There is progress and then there is stubborn ignorance. Progress is a gradual change that occurs in response to injustice or bigotry; stubborn ignorance is rejecting progress that has already occurred, and instead sticking by outdated sensibilities because you're too damn lazy to change.
Congratulations, 79 percent of America, you are stubbornly ignorant.
According to a new poll conducted by the AP, 79 percent of Americans are in favor of the Washington Redskins keeping their name. Eleven percent of respondents said they should change the name, and 8 percent weren't sure whether the nation's capital should keep referring to its football team with a racial slur.
One respondent from Osceola, Indiana spoke in defense of the name, saying, "That's who they've been forever. That's who they're known as ... I think we as a people make race out to be a bigger issue than it is."
Well, the majority of horrible human-created atrocities throughout history have in part been race-related, but hey, you're right, it's all good.
But can we perhaps at least acknowledge that calling a sports team "The Redskins" is textbook racism?
I mean, literally -- if you look up the word Redskin in the dictionary, it's defined simply as, "Used as a disparaging term for a Native American." This isn't even really debatable, the name is offensive not because of any sort of allusion or interpretation -- it's defined as a racial slur.
This isn't even a borderline case, guys. Given our long history of mistreatment of Native Americans -- much of which has been institutionalized by people based in our nation's capital -- naming a team with any reference to that culture is a ballsy proposition. But to not only do that, but to make the name a straight-up derogatory slur and then decide decades later to overwhelmingly stand by it just because "it's been around a while," is just completely absurd.
But alas, bring on the weak slippery slope arguments about how we'll have to change the name for everything if we decide to stop using the moniker "Redskins."
First of all, so what? It's a sports team name, not a constitutional amendment. Buy a new jersey.
Arkansas State changed their team mascot from the Indians to the Red Wolves in 2008, and the world continued revolving.
Other schools and teams institute Native American-themed mascots, but none of them stand behind a moniker defined as a racial slur. Yes, Florida State's mascot is the Seminoles, but that name is used with the blessing of the Seminole tribe. The Redskins don't represent a tribe, just a shameful sensibility.
Of course, as many point to, the team name itself has been around for a long time. It came about in 1937 -- you know, that shining period of racial tolerance in our world's history -- and managed to stick from there.
So, in recognition of how long it has been around, many fans want to put aside what they know to be a derogatory name in order to protect the franchise's tradition.
Tradition of what? Being a super awful football team with a terrible name? You haven't won a Super Bowl since Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were recording hits. You haven't won a playoff game since George W. Bush stumbled through his second inaugural address. If anything, your franchise should jump at the opportunity to re-brand itself.
Last year you introduced a very talented budding superstar in Robert Griffin III, not to mention an all-world running back in Alfred Morris. Everybody recognizes that this is the beginning of a new era of successful football in D.C., so why wouldn't this be the optimal time to change an outdated, racist, losing name while embracing the franchise's new start?
Some think we should poll Native Americans to see if they find the name offensive and then perhaps change it based on those results.
Why should we have to go through the painfully embarrassing process of asking Native Americans if a phrase that the dictionary deems offensive is in fact offensive to them? Would any of you go up to a Native American and say, "Hey Redskin... it's cool if I call you Redskin, right?" No, I'm guessing not, because that would be incredibly stupid, but based on these poll results, I wouldn't be shocked if it crossed a few people's minds as a good idea.
Seriously, when did simply being respectful of other people become such a shameful thing? Maybe the reason people want this name changed isn't because they're bleeding heart activists or sensitive wimps. Maybe the reason we should change this name is because it would be a nice thing to do.
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