I remember being a kid when we moved from Connecticut to the D.C. area and there were a lot of differences to adjust to, but only one was the source of major outrage in my house.
My mother, in particular, was furious that a national sports team could use a racial slur as its brand, namely, the Washington Redskins.
That anger has persisted for years, and she’s believed the team is cursed for its refusal to comply with requests for a name change, a sentiment I grew up sharing.
I hate the Redskins team, not for any choice in players or because of the coach, but based solely on the fact that the brand itself is dripping in racial disregard for indigenous people — a common target.
A small Native populous allows White Americans to somehow feel they have the final say on what the identity of any and all minorities should be.
While the calls for the Washington Redskins to change their offensive name and mascot have been in and out of the spotlight for years, the issue was resurfaced by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray last month, though he now seems to be backpedaling.
In the wake of talks about the team’s possible move back to D.C. and a new stadium that would be federal property, he originally stated:
“I would love to be able to sit down with the team… and see if a change should be made. There’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”
He now says:
“The point I was trying to make at the time was . . . it’s sitting on federal land. You know that issue will come up if that’s the proposal, to build the stadium there. That was the point I was making.”
But it’s not going away that easily. Today, two members of Congress have decided to join in on the name’s opposing side: Eleanor Holmes Norton (Democratic representative of the District of Columbia) and John Lewis (D-Ga.).
“Nobody would let a comparable name to blacks stand,” Norton said, noting that the local basketball team previously changed its name from Bullets to Wizards.
And while the team’s fans swear the media is the only group concerned with whether the name changes or not, the Maryland Indian Tourism Association has put together this infrographic to help everyone understand the real problem with the Redskins name: