One of the biggest debates in sports these days, so big that even President Obama weighed in, is whether the Washington Redskins of the National Football League should change their nickname because Redskin is offensive to Native Americans.
The debate should be a non-debate. The word Redskin is clearly offensive and the name should be changed, simple as that. I've heard some people defend the name by saying things like, "I don't know anyone that hates the word redskin." Yeah. Because you don't know any Native Americans. You live in Baltimore. You work as a plumber. Just because you don't know a person that thinks something is offensive doesn't make it not offensive. I don't know anyone that rides a camel but I'm still positive the phrase camel jockey is wildly offensive.
Calling a Native American a redskin has the same connotation as calling an African American person the n-word, but we don't think of it in those terms because we don't hear Native Americans complaining about the word because we killed practically all of them. While the exact number of Native Americans in North America pre-European contact is debated, most historians agree it was in the range of 10 - 18 million. Now Native Americans make up only about 1 percent of the United States population. You don't hear many of them complaining about the word redskin because you don't hear many of them ever, period. We won white people. How about we not rub it in with a racial slur?
I was watching a news reporter interview people on the streets in Washington, D.C. to get the common person's opinion, the beat on the street, and one guy said, "Redskin doesn't offend me. No one's ever called me a Redskin." And he was a rich white kid named Chad. The only thing people call Chad is "privileged."
If the Washington Redskins insist on keeping their name, we could always level the offensive playing field by renaming some other professional sports teams. How about the Boston Red Sox becoming the Boston Micks, the New York Giants switching to the New York Jew Noses, or the San Francisco 49ers changing to the San Francisco Queer Bags? Oh wait, that wouldn't go over well? Then, let's change the name Redskin.