed as a parent, you have somehow traveled through time hundreds of years to a much different culture of our society.

The point is, racism and thoughts of inequality are taught, and not a part of natural thought. Your children in their natural and uncorrupted state are going to answer simply “a footsball team”. Why is that? Because that is what they are! That is what the “Redskins” now means unless “we” make the word mean something else.

My friends, don’t you understand that sometimes by creating controversy like the recent Redskins name controversy we are actually perpetuating racism and inequality? Logically, doesn’t it make sense that if we no longer remind people of the perhaps ignorant and bigoted connotations that were associated with a word or nickname hundreds of years ago then the word, like ourselves, is given the opportunity to evolve?

Think about this: if anyone had come up to you on the street before this new controversy was water cooler talk and asked you “hey, did you see those redskins last weekend?” there is absolutely zero chance you would have automatically thought they were using a racial nickname to describe a group of people from the past weekend. You would have immediately responded with whether or not you watched the NFL broadcast of the team from D.C. (Or you know nothing of football but still would have made an assumption that they were referencing a sports team of some sort).

Here is the bottom line: sometimes pointing out the historic negativity associated with something only keeps that negativity from ever going away. Sometimes, my friends, by getting so focused on looking for resolution to something that isn’t truly in need of one, you’ve come part of the problem.

If you don’t believe me, then maybe you’d rather hear it from the Southpark boys:

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s04e08-chef-goes-nanners

It’s funny how the fourth graders sometimes have a way of seeing things more logically than the average adult.

I’d love to hear from you! Please take a second to show how this post made you feel with a few clicks below and by all means feel free to leave a comment, even if you disagree, but especially if you think this post helped you see things from a different perspective. Thanks for coming by and I look forward to providing many more posts.

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