I don’t think [the team] should change it. But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”
–Jeb Bush, 2016 Presidential Candidate, referring to the Washington Redskins.
Well, there’s that for your daily dose of ignorance. Although it seems obvious to me why sports teams should not use Native peoples’ images as their mascots, I want to provide some background. So that our ignorant friends like Jeb can get the damn picture.
I read an article written by Baxter Holmes in June of 2014 recently in which he perfectly illustrates why it is not ok, and furthermore is problematic, that teams like the Washington Redskins will not change their name and mascot.
Holmes refers to himself as a proud Native American of Cherokee and Choctaw lineage. He explains what the historical meaning of the term “redskin” is here:
The story in my family goes that the term dates back to the institutionalized genocide of Native Americans, most notably when the Massachusetts colonial government placed a bounty on their heads. The grisly particulars of that genocide are listed in a 1755 document called the Phips Proclamation, which zeroed in on the Penobscot Indians, a tribe today based in Maine.
Spencer Phips, a British politician and then Lieutenant Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Province, issued the call, ordering on behalf of British King George II for, “His Majesty’s subjects to Embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.” They paid well – 50 pounds for adult male scalps; 25 for adult female scalps; and 20 for scalps of boys and girls under age 12.
These bloody scalps were known as ‘redskins.’ “
Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, refuses to change the name. He’s actually referred to their team name as a “badge of honor” and stated that “we’ll never change the name. it’s as simple as that.”
Mr. Holmes concludes strongly in his article,
The team has had the Redskins name since 1933, when it was based in Boston, so it’s easy to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” But if America “always did it this way,” then terms like “Wetback,” “Negro,” and its much uglier cousin would still be a part of our lexicon. We learn.
Ahhh, yes. He is right. We learn. We should apologize (Did you know the United States government has NEVER apologized formally to Native People for the way in which they were treated?! WHAT DA FUQ). And we change. We grow.
So, Jeb Bush and Dan Snyder…grow the f*ck up and stop being ignorant assholes. You, your white privilege, and ignorance repulse me.
Peace and love friends,