Here's a myth: That the push to change the Washington Redskins nickname is something new. As a matter of fact, Native Americans have always been offended by the name. Sadly, they didn't have the political or the economic voice to be heard. It's like saying, "Well, if you didn't like duct tape I put over your mouth, then why didn't you just say something?"
This is not a matter of "political correctness." This is about righting a wrong. This is about changing an ugly, misunderstood aspect of our culture. This is about firing Coach Mike Shanahan for keeping RG3 in at the end of that playoff game last season. But also, this is about tolerance and fairness. And whether you're whiteskin or blackskin or yellowskin, straightskin or gayskin, circumcised or foreskin, I think we can all get behind "tolerance."
I've heard people say, "Native Americans don't think the Redskins name is offensive." But you'll never hear anyone say, "Redskins don't think the Redskins name is offensive." That's because "Redskins" is an offensive name. When an NFL team wins the Super Bowl, the players are invited to the White House to meet the president. If the Redskins win the Super Bowl, nobody in the media would even think to say, "The team is meeting with our nation's first blackskin president." That would sound terrible. Rather, people in the media would say, "How the hell did the Redskins win the Super Bowl?! They finished the season 5-11."
Some people have said that the Redskins nickname is about "tradition." But what's so great about tradition? Traditionally, the players wore leather helmets. I know of nobody who still supports that tradition. Traditionally, people used to watch football games on black and white television sets. What's that? You don't want to watch TV in black and white? Why not? Because it's 2013? Exactly. It's 2013; we don't name sports teams after racial slurs anymore.
If the Redskins changed their team name to, oh, I don't know... is there any big cat name that hasn't been taken yet? Let me think. Okay, there's the Lions, the Bengals, the Panthers, the Jaguars. How about the Cheetahs? If the Redskins changed their team name to the Cheetahs, I predict the Washington football fans will be just fine. Sometimes you have to replace "tradition" with "get a life and move on."
People watch football for the non-stop brutal violence. I know I do. Whether your NFL team is named the Redskins or the Cheetahs or Powerpuff Girls, you'll still see the hard hits. That's the important thing.
Some people have said that the Redskins nickname is about showing "pride" for Native American culture. Umm... these are people that were slaughtered in a mass genocide and their land was stolen. It's like, let's say you have a neighbor named 'Fred.' And you go to Fred's house. And you shoot Fred in the face. Then you take over Fred's house. But you name the basement "the Fred Room." Yes, I'm sure that Fred's ancestors would be honored by the gesture. That shows a lot of pride in Fred.
Native Americans are an oppressed people who, even today, are one of the most socially disadvantaged groups in the country. And you're going to honor them by... naming a football team after them? Native Americans don't want fat, loud, shirtless, beer-guzzling football fans "honoring" them. Native Americans just want what we all want -- for these idiots to put their shirts back on.
The Redskins nickname has nothing to do with tradition or pride or honor. Sports teams are named after Native Americans for the same reason that other teams are named the Avalanche or the Broncos or the Buccaneers. They want a name that's strong and fierce and warrior-like, to show power. But, one, isn't that an unfair stereotype? It's like if you start your own crime organization and you name yourselves "the Italians."
Historically, Native Americans have been a peaceful people, raising their families and growing crops. And when they did go to war, it was against white Europeans who tried to murder and enslave them. And these white Europeans -- their ancestors -- are the same people who today live on these lands. It's like if I chop your leg off and then I start my own football team and we call ourselves the "One-Legs" and the logo on our helmets is a picture of you.
I plead with all the racists; let this one go. I know how hard it can be to let go of something you love. Even after the song ended, and the strip club bouncer grabbed me by the neck, I still didn't want to let go of Darcy. (At least I think that was her name. The music is so loud in the champagne lap dance room. It's hard to hear.) But let this one go. Seriously. It's time to change the name.
It must be frustrating for people of minority races. They have to listen to jerks in power condescendingly tell them to "stop being so sensitive." But if history was reversed, if Native Americans invaded Europe, if they took over the land and killed millions of Europeans by force and disease and then they forced European children to adapt Native American culture and almost all that was "European" was lost... and then, in 2013, they named their football team the "Whiteskins," I bet Caucasians would feel violated. Although the name would make a little more sense if it was a hockey team.