Let me start by sharing that I am not a Native American, but
I do have a perspective on the recent move by the Federal Patent Office to
cancel the Washington Redskins trademark.
What is too politically incorrect? Where are we going with political correctness
as a nation? Is Wahoo of the Cleveland
Indians a racist? Are all fans of the Washington Redskins racists? Do the
Atlanta Braves fans believe that Native Americans are below other
Americans? Maybe.......but I doubt it.
Without a doubt, there is a black eye on the history of the
United States. How the U.S. Government
and its representatives treated Native Americans is appalling. We are not proud
of this, none of us. We wish this
embarrassment would be eradicated and the Indians were not. We wish our history does not have this story
Back in 1755 there was a bounty on Native American's scalps,
called redskins. Worth anywhere from 50
to 20 pounds depending on the scalp gathered. No one believes that this is
something to be proud of. The redskin
name has also been used to identify a group of people, by both the peoples in
and outside the group. One of the very
first records of it being used is by a Native American, Chief Black Thunder in
which he is recorded as stating, "...I turn to all, red skins and white skins,
and challenge an accusation against me."
It is also understood that Native Americans pass down their
traditions, cultures, languages and stories to their descendants to keep their
important past alive. Many tribes were lost, so were their cultures. No one
believes that this is something to be proud of.
The U.S. pushed human beings out of the way, not
understanding or caring to understand what they stood for or why. Not a proud
moment. I didn't do it, but I know it was done and this is a part of the
history of the United States.
Not only is there a black eye on the history of the United
States, but there are many on the history of the human race as a whole. Any scholar of history can identify horribly shameful
and atrocious periods in the times of different cultures, religions and groups
of people across the centuries. This is nothing to be proud of either.
While there are some good reasons to be mindful of the
things we say, political correctness has become ridiculous, to the point where
it is joked about. Where does it stop? If you look at a list of sports team names or
mascots, just about any group of people either by ethnicity, job function,
religious affiliation/non-affiliation, geography, or a myriad of other categories,
could easily come up with an objection if they wanted to. Here's a quick list of sports teams that
represent or describe a group of people; Spartans, Vikings, Fighting Irish,
Pioneers, Devils, New York Knickerbockers, Celtics, Trail Blazers, 76'ers,
Islanders, Indians, Cavaliers, Wizards, Mavericks, Argonauts, Roughriders,
Cowboys, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Saints, 49'ers, Senators, Admirals, Americans,
Rivermen, Barons, Gladiators, Wranglers, Braves, Rangers, Canadians, Canucks,
Oilers, Nationals, Brewers, Padres,
Giants, Yankees, and Twins. What team is the next target? Do we start objecting to these team names as
well? Enough is enough.
We need to look at intention. I think that when teams were picking out
their mascots, some as many as 60 years ago, it was more of a term of
endearment. Team names and mascots were
selected because they represent qualities of winners. In fact, teams or schools that do not have
names or mascots with those qualities are targets of jokes. When we cheer the Redskins on, we are
thinking of a valiant warrior forging into battle unfearful and proud. Washington fans aren't thinking of torturing
Native Americans for their hides when they call their team the Redskins.
We praise and worship these teams and their mascots for
decades, lifetimes. They become a part
of us. We have the Atlanta Braves chop because it is a way to unite the fans to
cheer their beloved team to victory, not a demonstration of a scalping.
Some teams have submitted to the pressure of political
correctness and changed their name. St.
John's changed from Redmen to Red Storm, Marquette were once Warriors are now
Golden Eagles, and Miami University in Ohio are no longer the Redskins, but the
I grew up in Washington, Iowa; the DEMONS of Washington High
School, the colors of orange and black. Every other year, someone brings up
that we need to change the mascot because of the implications. But as far as I know, there is not one devil
worshiper in the group. We that went to
WHS are proud to be called Demons!
The Cleveland Indians are in town and a few protesters
showed at the game to voice their opinions.
And in the same instant a fan was quoted right next to the protesters,
"I have been cheering on Wahoo for over 50 years and I am not going to change
These mascots are only that, a mascot. The mascots of the teams I listed above were
not created to put down or denigrate those groups either. In the case of mascots that refer to Native
Americans, I do not believe that they were created to put down the Native
American, if anything I believe they were created to cheer on the brave souls
that fought valiantly for their good names.
I guess the names can be changed if it upsets enough people.
However, as a proud graduate of Washington High School, I hope the Demons are
always the Demons.