Honor or Caricature?

As a native Washingtonian and growing up in a house of Redskins fans, I never thought the monniker was derragotory and truthfully I still don’t. I understand there are people out there that feel as though it is and that the name should be changed.

I am by no means an expert on American Indian culture and or history, but from what I’ve heard from some American Indians is that they don’t feel the name to be derragatory because some tribes painted their faces red before going into battle. So, if this is the case, can this be viewed as a compliment? As the Redskins fight song says, “Braves on the warpath, fight for ole DC.” I also heard another reason for the red skin and that is: that they used the puccoon plant, which produces either a red or yellow dye, mixed with animal fat as a bug repellent. So, if either of these things is true is the name really derragatory?

There’s a long racist history with the Redskins.  Owner, George Preston Marshall who was dubbed the “leading racist of the NFL” refused to integrate the team. Ultimately he was forced to do so by the U.S. Department of the Interior and in 1962 Ernie Davis was drafted and the Washington Redskins became the last NFL team to integrate. And if you go according to that there is an argument that the monniker is racist.

So, where did the Redskins name originate? Found in Boston Massachuesetts in 1932 the team was originally called the Boston Braves and in 1933 their name was changed to the Boston Redskins. After a bit of research I found the name originated in honor of then coach Lone Star Dietz, an American Sioux. If going by that account it can’t possibly be derragatory, can it? But perhaps it is derragatory since there are people working on debunking the validity of Lone Star Dietz’s Sioux heritage. There are some folks that say both his parents were German and he didn’t have an ounce of American Indian blood in him. However, according to Lone Star Dietz his father was German and his mother was a Sioux Indian. Perhaps George Preston Marshall was hoodwinked into this “honor” or maybe he was in on it and the Redskins name really isn’t an honor — it’s a charicature of an honorable people.

I’m not a fan of Dan Snyder at all. He’s a narcissistic worm. And quite frankly he should’ve kept doing whatever he was doing prior to buying the team. Anyway, he has stated unequivocally that he will not change the name. Okay that’s his perrogative, right? Apparently in what I consider an attempt to stave off criticism of the team nam Mr. Snyder in his infinite wisdom has decided to create a foundation called the Original Americans Foundation. Yeah after however many years you’ve been on this earth, you’re just realizing that there is a need for “meaningful and measurable resources” in order for Tribes to be sustainable. Hmm. What rock have you been under not to know this? What rock have you been under to not to know that the government has failed American Indians time and time again?

Personally, I think your plan will backfire and you’ve just given that minority of American Indians that want the name changed the fire power they need to make you do so. Just my opinion, but what do I know?


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