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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Onion has an amusing take on the Washington Redskins name change debate. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Onion has an amusing take on the Washington Redskins name change debate.
Heisenberg
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The Onion

I found it hilarious.

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Orincoro
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I'm sure you did.
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Lyrhawn
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I didn't find it so much hilarious as I did a spot on critique.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Coarse but relevant.
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Wingracer
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As a life long 'skins fan, I'm really torn on this issue. If it was any other team, I would demand they change the name but this is my team with loads of great memories and history. Would those memories be the same by any other name? Would the team of Joe Gibbs and John Riggins and the hogs and Art Monk and Mark Rypien and Joe Theisman still exist if the name changed?

I know I know, sounds stupid but this is my childhood we are talking about here. Doesn't help that I am also a Braves fan [Big Grin]

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Samprimary
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i found it hilarious and a spot-on critique. is that allowed?

name is bad. name has to change sometime. it's fairly ridiculous that it hasn't changed yet. It's like having a team called the Slanteyes.

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BlueWizard
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I've got some suggestions, how about -

The Washington Kikes

The Washington Jewboys

The Washington Tarbabies

The Washington Spicks

The Washington Wops

The Washington Degos

The Washington Crackers

The Washington Coon-asses

On a different theme -

The Washington Corporate Shills

The Washington Crooks

The Washington Traitors

The Washington Fascist

Funny how it doesn't really work with any other racial slur.

Steve/bluewizard

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Wingracer
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I'm thinking just drop the Red part of the name. Fans (including myself) have called them the 'skins for years anyway.
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Samprimary
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apparently it works with arabs

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/us/california-arab-team-mascot/index.html

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Stone_Wolf_
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How about the:

Washington Land Stealing, Treaty Breaking, Genocidic Pale Faces

Prolly too long.

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Samprimary
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http://i.imgur.com/2ZVR7wb.png
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Samprimary
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http://thinkprogress.org/default/2014/06/18/3450333/in-landmark-decision-us-patent-office-cancels-trademark-for-redskins-football-team/

hi

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DarkKnight
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Slate, Redskins doesn't mean what you think
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Samprimary
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what an inconsistent article. are you using it to try to assert that having a team called the Washington Redskins is not offensive?
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TomDavidson
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He's using it to suggest that the term "redskin" was not originally a derogatory term, and more importantly that it would not have been considered a derogatory term at the time the trademark was granted.
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DarkKnight
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what Tom said...
but meanings of words tend to wander at times

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Wendybird
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If that is true - the meanings of words tend to wander - then why can’t we choose to not look at the word in a derogatory slant? Was the word ever widely used as a racist comment in the vein that the “n” word was? I admit I’m not up on my history of racist words. I did however grow up in Maryland where for many years you only had the Redskins to choose from if you wanted a ‘local’ team (after the dastardly Colts ran away in the middle of the night!). I’ve never heard the term used in a racist manner but maybe I’m just too sheltered.
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Boris
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I have never, in my life, heard the term "Redskins" used to refer to anything other than a Football team (outside of really bad Westerns).
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TomDavidson
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quote:
why can’t we choose to not look at the word in a derogatory slant
I personally am looking to reclaim the phrase "jerkwad" for my people.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Wendybird:
If that is true - the meanings of words tend to wander - then why can’t we choose to not look at the word in a derogatory slant?

an individual can decide they want to do this for themselves, but it's largely irrelevant as to if it becomes a derogatory slang word applied to an ethnic group. Native americans are called redskins all the time in a derogatory fashion. It's endemic in midwestern and southwestern regions around the various reservations and nations.

you don't just walk up to a black person and say 'hey, negro' unless you want to be massively (and racially) insulting to them. a discussion you could hypothetically have with them about how negro used to be a neutral non-pejorative term applied to them sincerely changes nothing about that fact and manages to (perhaps purposefully) lose the point.

and, for that simple reason, among others, you don't want have a team with a name like the "Washington Negroes." it would rightfully be decried for being racist and insensitive. epithet at its finest.

similarly, you don't just walk up to an indian and go 'hey, redskin' unless you want to be massively (and racially) insulting to them.

and, for that simple reason, among others, you don't want have a team with a name like the "Washington Redskins." it is rightfully be decried for being racist and insensitive. epithet at its finest.

yet somehow people are getting a bit lost in the otherwise obvious connections between a team called the "negroes" and a team called the "redskins" — and this is largely a function of ingrained liberties that people have habituated themselves to.

there's no real way to, as some people are doing, get credibly invested in some prescriptivist nonsense about how the word didn't originate as a slur so actual indians should just deal with the name. but people keep doing that.

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Samprimary
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Or, to quote Gyasi Ross, Blackfeet Indian Nation / Suquamish Nation, he pretty much nails down what's important to take away from this debate (and why the Redskins will stop being called the Redskins, relatively soon, for GOOD reason)

quote:
The NFL and fans of the NFL treat Native people qualitatively differently from how they treat members of any other ethnic group. Whether or not the term "Redskin" is inherently racist is the wrong question. The more appropriate question is, "Would it be acceptable to name a professional sports team according to the color of someone else's skin?" Would it ever be cool to have a sports team called the Washington Blackskins? It seems appropriate; D.C. is Chocolate City. But, um, hell no. San Francisco Yellowskins? Naw, cousin. Won't work.

None of the above would be cool.

OK, how about a high school team called the Paducah Negroes? "Negroes" is a term that is not necessarily racist, yet black folks choose not to identify themselves as such. People respect black folks' choice not to call themselves Negro and so people don't call them by that name. Yet, it's different with Native people. Somehow non-racist black folks, white folks, and Latinos feel that it's OK to identify Natives in a way that we simply do not—and do not want to—identify ourselves.

quote:
There is some internal value to the Redskins name, just as there is some internal value to the word "nigger." Like "redskin," "nigger" has a fairly innocuous origin (it derives from the Spanish word for "black"), but picked up barbed and offensive connotations as it passed through history. As hurtful as the word "nigger" is, though, it has value to a certain percentage of African-Americans, as evidenced by the usage of the word as a term of affection (or sometimes simply as an identifier, even absent affection). People can, and do, argue passionately about whether or not the word should be used, whether it is appropriate or foul. Still, however one concludes, the word's still there. It has significance and currency to at least some percentage of black folks.

Similarly, for centuries, some Native people have used the word "Redskin" (and its variations) as an identifier. Still do. The word unquestionably predates the current conversation and even the supposed genesis of the term in the very real scalping policies of the 19th century, when white bounty hunters were paid for scalps only when they proved their Indian origin by showing the red skin. (Here's the Los Angeles Herald in 1897: "VALUE OF AN INDIAN SCALP: Minnesota Paid Its Pioneers a Bounty for Every Redskin Killed.")

Those scalpings were a tragic and ugly episode in American history, and at the very least a certain solemnity of tone is called for in making even oblique reference to them. But they are not tied to the origin of the word. Indeed, the word goes back quite a bit further than that era, and has been used as a self-identifier since at least the mid-1700s, when the Piankashaws referred to themselves and other Natives as "redskins." More anecdotally, many modern-day Natives refer to themselves and other Natives as "Skins" as a term of self-association. (It's a derivative, with the same relation to the original that "nigga" bears to "nigger.")

The column that I typically write for Indian Country Today Media Network is called "The Thing About Skins," and "red" is an accepted term of affinity and familiarity among Native peoples. Terms such as "red road," "red pride," and "red man" have been used for some time within our communities. Recently a group called A Tribe Called Red (!) remixed a popular pow-wow song called "Redskin Girl" as a further show of that affection and familiarity.

... Even words with value internally can be racist when used externally. The "redskins" topic, as you may begin to notice, is similar to the "nigger" debate, which has launched an entire cottage industry devoted to debating the use of the word in pop culture—books, album names, television specials, academic discussions. That there is still a lively debate on the subject tells you that the words still retain their value, their power.

Yet, there is a crucial difference: It is black folks who debate the merits and demerits of the word "nigger." White folks understand that, as a matter of propriety, it would be the ultimate in tastelessness and disrespect to take the lead in the discussion of the word "nigger." Yet, here are outsiders—black, white, Asian, Latino—telling Native people how we should feel about the word "redskins" and what we should be offended by. If white people tried to pull the "we're going to tell you what words you should be offended by" shit with the word "nigger," there would, as NWA eloquently put it above, be serious problems. Apparently, though, while it's racist and condescending to tell some people what should offend them, it's somehow OK to do the same with Native people.

quote:
The "Redskins" debate is similar to the "nigger" debate, yet unlike with the "nigger" debate, outsiders feel perfectly comfortable telling Native people how they should feel. I suppose that's the most frustrating part of the debate—that we Native people, the folks who are the only meaningful stakeholders in this debate—are not allowed to have a voice in the matter. Correct that: We can have an opinion so long as it is pro-Redskin. Otherwise, we're being "too sensitive."

No non-black person has ever, EVER called a black person a "nigger" in recent times and then told that black person that he was being "too sensitive" if/when he got upset. NO non-black person uses the internal value of the word "nigger" as a justification for a non-black person to keep using the word. NO non-black person says, "The word 'nigger' was pretty harmless at one time, therefore I'm going to just throw it around a bit. Try it out. See if it works for me." NO non-black person has ever gone rummaging through American cities in search of a black person who's not offended by the word "nigger," and then held them up as proof that the word isn't so bad. ("See? There are some black folks that aren't offended by the word, therefore it CAN'T BE racist.")

Doesn't happen.

Why not? Because black folks decided that they wouldn't stand for the word anymore, and it's now understood that "nigger" belongs to black folks. It's theirs to do with as they wish, and it's simply racist when other groups use it. If black people choose to use it, that's their business—they've paid a heavy price to own that word. Similarly, "redskins" is Native people's word. If it's unfortunate and sad that we use it, hey, that's our choice. We paid the price for this racist and loaded term.

Instead, we have a bunch of white men telling us that it's not racist, and a bunch of black folks who continue to think that it can't be racist because it's black men wearing the jerseys and, hey, it's just a football team.

That's the frustration—the voicelessness and inequality in treatment, and the people who don't see how this is like non-black folks using the word "nigger," who don't even think that it might be racist. Hell, many Natives are just like me—not particularly concerned about the whole affair. It's not the biggest deal in the world. Yet even those of us who are indifferent have to look and notice the disparity in treatment. Every other racial group can—and should be able to—say what is offensive to them without being called "too sensitive." We cannot.

That prompts the question: Why not?

So I pass that question on to you: At one point, many white people openly called black people "niggers." Those racists stopped, eventually, because many (not all) black people said that word was hurtful and offensive. That was a positive step—progress. In light of that racial progress, why wouldn't folks also stop calling another group of people, Native Americans, a word that many (not all) Native Americans likewise say is hurtful, racist, and offensive? Or, to put it another way: Shouldn't we have gotten to the point where non-racists feel uncomfortable using a word that a contingent of people find hurtful, racist, and offensive?

Peace.


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Stone_Wolf_
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Words change. It's abundantly clear that, regardless of its origin or use today some people find it offensive .

I happen to be one of them.

Not for the word itself. But because having Washington D.C. be represented by any Native symbology is like having the German team be the Jews or the Spanish team be the MesoAmerican.

I wouldn't mind so much if it was the New Mexico Red Skins, but to have the mascot for the seat of the U.S. government be the very peoples that were massacred by that same government is shameful.

That this country is built upon the stolen land of murerdered natives is not something we should ever forget.

However, how can it not be seen as cruel to take the likeness and namesake of the oppressed as the sigil of the oppressors?

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Samprimary
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I don't think "some people find it offensive" is a good enough threshold to change a name, but going off strict scrutiny the whole slur element of Redskins to a marginalized group? It's a whole different standard.
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Boris
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quote:
It's endemic in midwestern and southwestern regions around the various reservations and nations.
It is? I mean, I accept that I maybe don't hang around people who do this, but I've lived near and around reservations for the past...15 years or so (plus growing up about 50 miles from the Cherokee reservation in NC) and have only ever heard people use the actual tribe name when speaking about the Native Americans in the area. Except in Alaska where everyone seemed to use "Native."

Like I said, I'm willing to accept that there *are* people who do this...but I haven't met any. Have you honestly met anyone who regularly refers to Native Americans as "Redskins"?

Edit to add: I personally don't have any stake in this debate, since I could care less if the Football team were to win the super bowl or walk off a cliff in formation, but my opinion is that everyone should stop using a term if the group that it is traditionally applied to views it as derogatory.

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Stone_Wolf_
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My standard isn't "change everything anyone finds offensive".

More like, when it comes to race, if enough people find a term or phrase offensive, it likely is.

I'm a Vikings fan...with a very Swedish last name. Arguably, the name Vikings is, in many ways similar to Redskins (and obviously different in many ways). But both are basically a race of people.

But Minnesota is chauk full of Scandahovians! It's okay to represent that area with the warriors of the blond, braided, bearded, blue eyed battlers. Whereas DC is not exactly what you would call a "tribal area".

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Samprimary
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Also I want to keep seeing this commercial playing during the NFL games

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR-tbOxlhvE

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umberhulk
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I'm with Sam.
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umberhulk
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWZkwuILn_s
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Wingracer
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John Oliver on Redskins

p.s. Anyone else loving John Oliver's new show?

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Risuena
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An article about the woman who brought the initial claim to the PTO and assisted on the most recent claim.

quote:
Harjo moved to Washington D.C. in 1974. Soon after her arrival, she said someone gave her and her husband tickets to a Redskins game.

"We're football fans and we can separate the team name from the game, so we went to a game. And we didn't stay for the game at all, because people started — someone said something, 'Are you this or that?' So, we started to answer, then people started like pulling our hair," explained Harjo. "And they would call us that name and it was very weird for us. So, we just left and never went to another game."

Harjo said her experience at the Redskins game "solidified" her opposition to stereotypical Native American sports mascots.

"That just solidified it for me because it wasn't just namecalling, it was what the name had promoted," Harjo said. "That's the example of what objectification is. You strip the person of humanity and they're just an object and you can do anything.


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Boris
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*Pulls pin, lobs, runs away*
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umberhulk
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they should remove that too imo

unrelated

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hLoqhvZ1SZI#t=344

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
John Oliver on Redskins

p.s. Anyone else loving John Oliver's new show?

Oh very much. I think it's a great format for him. My only regret is that it's only fully available on HBO, and I have to wait quite a few days for shorts to be released on YouTube. Forget about watching it in China.

Orson Scott Card actually mentioned his show fairly recently and said he enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Destineer
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I'm all in favor of changing the Redskins, but I think DarkKnight has a point. Names that weren't offensive when they were coined get "grandfathered in" all the time. United Negro College Fund, National Assn for the Advancement of Colored People, etc. So why shouldn't the same go for a hypothetical team named the New York Negroes (to modify a Chris Rock joke)?

I feel like the NY Negroes would in fact be bad, but I'm not sure how to explain why except in a way that would make the NAACP's name bad.

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MattP
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quote:
Names that weren't offensive when they were coined get "grandfathered in" all the time. United Negro College Fund, National Assn for the Advancement of Colored People, etc.
Not the best examples. Those organizations are run by and for the benefit of the minority described in their names and few people have expressed any concern about the names in that context. There's nothing even remotely exploitative about their use of those terms.
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Destineer
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quote:
Those organizations are run by and for the benefit of the minority described in their names and few people have expressed any concern about the names in that context.
But the question is, why hasn't anyone objected to the use of those names in that context? Is it hypocritical to have a problem with the Redskins and not the NAACP?

quote:
There's nothing even remotely exploitative about their use of those terms.
What's exploitative about 'Redskins'? I thought the problem was that the name is a slur.
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MattP
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quote:
But the question is, why hasn't anyone objected to the use of those names in that context? Is it hypocritical to have a problem with the Redskins and not the NAACP?
I think the primary reason is that the Redskins organization is not actually comprised of Native Americans, while the NAACP generally are black people. Accusing a group of people of slurring themselves is... difficult.

quote:
What's exploitative about 'Redskins'? I thought the problem was that the name is a slur.
It's both. It's a slur *and* it's the co-option of a minority to brand a corporate entity. Think of how weird it would be to have a team called the Washington African Americans with a cartoon drawing of a black person as the team logo. Even though it's not a slur, can you see how problematic that would be?
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Destineer
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Yeah, that would be messed up. It's funny how fine-grained the distinctions are that we seem to mentally draw, though. I feel like it's not problematic that the military names helicopters after native American tribes, for example. They're not corporate, but that seems like an artificial place to draw the line.
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BlackBlade
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Matt: Like this?

That's still a very popular brand in Asia btw.

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MattP
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Oh dear.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I'm all in favor of changing the Redskins, but I think DarkKnight has a point. Names that weren't offensive when they were coined get "grandfathered in" all the time. United Negro College Fund, National Assn for the Advancement of Colored People, etc. So why shouldn't the same go for a hypothetical team named the New York Negroes (to modify a Chris Rock joke)?

I feel like the NY Negroes would in fact be bad, but I'm not sure how to explain why except in a way that would make the NAACP's name bad.

With the NAACP and the UNCF, it's names named by them, run by them and for the advancement of the group. So it's pretty different than a sports franchise co-opting and mythologizing tribesmen.

At the same time though I completely agree that UNCF should change its name.

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MattP
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I think the UNCF also thinks they should change their name, but is fighting inertia a bit on that. I'm sure it'll happen in the near to medium future. As it is they are trying to rebrand themselves as their acronym.
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Geraine
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I'm going to start a petition to change the name that Ritz and other companies call their thin, bread wafers.

The word "Cracker" is an extremely racist term and is offensive.

Who will sign my petition?

Also, anyone aware that slopes or walls used to regulate water levels are called dykes? I immediately move to rename these things to "wall used to regulate water levels," as the word dyke is also very offensive.

Oh, and we should put massive pressure on England to stop calling cigarettes "fags."

Since "redskin" is offensive, we should also immediately stop calling people "white" or "black" to describe skin pigmentation.

Goodness, what a horrible, offensive world we live in.

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MattP
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I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can figure out on your own how none of those are analogous situations. If you disagree, pick your favorite from the list and I'm sure there are half a dozen people here willing to talk you through it.
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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:

Also, anyone aware that slopes or walls used to regulate water levels are called dykes? I immediately move to rename these things to "wall used to regulate water levels," as the word dyke is also very offensive.


slope is also a derogatory term as Jeremy Clarkson recently discovered.
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Boris
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Yankees is often a derogatory name for Americans. Or people from the Northeast US. Or people from New England. Depending on where the derogatory speaker lives.
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stilesbn
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Yankee is an example more analogous to NAACP or UNCF.
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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
Yankee is an example more analogous to NAACP or UNCF.

Being from the south, I can assure you that that is not always the case. [Big Grin]
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stilesbn
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Not always the case in being that there are people who use "Yankees" as a derogatory term like people use "Negros" and "Colored People" as a derogatory term?

Or not the case in that White Yankees don't own the Yankees and non-Yankees are exploiting the term to make money?

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
Not always the case in being that there are people who use "Yankees" as a derogatory term like people use "Negros" and "Colored People" as a derogatory term?

This one. I hear it all the time. Carpetbagger is another favorite. We're old school down here [Big Grin]
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