~UPDATED with MSNBC and Prager article ~
(video is via HotAir)
…“The word redskin has a relatively innocent history. As Smithsonian linguist Ives Goddard has shown, European settlers in the 18th century seem to have adopted the term from Native Americans, who used ‘red skin’ to describe themselves, and it was generally a descriptor, not an insult.”
So, then, what’s so bad about the name Redskins?
Slate Argument One: “Here’s a quick thought experiment: Would any team, naming itself today, choose “Redskins” or adopt the team’s Indian-head logo? Of course it wouldn’t.”
Response: There are many teams with names that wouldn’t be adopted today. Who would name a team the “Red Sox,” “White Sox,” “Packers,” “Dodgers,” “Forty-Niners,” “Steelers,” or, for that matter, “Yankees?”
Slate Argument Two: “While the name Redskins is only a bit offensive, it’s extremely tacky and dated — like an old aunt who still talks about ‘colored people.’ … “
Response: Since Slate dismisses the term “colored people” as “tacky and dated,” why doesn’t it call on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (the NAACP), to change its name?
Slate Argument Three: “Changing how you talk changes how you think. … Replacing ‘same-sex marriage’ with ‘marriage equality’ helped make gay marriage a universal cause rather than a special pleading.”
Response: It’s nice to have at least one left-wing source acknowledge how the left changes language to promote its causes. When more and more people began to suspect that global warming was not about to bring an apocalypse, and that, at the very least, it is in a pause mode, the left changed the term to “climate change.”
The “marriage equality” substitution for “same-sex marriage” is just one more example of dishonest manipulation of English.
Orwellian manipulation of language by the left would be reason enough to oppose dropping “Redskins,” a nearly 80-year-old tradition venerated by millions.
Argument Four is the key argument, offered by the Atlantic, in its support of Slate:
Response: “Whether people ‘should’ be offended by it or not doesn’t matter; the fact that some people are offended by it does.”
This is classic modern liberalism. It is why I have dubbed our age “The Age of Feelings.”
In classic progressive fashion, the Atlantic writer commits two important errors.
First, it does matter “whether people ‘should’ feel offended.” If we ceased using all arguments or descriptions because some people feel offended, we would cease using any arguments or descriptions. We should use the “reasonable person” test to determine what is offensive, not the “some people are offended” criterion.
On a recent broadcast of my radio show, I played excerpts of winning songs from the recent Eurovision Contest. One of them was from Hungary, and after I announced the Hungarian title, I jokingly translated it as “Let’s invade Romania.”
A man called up, and in unaccented English said he was of Hungarian stock and that I should apologize for offending him and Hungarians generally. I told him that his taking offense at a harmless joke was his problem, not what I said.
Teaching people to take offense is one of the left’s black arts. Outside of sex and drugs, the left is pretty much joyless and it kills joy constantly. The war on the “Redskins” name is just the latest example.
Second, it is the left that specializes in offending: labeling the Tea Party racist, public cursing, displaying crucifixes in urine, and regularly calling Republicans evil (Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column last month, wrote that the Republican mindset “takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.” For such people to find the name “Redskins” offensive is a hoot.
The logo of the National Hockey League team, the Ottawa Senators, features a helmeted male senator of the Roman Empire. In the name of not offending the transgendered and of gender equality, the left will one day find that offensive, too; and demand that the logo feature a helmeted female as well.
Now for Prager’s insights… more coming today I am sure!
Some info from NewsBusters on this:
….Additionally, there’s no credible data to show Native Americans are seething over the team’s name, either. A survey done by the Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2003 and 2004 found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the Redskins name.
The clamor for a name change appears to be coming from a relatively small number of politically liberal Native Americans, and from white liberals in the media. It could turn into a dangerous and slippery slope. For if the Redskins are pressured to change their name, shouldn’t the Cleveland Indians change theirs as well? What about the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, and the many high schools and colleges that use Native American-themed nicknames? While we’re at it, let’s coerce Notre Dame to change its nickname as well. “Fighting Irish” is demeaning to our Irish-American brothers and sisters….
Newsmax lists some other orgs that will cease using it as well:
…In response to Slate’s announcement, New Republic editor Franklin Foer Tweeted on Thursday that his publication would follow suit.
The liberal magazine Mother Jones said on Friday it would also avoid using the name.
Other newspapers, websites and sports writers have taken similar stands, including The Washington City Paper, Washington online site DCist.com, the Kansas City Star newspaper and football writers at the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Daily News.
The National Congress of American Indians, an advocacy group, said Slate.com recognized “the derogatory origins and nature of the team’s name.”
Representatives for the team declined to comment about the decisions by Slate and the other media organizations, but team owner Daniel Snyder recently told the newspaper USA Today, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. Never. You can use all caps.”…