Posted on August 31, 2014
Don’t Gimme An “N”
“Redskins” is nothing like the “N-word”
If you’ve watched any media panel discussions about the Washington Redskins’ nickname, you’ve noticed that the typical, knee-jerk liberal response is, “Calling a team the Redskins is no different from calling it the N-word.” A more honest critic would stop to wonder why that’s never been done.
It can’t be that people have been more sensitive about offending blacks than Indians. Back when many sports teams were given their nicknames, nobody would have guessed that a racial slur would one day be censored as “the N-word.” The football team previously known as the Boston Redskins was christened in 1933, back when cartoons, radio shows and other pop media were totally unrestrained in their willingness to denigrate black people. There was obviously no stigma against racism toward blacks in those days, so why wouldn’t somebody have named his sports team “the N-word”?
Because it’s an insult, that’s why. A sports team does not select a nickname for the purpose of adopting its negative connotations. Yet the politically correct wonks at the U.S. patent office, when they called the Redskins name “disparaging,” must have believed that the football team meant to disparage itself.
The debate ought to end right there. If anyone questions whether the Redskins name is disparaging, or “hostile and abusive” in NCAA lingo, the immediate answer should be that it must not be, otherwise the team would never have adopted the nickname. No team owner is going to name his team something he views disrespectfully. That’s why you don’t see any sports teams with names like the Telemarketers, the Manson Family or the In-Laws. It’s also why a vast majority of fans, including American Indians, have absolutely no problem with the Redskins name.
What makes this difficult to explain to liberals is that the legitimacy of the disparagement charge depends on the intention of whomever assigned the nickname, whereas liberals feel that everything is about themselves, and is therefore defined by their perception. It doesn’t matter how illogical it is to believe that someone who hates Indians would want a picture of an Indian on practically everything he owns. The important thing is that a liberal’s taking offense to the name Redskins makes him feel superior, therefore Redskins must be disparaging.
By demanding the elimination of allegedly “disparaging” or “hostile and abusive” nicknames, the liberal news media and the even more liberal sports media are essentially nailing a “Whites Only” sign on the team mascots’ locker room door. When confronted with this unintentional outcome, they’re bound to decide, out of “fairness,” that all human sports mascots ought to be banned.
Take the Dallas Cowboys, for instance. As we remember from the Reagan and G.W. Bush years, liberals use the term “cowboy” disparagingly. Besides, did anybody conduct a poll among the “rustic community” to make sure they unanimously approved?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last year, “If one person is offended, we have to listen,” but evidently that doesn’t apply to those who are offended by hollow liberal sanctimony. As long as the aim is to avoid offending liberals, there’s practically no end to it. Even if all human mascots were stamped out, there are those animal liberation zealots who have argued that naming teams after animals is exploitative.
It doesn’t matter how irrational that is. The important thing is that someone is offended, so Goodell and others who subscribe to the one-offended-liberal rule have got to treat it like a serious matter. Before much longer, we’ll find ourselves watching a game between the Seattle Sustainability and the New Orleans Bicuriosity. Then again, few of us would watch any such thing, which may be the entire point.
Liberals are doing to football what Marge Simpson did to Itchy & Scratchy. They’re perfectly willing to destroy the product as long as it fails to conform to their worldview. To them, football is a mean game in which people get hurt. The players say unkind things to hurt each other’s feelings, and even seize territory by force, without intervention from a conflict resolution team. Wouldn’t it be much better if both teams could share the football, and work together toward a common goal?
Of course it wouldn’t, which explains everything. Liberals live for the purpose of spoiling everyone else’s fun, because exercising the ability to do so is the one thing that liberals themselves have fun doing. Feeding that power through a series of incremental concessions isn’t going to slow down their onslaught, any more than a prevent defense prevents the opposing team from scoring.
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