Monday, October 14, 2013

The Battle of the Redskins

Over the summer, those two legendary sources of sports coverage, Salon Magazine and MSNBC, or as they are known in some places the S Word and the M Word, announced that they would begin referring to the Washington Redskins football team as the R Word.

Ordinarily liberals would not be too eager to call a team with 40 black players, a black quarterback and a passionate black fan base a hyphenated euphemism. But there are only so many politically correct causes out there and worried liberals were reassured when none other than Barack Obama, or the B.O. Word, endorsed a name change for the Redskins.

The affinity that black D.C. residents have for the Redskins, a team that white D.C. liberals feel they should despise, has long been a sore spot. Every story about the Redskins begins with the team's segregationist past even though it has as much to do with the current issue as Harry Truman saying, "I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's not an N Word."

If the Democratic Party was covered the way the Redskins are, every story would begin by wondering at how, despite a really bad start of supporting slavery and segregation, African-Americans came around to the Democratic Party. And that would be fair because even in their worst season, the Redskins have killed and enslaved fewer people than the Democratic Party.

Political correctness though doesn't practice consistency. Like most liberal activism, it's about class and power.  If Redskins fans were poor whites, they could be hit directly. But a mostly black team with a large black fan base can only be attacked indirectly with a manufactured controversy about their name.

Putting the Redskins, the team not the tribes, in their place is the closest thing that the white liberals whose ancestors once conquered a continent can come to that thrill. Forcing the Redskins to rename themselves the Washington Community Organizers or the Washington Bureaucrats isn't up there with the Lewis and Clark expedition; but it's all they have and they won't stop.

The latest wave of pressure is being headed up by Ray Halbritter, CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, who has the virtue, unlike Rachel Maddow and 99 percent of the skinny pale liberals wearing retro glasses who write about this, of actually being Native American. Or least 1/4 Native American considering that's the blood quantum standard in the Oneida Nation, the small tribe, not the company, whose employees are mostly of the tribe of New Yorkers.

The more local chiefs of the Patawomeck and Pamunkey in Virginia who said they weren’t offended were ignored. Robert Green, the former chief of the Patawomeck, said that he was a Redskins fan and would be offended if the team did change its name. Then he added that the Redskins name came from the Indians and that the country had become too politically correct.

The Harvard educated Halbritter is much more politically savvy than Green. Halbritter  mortgaged tribal land gained as a result of a lawsuit to build a casino. Despite being removed from his position by the Grand Council of Chiefs, he was backed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (a not unfamiliar phenomenon in the Federal government's complex double dealings with the tribes) Halbritter hired a tribal police force of non-Indians to suppress and even evict his Oneida critics.

Liberals know all this because back in the 90s they supported his critics who claimed that Halbritter had overthrown a traditional matriarchy, built on wetlands and abused his power. But Ray Halbritter knows that what liberals really want is a person of color to shout "Racist!" at timely moments and at appropriate targets.

His campaign against the Redskins, extended not just to the D.C. football team, but even a New York State high school team in a town named after Last of the Mohicans author James Fenimore Cooper. (Sample quote: "There is reason in an Indian, though nature has made him with a red skin!")

It's doubtful that Halbritter cares about the Cooperstown Redskins or the Washington Redskins, but he knows that campaigning against racism will gain him more political influence than telling irritated white liberals in retro glasses that their class-based obsessions with the Redskins are a silly waste of everyone's time.

Like Toure or the innumerable minorities who show up on MSNBC to shout "Racism!" when the red light turns on, he understands that the best way to rise in the ranks of the white liberals in retro glasses is by being useful to them.

And there's really only one use that liberals have for minorities.

What Robert Green understands though is that intent matters more than nomenclature. Words don't have fixed meanings that persist throughout time. They change based on the way we use them. It's not about the word, but about the human heart.

A sportswriter demanded to know whether a name like the Washington Negroes or the Washington Heebs would have been tolerated and defended the way that the Washington Redskins are.

That is actually an issue in the United Kingdom.

Fans of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team defy the police and the Football Association by chanting "Yid Army". The Hotspurs once had a strong Jewish fanbase which responded to anti-Semitic taunts of "Yids, Yids" by calling itself the Yid Army. The now no-longer Jewish fans still call themselves the "Yid Army" and the players "Yiddos" for reasons of tradition-- something Jews can certainly appreciate. 

The Yid Army has run afoul of soccer's efforts at stamping out racism, even though Yiddo, like Redskin, by now represents a different sort of tribal identity. A tribal identity built on team sports, rather than ethnicity or race. The latter, like urban identities, proliferate in multicultural societies where the number of actual Indians and Jews by blood is sharply diminished.

In one of the more surreal sports shouting matches, the Spurs fans shouted "Yid Army" in defiance of the ban while their rival West Ham supporters shouted, "Racists" at them. Somehow a game of soccer had turned into a paper on the more confusing aspects of multiculturalism.

Prime Minister Cameron, on a campaign to justify his political survival with strategic displays of common sense, said that, "There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult."

There's also a big difference between the Redskins team and calling someone a Redskin-- which as a slur probably died out around the same time as Daniel Boone.

Liberals are quite capable of making the distinction between the infamous N Word and the Nigga heard in every rap song ever, but they make the distinction based not only on motive, but on cultural appropriation. If Ray Halbritter buys the Redskins, he'll be able to call them whatever he wants. Daniel Snyder can rename them the Washington Yid Army, but he can't keep on calling them the Redskins. The calculus isn't the degree of offensiveness, but who has the right to do the offending.

The refusal to look at what people mean, rather than what they say, has led to the criminalization of language and restrictions on speech with senseless results.

Near the turn of the century, the aide to the mayor of D.C. called a budget "niggardly" only to be fired because someone in the office assumed it was a racial slur and then rehired when the incident made the local government even more of a national laughingstock than usual. This year, a black Spanish teacher in the Bronx was fired for using the word "Negro" in class.

Ridiculous incidents like these keep happening (there have been more complaints over Niggardly than any other obscure word rarely encountered today outside a Charles Dickens novel) because liberal speech codes emphasize the formalism of offensiveness. It's not why you say something or what you mean. It's whether something you say resembles something on the prohibited list.

The racism standard has moved away from motive to effect. Laws can be struck down as racist if it can be shown, not that they were discriminatory in intent, but in effect. It doesn't matter what you do, only that someone was offended. And the only way to screen out the things that someone might possibly be offended by is by banning everything that could possibly be offensive. Even niggardly.

When anything and everything can be offensive, the safest way to speak is to say nothing. Conformity is a safe bet and administrators cry out for speech codes to tell them exactly how to enforce the rules. Instead of changing how people think, the codes only change how they speak. The everyday speech of even ordinary people becomes filled with the bureaucratic euphemisms and academic jargon that destroy language and make meaningful communication impossible.

Words however aren't meaning. They're only the costume that meanings wear. Each euphemism eventually follows the euphemism treadmill to take on the inappropriate meaning of the idea it was meant to suppress. The only escape is into bureaucratic language that is so awkward and so hyphenated that no one can possible make a slur out of it. And the paranoia still doesn't end.

Controlling  language is about controlling people. Language, like all living things, is fluid. Any censor must forever live in terror of new subversive meanings arising out of the common speech, from the mouths of the youth and the obscure codes of secretive groups. The censor must always be vigilant for his cause is a futile one. Words can be banned, but the ideas inside them spring up again as long as they are socially relevant. To censor words is to know the hollowness of power over men.

The white liberal sportswriters chasing after the Redskins have no interest in the problems of Native Americans. They don't care about what Ray Halbritter is doing to his own people. They care only about beating another phantom enemy that they created in order to give their politically correct crusades meaning.

They are heady with the power of the liberal activist who  realizes that he can denounce people as bigots only to learn later that this is his only power.

They are not interested in what people, including the black fans of the Redskins and the chiefs who like the Redskins, think; they are only interested in getting their way.

The Battle of the Redskins isn't about racism. It's about power.


Anonymous said...

I watched 5 minutes or so of the Cowboys/Redskins Sun night, but luckily missed that sanctimonious piece of garbage, Bob Costas' ridiculous screed about one team's mascot - so named over 80 years ago in honor of their Native American coach and players at the time.

Isn't it "nice" that superior white people (like Costas) are on national TV telling their little red brothers what they're supposed to get their panties in a wad over. I know many Indian people and can't recall a single one of them who is offended by the Washington Redskins, or any team name based on their ethnicity. Most are proud enough of their heritage to enjoy the association, especially when those teams are good, or have a very good enough sense of humor when they aren't.

Patronizing Lefties need to find another straw man. Native Americans may be unwilling slaves to a socialist system, but they aren't stupid, nor children in need of nanny state do-gooders....


Empress Trudy said...

Chicago Blackhawks
Atlanta Braves
Chief Illini
Florida Seminoles

mrs adela bradley said...

It's only because the Flunkies haven't looked up in a while they haven't thought to remove Crawford's "Freedom" from atop the Capital. DC bureaucrats are jealous colonizers.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your comment, roadmaster.

"Patronizing Lefties need to find another straw man. "

maybe they could self-destruct

mrs adela bradley said...

'Capitol' that is. We're all out of capital.

lemon lime moon said...

The only people whose opinions count are American Indians.
If it bothers them it should go.
If not, let it stay.
Seminole is a tribe.
Red skin is also a potato or a descriptor of vermillion face paint used by mid Atlantic tribes in the early colony days.

Anonymous said...

Cut the offensive word out and rename them the Potomac Redskins.

Anonymous said...

Racism is the perfect straw man for the liberal. Unlike socialist diatribes which the listener can decide to discount or even laugh at the charge of racism automatically engulfs all involved including the bystander. If the lib gets his way he shows he is the greater and then he can push through what he wants. Unfortunately these straw men lead right to green energy scams and obamacare confiscations. Phony righteousness leads to real money changing hands.

There are still people bragging they were at a Civil Rights march at such and such time (most likely the only one that fit into their schedule). They want to be continually applauded. If they really cared about the civil rights themselves they would have moved on already. In fact the people who really did want justice have long moved on. Like it is said "the righteous say little and do much".

Anonymous said...

I must tell you that I am extremely offended that my two liberal, female senators refuse to add "Miss" as a salutation on their website contact forms. Actually, the junior senator had it right after she was first elected but then eliminated it. She must have gotten a beating for being so ignorant. There are no "Misses" any longer. One is either a "Ms." or a "Mrs." I expect that one day "Mrs." will also be considered politically incorrect, racist, homophobic and an insult to all minorities.


Anonymous said...

The Indians, when asked, had the bad taste to say they were proud of being a symbol of strength and warrior prowess.

Imagine that.

Of course, the Liberal Asshats immediately swept them under the rug and stood on it.

Now, why aren't the cowboys, Vikings, chiefs, et al. up in arms and all Offended that they're used as symbols of the warrior spirit?

Solution: Ignore the Liberal Asshats; quit giving the "nontroversy" any oxygen.

Anonymous said...

Breaking news!

The Washington Redskins have changed their name.

They didn't any longer want a name that stands for the oppression of people.

They are now called Redskins.

Dennis Latham said...

I remember years ago when Oreo cookies had to take down a billboard because the white crème filling as listed as the good stuff inside. Liberals said that was racist. So trying to force a team to change its name when only a psycho would give it racist meanings this far down the line, is about equal to calling a cookie a racist symbol. Liberals are just crazy. It must be horrible to go through life and never find good in anything.

Anonymous said...

{Chicago Blackhawks
Atlanta Braves
Chief Illini
Florida Seminoles}

Um, the pc do-gooders got rid of Chief Illini a long time ago.

330treehugger said...

they should keep the name and put a potato on the side of their helmets

Anonymous said...

More sadly, and instructive as to HOW the RIGHT keeps losing cultural battles of critical importance, is that the right and conservatives do not take stuff like this seriously IN TIME to stop IT.

So we lose.


And liberty dies ever more and people on this site say BS like "this is not a big fish" and "we have other things like the debt ceiling to deal with and this another Obama distraction" and then they make light of it and make word plays on the Redskins name to make fun of all of it.

You guys need to wake up and smell the Folgers.

If a private business like this and Snyder can be FORCED literally by PC police Nazis to do this, the country is GONE. Next up will be other teams the Devil originally said were "not as bad as the obviously racist skins" and then more demands for control over business factors. Slowly but inexorably, and this is a high profile case, liberals are banning free speech (which is another thing this case is all about) and heading us to speech codes. For now, those will be unspoken PC, but later they might even push for LAWS.

I am not exaggerating here.

Not one bit. This is one of the most important fights not to lose in generations. A turning point with the usual shaming and calling it racist to silence supporters of the name has begun. The left has a many month lead (as usual) in the ground war on this, where they have got Peter King to refuse to use the word, to "nigg@rize" it.

They want to re-write history, get ESPN or some such high profile outfit to follow their lead, and force the team to change the name, but a lot more for Conservatives is on the line here if that occurs.

I suggest you all become warriors for the cause and help out by writing letters to editors in support of the name, and on the Washington Post boards for their articles, since they began this war on the team in January over an 80 year old nickname, they post DAILY articles with fascist liberal sports writers who are badmouthing the name. This was and is a totally artificial hit piece blitz to force a private business to lose millions and rape the culture and throw out free speech.

Stop what you are doing, and help the Redskins!

Anonymous said...

Washington Revenuers

Anonymous said...

{{Chicago Blackhawks
Atlanta Braves
Chief Illini
Florida Seminoles}
Um, the pc do-gooders got rid of Chief Illini a long time ago.}

Well, to nitpick, the pc do-gooders got rid of Chief Illiniwek. U of Illinois nickname is still "Illini."

Bruce said...

If you ever spend time on the troubled island of Bouganville, off the East end of Papua New Guinea, you may hear the term "Redskins" quite a bit.

It is used as a term of opprobrium against the "mainland" natives, many of whom were sent as a military force to "adjust the attitude" of the locals after a major dispute about a mining operation, amongst other matters.

PNG mainlanders often have a more "bronzed" appearance, hence "redskins".

Bouganvilleans have "serious" melanin on show.

Then, there are a whole bunch of islands in the region actually named "MELANESIA"! ( The Islands of "significant" melanin)

Anonymous said...

How long will it be before these self-appointed progressive concern trolls figure out that the name of my great State, Oklahoma, is based on Choctaw words that roughly mean "Red" and "People?" Like "Redskins," this is a point of pride for all of us.

Come and take it.

bevc said...

I would like to rid music of the group known as Swedish House Mafia and Cable TV of the series "Amish Mafia". I would like people to stop referring to Russian criminals as "the Russian Mafia", etc. But My Crowd doesn't stick together and make the stink the rest of the squeaky wheels do. We are too busy working hard, being talented and entertaining, fashionably clothing and feeding the rest of you. Prego! (that means "your welcome")

Jay in DC said...

"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."

"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

“It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

“We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”

"We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.'

All quotes from Orwell's 1984. Old Georgie had the model down perfect, his date was just off by a few decades. 2014.

If you haven't read this vision of prophecy in a while I recommend you do so. It -is- the roadmap for our future if nothing changes radically from the out of control authoritarian left.

Shrewd said...

Uncovered by the white liberal mainstream media: why the black folk think President Obama ain't really black...

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