Why "Redskins" Is Wrong

Think of a vile name that you were called by bullies at school based on your religion, your race, your country of origin, or some other characteristic. How did it make you feel? If I call you by the same name but tell you that my intention is to honor you by using it, will you feel honored just because I say so, or would you suggest that I find another way to show my appreciation?

"Redskin" is a vile name. It's a name that people who hate American Indians often call them. Every dictionary defines "Redskins" as being offensive, derogatory and a racial epithet. Even with the best intentions, naming a sports team the New York Kikes, the Seattle Slant Eyes, the Atlanta Niggers, or the Washington Redskins will likely offend the very group you want to honor. And they're the ones who should know if the name is an honor or not.

The ACLU is a champion of free speech. The issue here isn't whether Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins has a right to call his team anything he wants. He does. The issue is whether he should perpetuate racism.

Numerous Indian organizations have issued policies and proclamations imploring non-Indians to stop "honoring" them by using Indians as mascots or logos. According to the National Congress of American Indians, Indian mascots and logos "perpetuate racism and bigotry." The National Indian Education Association, the largest Indian education organization in the country, passed a resolution in 2009 that "calls for the immediate elimination of race-based Indian logos, mascots, and names from educational institutions throughout the Nation" on the grounds that the exposure to such race-based imagery "harms American Indian students." Similarly, the American Psychological Association recommended discontinuing American Indian mascots and logos because such symbols "have a negative impact on the self-esteem of American Indian children." Suzan Shown Harjo, an Indian advocate and the executive director of the Morning Star Institute, states that an Indian mascot, regardless of how it is portrayed, results "in dehumanizing actual Native people." There is no honor in being someone's mascot.

Numerous people and organizations have beseeched Snyder, to change the team's name. This includes, in addition to Indian organizations, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which passed a resolution stating that the name is "demeaning and dehumanizing to Native Americans." President Obama suggested that Snyder consider changing the name. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that the continued use of "Redskins" as the name of a sports team cannot be defended. Commentator Bob Costas wrote an editorial agreeing with Krauthammer.

It's not illegal for Snyder to use a racist name for his football team. But why do it when it offends so many people? His stadium used to be called "Redskins Stadium," until FedEx paid him $250 million to change the name to FedEx Field.

Our society continues to evolve. Many words that were in common usage decades ago have been relegated to the garbage heap because they are recognized today as demeaning and derogatory. Dan Snyder, who is not an Indian, states that the name of his team is a source of Indian pride. Even assuming that's so, it is also a source of prejudice. Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, an American Indian, recently stated that the name "Washington Redskins" is "just simply inappropriate. It is offensive to a lot of people."

The team has a proud history and dedicated fans. Hopefully the team will soon adopt a name that isn't racially derogatory.

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I haven't heard one tribe, in concert, complain about this. It's the fabrication of elite leftisits in this country to ingratiate themselves into an issue that is not an issue. You want to be viable pick some more meaning fule issues with regards to the errosion of the constitution under this congreess and this president. You have no right to speak of this is you don't support amendments within the constitution, specifically the second.


Thank you!


I don't think there's much that beats being called SPACE monkey, especially since it's been determined that the whole reason I'm like that has to do with having several petit mal a day, every day, and it probably derived from having my head banged against walls when I was 3 through 7 years old.
But that didn't stop them from calling me Space Cadet and Space Monkey, and I'd rather be called Vicki White Skin over Space Monkey any day.
You can't do much about your skin color but at least you can see for yourself and know that you have that shade of skin. When a person has a petit mal seizure they have no idea they're having it and even after it happens if you point out to them that they just spaced out, they still have no memory of doing it.
It feels like being accused of something you didn't do, and it's the worst feeling in the world.

Someone would, God forbid, need to take a tape of it before I would even see myself having a petit mal seizure. I've done videos of myself, and noticed it happening, but it doesn't look anywhere NEAR as bad as all those fools made it out to be back in the 80's. I wasn't on medication then either, b/c adults and health care workers blamed petit mal seizures on intentional laziness and treated it as a behavioral problem.

I hate bullies period. They're just scared little girls or scared little boys who have no idea how to interact with a group of people without taking it over and turning all the attention on themselves.


Disagree. Where do you mention, many many Indian't do not find it offensive. So why must a few people push the rules for larger groups that don't mind it.

Who the hell hates Indians? That is insane, this country hates blacks, and for some reasons jews. I myself don't, but point is, nobody freaking hate Indians, that is what makes this issue such a rediclous issue at all.

ALCU, most people try to like you because your for the good, but damn it, its articles like this that makes people at your org.

i can go on and on but I'm tired.


I agree. But defending civil liberties means defending Snyder's right to be offensive. If the ACLU won't do it, who will?


Get a life, sticks and stones will break my bones but "words" will never hurt me.
Remember the stink over "niggardly?
You must have something better to do
than worry about "redskins" of any color.


I love nearly everything the ACLU does but this just seems rather silly. In my opinion a simple word does not violate anyone's personal liberties regardless of how offensive it is. If we would focus our attention on more important things like the NSA or innocent death row inmates instead of an arbitrarily defined word I believe we could accomplish much more as a people.


Love it, ACLU will not stand up for bastards or oppose secret adoption despite mountains of research but feel the pain of American Indians?

Jay Schwartz

I'd like to believe the NFL wants to do the right thing and send the right humanistic message that there is no place for racial discrimination in society. In publicly investigating the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal (Martin-Incognito fiasco), the league seems to be suggesting as much, especially in regards to use the of the 'n-word' in the workplace (i.e., locker rooms, field of play). Yet, the league has shown very little back-bone in dealing with this appalling situation over another equally reprehensible term ... especially one in which society at large and especially the league's sports related colleagues, have now come to reject because of its offensive and vile nature. Consistency is obviously is order. End Racism NOW. Change the name. Do the right thing.

Edwin Bonilla

The Washington Redskins might one year become the Washington Griffins.


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