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End of football season doesn’t end movement to change Washington’s mascot

Israel/Palestine
on 17 Comments

It’s a permanent movement now,” states Ray Halbritter,  a representative from the Oneida Indian Nation, referring to the Change the Mascot campaign, a national effort to “end the use of the racial slur ‘redskins’ as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C.”

Nonetheless, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the use of the R-word last Friday in the State of the NFL press conference in New York City, claiming the offensive racist term “honors” Native Americans.

Oneida Indian Nation issued a press release responding to Commissioner  Goodell’s remarks defending the racist name of Washington’s team.

Press Release (pdf)

ONEIDA NATION HOMELANDS (NY) (January 31, 2014)

The Oneida Indian Nation and its Change the Mascot campaign responded to the remarks made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the news conference following his State of the NFL address Friday in New York City. Goodell defended the Washington team’s usage of the racially insensitive R-word slur as its name and mascot. Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter has issued the following statement in response to Goodell’s remarks.

“It is deeply troubling that with the Super Bowl happening on lands that were once home to Native Americans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would use the event as a platform to insist that the dictionary-defined R-word racial slur against Native Americans is somehow a sign of honor.”

“Commissioner Goodell represents a $9-billion brand with global reach, yet insists that it is somehow no big deal that his league uses those vast resources to promote this slur. In the process, he conveniently ignores all the social science research showing that the NFL’s promotion of this word has serious cultural and psychological effects on native peoples. Worse, he cites the heritage of the team’s name without mentioning that the name was given to the team by one of America’s most famous segregationists, George Preston Marshall. He also somehow oesn’t mention the heritage of the R-word itself, which was as an epithet screamed at Native Americans as they were forced at gunpoint off their lands.”

“The fact that Mr. Goodell doesn’t seem to know any of this – or is deliberately ignoring it – suggests that for all his claims to be listening, he isn’t listening at all.”

It’s way past the time shared recognition of the horrific genocide against Native Americans carried out during the colonization of this land be universal. The usage of this deeply offensive racist term is steeped in grotesque denial. A denial that offends me as an American but more importantly as a human being, as a member of the human race. The mere idea that using this racial slur “honors” anyone is abhorrent.

For more information check out Oneida Indian Nation’s Change the Mascot, including their press page; a recent report by Think Progress  The Epic Battle To Save The Most Offensive Team Name In Professional Sports; Democracy Now Top GOP Advisers Helped Redskins Football Team with Bid to Keep Name , and finally this fantastic report from last November Pressure Grows for NFL Team to Drop Redskins Name and Logo as Thousands Protest from Democracy Now:

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About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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17 Responses

  1. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    February 3, 2014, 3:35 am

    Should we call Daniel Snyder a ‘kike‘ and see how fond he’s of that hideous slur? I honestly would have thought that a man like him would understand that ‘Redskins’ is an outdated word and a backstabbing insult to every tribesman or woman alive today. Big thumbs down. Very big.

  2. jsinton
    jsinton
    February 3, 2014, 10:33 am

    Frankly, folks in DC love the name, and chafe when outsiders demand they change it.

    No love lost for Snyder, though. Really greedy has been my impression.

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      February 3, 2014, 11:59 am

      RE: “Frankly, folks in DC love the name, and chafe when outsiders demand they change it.” ~ jsinton

      MY QUESTION: Do they “chafe” because they experiencing cognitive dissonance?

      FROM BRITANNICA.COM [cognitive dissonance]

      cognitive dissonance – the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in a person is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: the person rejects, explains away, or avoids the new information, persuades himself that no conflict really exists, reconciles the differences, or resorts to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in his conception of the world and of himself. The concept, first introduced in the 1950s, has become a major point of discussion and research.

      SOURCE – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/124498/cognitive-dissonance

      • DICKERSON3870
        DICKERSON3870
        February 3, 2014, 12:17 pm

        RE: “cognitive dissonance – the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information.” ~ Britannica.com

        REGARDING “BELIEFS OR ASSUMPTIONS”, SEE:
        “How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War”, by Ira Chernus, TomDispatch.com, 01/20/11

        [EXCERPT] . . . White Americans, going back to early colonial times, generally assigned the role of ‘bad guys’ to ‘savages’ lurking in the wilderness beyond the borders of our civilized land. Whether they were redskins, commies, terrorists, or the Taliban, the plot has always remained the same.
        Call it the myth of national security — or, more accurately, national insecurity, since it always tells us who and what to fear.
        It’s been a mighty (and mighty effective) myth. . .

        SOURCE – http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175344/

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 3, 2014, 12:53 pm

        So what does that tell us about the “fighting Irish” of Notre Dame? Is that meant to be a romantic compliment or a nasty diss? Why would anyone engaged business-wise in enhancing a lucrative US football team, want to label, picture the team with a logo and/or slogan that turns customers off? Just asking. I do notice we have no team called the X-whatever Kikes. Do we need one? Or do we need one called the X-whatever “fighting Israelis”? “Fighting Jews?” Between the ideal and the real falls the shadow. The problem might lie in the fact that, although “redskins” was once a pejorative, and became, over time, a praise. Witness the warrior head on the US nickel. I don’t think Custer would’ve approved.

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        February 3, 2014, 5:34 pm

        I’m no great fan of American policy in the world, but the “actual” terrorists such as Al Qaeda or any other ultra-violent ultra-conservative Islamist/takfirist entity, as well as the disgusting Taliban, are well and truly “evil” if one wishes to talk of evil, and certainly savage.

        Ask anyone from the Arab world or Central Asia who’s against takfirism or the ludicrous worldview of the Taliban– especially the Kurds and the Shias, who are more prominent targets of these sorts of groups, in the broader scheme of “everyone who isn’t us is a heretic and an enemy to be murdered”, which is how groups like the above think.

        The problem is when the Americans label groups that aren’t terroristic– especially nationalist groups– as such, and lump them in with the most disgusting of the takfiri or deluded taliban monsters.

      • DICKERSON3870
        DICKERSON3870
        February 3, 2014, 1:57 pm

        P.S. ALSO SEE: Is Israel a “Jewish Nation”? Is the US an “American Nation”?, by Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 1/31/14

        [EXCERPT] . . . All countries define themselves, Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador, told Rudoren. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.” But, Khoury added, “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts. … Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”
        “For them to feel secure” — There’s the heart of the matter, as Americans should easily understand. Israeli Jews, like white Americans, have always known that their claim to the land they call their own is dubious.
        Ever since the first Europeans arrived in what would become the United States, they have paraded an endless array of papers, all claiming to be treaties signed by native peoples ceding their lands to the conquerors. “You see, we have a right to this land,” the whites proudly proclaimed. Never mind that most of the treaties were either coerced, signed by native peoples who did not understand them, or outright fraudulent. They gave at least the appearance of legal right.
        Israel has a somewhat stronger case with UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947, providing for “independent Arab and Jewish States” in Palestine. But the right of the Jews to have their own state in Palestine has still remained a matter of contention (pardon the understatement) ever since.
        Why did so many white Americans find it so important to be able to waive those pieces of paper “proving” their “legal right” to the land? Why do a sizeable majority of Israeli Jews favor the demand that Palestinians acknowledge Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”? Obviously, both peoples are insecure about their right to their land. If they can get the former inhabitants to relinquish their rights, it gives the appearance, at least, that the vanquished concede to the victors a moral right to the land they have taken. . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – https://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/31-0

    • just
      just
      February 3, 2014, 2:17 pm

      Lots of people all over the country love the name and the team.

      It doesn’t make it right, though. They’ll just have to get rid of their memorabilia and embrace the new brand.

      (They can ditch the bubbles as well.)

    • annie
      annie
      February 3, 2014, 4:14 pm

      not all folks in DC jsinton

  3. MarkF
    MarkF
    February 3, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Snyder won’t change the name. As John Riggins said, “his heart is dark. …Bad guy.” I feel Snyder never got hammered hard enough for making an end-around to essentially bypass the Rooney rule that ensures owners interview minority candidates for head coaching job vacancies. The guy pulled in Jerry Gray for an “interview”, a member of Jim Zorn’s staff while Zorn was still the coach, and left Gray to flap in the wind when the press got hold of the “interview”. He left Jerry in a position to not offend his current manager/coach, but to not lie. It was bogus, and flew completely in the face of the spirit of the rule. You may disagree with the rule, but be man enough to stand up to it. Snyder is a small individual. He was pissed when the CityPaper published an article pointing out all his shady dealings and how bad he treated employees, coaches, fans, etc. He sued the paper with the intent to drive them out of business and accused the paper of anti-semitism.

    He won’t change the name until he feels it financially. Baltimore is beginning to encroach on his market. Root for the Ravens. Screw Snyder and his racist counter-campaign.

  4. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 3, 2014, 12:57 pm

    The Indian head nickel was first minted in 1913.

  5. just
    just
    February 3, 2014, 1:58 pm

    Thank you Annie. I’ve winced at the name since I was a child. I chose to root for the “Cowboys” over that D.C. based team because of the name. I was taught to respect people, not to demean them.

    I’m so ashamed that this team’s name originates in the US Capitol– the seat of our very government.

    We owe all Native Americans a huge apology and much respect.

  6. jsinton
    jsinton
    February 3, 2014, 6:35 pm

    Why don’t we just call them the “Rednecks”? We could have a buck-tooth yahoo for a mascot, swillin a jug. What’s wrong with that? People would love it. I’ll bet nobody would challenge that.

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