I recently got into a respectful debate with a friend over a petition to force the North Haven Indians to change their “offensive” name (their quotes, not mine). As someone who grew up there, she was attached to the mascot and felt it was a tribute to the culture of Native Americans.
As someone who did not, I find the whole thing rather comical.
I mean, how respectful of a culture can you really be when you keep referring to them as people from an entirely different continent and country.
My suspicion is, “Not very.”
Of course, you can’t blame them, because the Indians is culturally sensitive compared to the amazing fact that The Washington Redskins are actually a huge NFL team who makes millions of dollars and their logo is a fuckin’ red-skinned Native American.
You DO know Redskin is an ethnic slur, right?
There, that’s it. Argument’s over.
I don’t give a fuck about tradition. We used to have traditions banning interracial marriage, integrated schools, and of course, the plight of women voting!
You aren’t celebrating a culture. You’re calling them the fucking Redskins.
If you look into the history of the word, the word Redskin did not begin at a racial slur. In fact, it was a relatively benign term; perhaps even originally used by the Native Americans themselves.
However, as time went on, Anglo-Saxons (that’s white folk!) started to view the Native Americans as a separate, inferior ethnicity to themselves, and “red skin” started to be used as a slur. Even if we don’t see it as a slur, it’s still utterly insane to think it’s appropriate.
You couldn’t have a team called the Yellow Skins or the Black Skins. You know why?
Because it’s fucking racist. Dummy.
And no, Indian is not any better. You know that’s a country, right?
Oh, sure, Redskin is offensive, but Indian isn’t so bad. I mean, yeah, they aren’t technically Indians, but like… what’s the harm, really?
I mean, think about this shit. Part of who you are is where you’re from. If you say you’re from somewhere and then I spend the next several centuries saying, no, fuck you, you are what I say you are, how is that respectful?
Never mind the fact that there is a whole group of people — Indians from a country called India — who are also insulted by this because this isn’t their culture. I don’t give a shit what the ignorant fuckos in the 50’s thought. Those people were dicks. (Remember how they wouldn’t let those pesky blacks into the same schools/bathrooms/water fountains?)
It’s mind-boggling that we continue to use the term Indian to describe people because fucking Christopher Columbus was a moron and we just DOUBLED DOWN on that shit.
Even if we called them Native Americans, we shouldn’t use ethnicity as mascots, people.
Come on. It’s just insane. Native Americans are a cultural and ethnic group. Not a shark or a cowboy. You know how you can tell it’s fucked up that we’re using them as a mascot?
See, if we tried to create a team called the San Francisco Chinamen, that shit would die a death immediately. But using a clearly racist, stereotypical Indian on the Cleveland hate? Eh. It’s fine.
Do you know why it’s fine?
Because we fucking killed all the Native Americans and there’s so few left they can’t even mount a solid political lobby to fight back. That’s it. Genocide works.
If you kill enough people, there’s nobody left to complain. Of course all the non-Native Americans in DC think it’s fine. Even if half the Native Americans thought it was fine, there’s still a whole group of Native Americans who don’t want to be used as a fucking mascot.
That’s it. Period. End of story. There isn’t any more argument. If a group of people asks you to stop mocking them, you can’t answer, “But it’s tradition.” So is being a dick I guess.
Who are we to “honor” Native Americans by slapping their culture on a $100 jersey?
Even if you don’t think the term “Redskin” or “Indian” is racist and/or utterly ignorant… even if you think you’re honoring Native Americans with team names like the Braves or the Blackhawks…
Who the fuck are you to “honor” a cultural group by deciding what should represent that cultural group? So the owner of the Redskins gets to decide what denotes Native American honor? He gets to tell us what makes a good Native American?
That’s the saddest part. We treated this group of people so badly for so long, and now that we finally realize it, we still can’t help but totally disregard their desires because eh, fuck it, they’re the Washington Redskins, sorry dudes. That’s just how it is.
Redskins, change your fucking name. Indians, change your fucking name.
I’m sorry, North Haven, but you’re not honoring anybody and I don’t care what your team used to be called. I don’t even care if you don’t know what an Indian is, apparently.
If you have to choose between tradition and respecting people, always choose respecting people.
Unless they’re Cowboys fans. Because fuck that shit.