BREAKING: “Redskins” Name Still Cool with Native Americans

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The Washington Post app must have updated because I am now receiving notifications of “Breaking News.” Just this morning: “Breaking News: New Poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans Aren’t Offended By Redskins Name”

My quick click was rewarded in the fourth paragraph with the phrase “anti-name activists,” and I’ve been giggling about it all day.

It appears that despite the best efforts of the WaPo editorial staff—among others, several sports broadcasters who insist on calling the team “Washington,” many senators, the president, and activist groups, Native Americans from all demographics, even Democrats!—seem to be made of sterner stuff than the general public and express these very reasonable concerns:

“Those [Native Americans] interviewed highlighted again and again other challenges to their communities that they consider much more urgent than an NFL team’s name: substandard schools, substance abuse, and unemployment.”

Emphasis is mine. Of course there are those who believe that if something offends one person, it should be shunned from society. Then there are these people:

“It’s 100 people okay with the situation, and one person has a problem with it, and all of a sudden everyone has to conform,” said New York resident Judy Ann Joyner, 64, a retired nurse whose grandmother was part-Shawnee and part-Wyandot. “You’ll find people who don’t like puppies and kittens and Santa Claus. It doesn’t mean we’re going to wipe them off the face of the earth.”

My favorite part of the story is the dejected tone of the writers. Twelve years since the 2004 poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, plus efforts in forcing the minority opinion of a group on the majority, has gotten them bupkis with this subject—no change in opinion.

The mascot of my high school is a Warrior (that’s two syllables if you’re a cheerleader), and I’ve been waiting for the cultural appropriation crowd to descend. I am completely against the methods of the vocal minority to impose their will on the majority.

Last year, that minority finally convinced a majority in a neighboring school district to change their mascot, and the local arguments of pride versus prejudice mirror those in the NFL. Unlike the Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, the Goshen School Board voted 5-2 to retire their Redskins mascot—now the RedHawks—after ninety years, and they aren’t the only Indiana high school to do so. The tens of thousands of dollars that will need to be spent to change uniforms, signage, merchandise, etc. will be passed along to the residents in those districts of course.

A senior student serving on the steering committee to replace Goshen’s mascot said that after the tense situation made way for the excitement of new possibilities, her main takeaway from the process was that “you can’t make everybody happy, no matter how hard you try.” That is a good lesson to learn so early in life.

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