Conservative commentator makes language-based case for changing Redskins name

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The debate over the Redskins name quickly became another red state/blue state brouhaha, with the liberal “thought police” trying to protect Native Americans who may not be offended by the term and conservatives fearing that changing the name “Redskins” would result in the elimination of every team name based on any type of human or animal or other organism, living or dead.

One prominent conservative columnist, risking the wrath of other red-staters, has attempted to focus the argument not on politics but linguistics.

In an item appearing in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer compares the term “Redskins” to other words that were once socially acceptable but have, over time, become radioactive.

As Krauthammer points out, the term “Negro” was commonly used when referring to members of the group currently known as African-American.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the term 15 times in his “I have a dream” speech.  But times changed, terms changed, and that’s just the way society evolves.

Ditto for the term “retarded.”  As Krauthammer points out, “retarded” at one point became the preferred alternative to “mongoloid.”  Now, both terms aren’t used.

Though it was never widely used, the term “redskins” has fallen victim to the common evolution away from certain words.  Even if it ever were an appropriate or welcome reference to Native Americans, no one would use that term when interacting with Native Americans, when talking publicly about Native Americans, or (absent some type of discriminatory intent) when talking privately about Native Americans.

The problem, as explained in our first item on the issue from early February, is that Redskins fans have become numb to the fact that, if stripped from a football team, the name never would be or could be used.

Though Krauthammer dubs it a close call, he concludes that he would personally choose not to use the term if others are available.

When it comes to naming football teams, other names are available.  An infinite array of other names are available.  Eventually, one of those other available names will be adopted.

77 responses to “Conservative commentator makes language-based case for changing Redskins name

  1. It is what we have become in America, what every is the flavor of the day we go after. Wasn’t it just yesterday that bacon was bad for you.

  2. I hope you’re wrong! The only way this name should be changed is if Dan Snyder HIMSELF decides he wants to change the name, not because of political pressure, or political correctness but because he decides he wants something different. What is the Redskin name was kept and a different mascot was used? That would be awesome just to shove it down all the people’s throats that think because they find something offensive it HAS to go.

  3. They will always be the Redskins in my mind, but if they were forced to change the name why not go back to the original name of Braves. Logo/fight song remain the same.. Is there an issues with Braves too? Then get Altanta, Cleveland, KC etc.. to change too.. HTTR

  4. This is a serious WOW moment. If Darrell Green and Art Monk speaking up about this wasn’t the tipping point, THIS is.

    Who’s fighting this name change more than conservatives? Nobody! And for those of you who don’t follow politics, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Krauthammer is a giant in the modern conservative movement. In fact, the New York Times and Politico have both dubbed him America’s most influential political columnist. And there’s also the fact that he’s a FOX News rock star panelist who sits in on each evening’s highest rated news broadcasts. Imagine if Rush Limbaugh was a lot smarter and had lot more common sense: That’s Krauthammer.

    Sorry Dan Snyder … You just got nuked.

  5. It is entirely up to Dan Snyder whether any name change happens, and the fact that the pro-name change advocates can’t (or won’t) seem to understand that concept is the most disturbing aspect of this.

    This is supposed to be a free country, and part of that means that we are allowed to hold opinions and views that others may find offensive. Does anyone really think our constitutions gives us to the right to demand that others NOT offend us?

  6. “Even it if ever were an appropriate or welcome reference to Native Americans, no one would use that term when interacting with Native Americans, when talking publicly about Native Americans, or (absent some type of discriminatory intent) when talking privately about Native Americans.”

    And yet Rick Reilly listed multiple institutions with majority Native American populations that proudly associate the nickname “Redskins” with said institution.

  7. *Correction: NYT and Politico have dubbed him America’s most influential CONSERVATIVE columnist.

  8. I hope you’re wrong! The only way this name should be changed is if Dan Snyder HIMSELF decides he wants to change the name, not because of political pressure, or political correctness but because he decides he wants something different. What is the Redskin name was kept and a different mascot was used? That would be awesome just to shove it down all the people’s throats that think because they find something offensive it HAS to go.
    —————————–
    When Danny Boy gives up the NFL tax exempt status then maybe i’ll buy “but its his team comments”.

  9. Now, this would be a big deal if nobody was allowed to think for themselves. As it stands, I really don’t care which non native pundit disagrees with it. What I know is that any native that I’ve ever talked to has said they support the name used in a football context. I live next to a reservation, and redskins fans are all over the place. I know one native American who wears a redskins shirt and hat pretty much everywhere he goes. If you want proof that it is not a partisan issue, huffington post (a very liberal site) recently had a poll on their page about the name. 85% of responders were opposed to changing the name.

  10. This whole thing has gotten so completely blown out of proportion.

    To have members of Congress and the President of the United States weighing in on this is a disgusting waste of time.

  11. To me, this is honestly as dumb as the bruhaha a few years ago where the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had to change their name because church groups were offended by the use of the word “Devil”

  12. Change the logo and call them what everyone already calls them, “The Skins” mascot can be like a mountain man .

  13. I’m as conservative as they come but I think the name should be changed. I don’t think it’s a conservative/liberal thing at all. If there were a poll looking at this, I’d bet there’s really no difference in the opinions of liberals and conservatives on this issue.

    Nevertheless, if we’re going to accept Krauthammer’s argument, shouldn’t the NAACP change their name from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? If they don’t seem to think that’s important, maybe Redskins isn’t so bad.

  14. Redskins fans have become numb to the fact that, if stripped from a football team, the name never would be or could be used.

    _____________________________

    Completely numb. That and they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that it’s a racial slur.

  15. Keep the logo and change the name to the Warriors…use it to honor all American Warriors from the Native Americans to today’s present day soldiers…it is DC and they already do things to support and honor the military… use RGIII (but you can call me Bob), an Army brat, both of his parents are career soldiers, as part of the campaign…Warriors is used by an NBA team…so what…not really any name that isn’t being used by a college or pro team somewhere…Washington Warriors…not like bears and lions are original names…Did you see what I did there…alliteration…an NFL team will easily hijack the name and turn golden state into an afterthought…after turn lemons into lemonade…can you believe the tone deaf Snyder made his fortune in Advertising??? And Banks SI article shows why he should stick to covering and not creating.

  16. chip56 says: Oct 18, 2013 11:02 AM

    To me, this is honestly as dumb as the bruhaha a few years ago where the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had to change their name because church groups were offended by the use of the word “Devil”
    ————————————————-

    Let me ask u guys this, if a team was called “Devil” but the mascot was a white business man with a suitcase that read “everytown USA” would u feel that’s a fair portrayal of white people? Because in the press release we would say we’re “celebrating” white people. Oh, you don’t think that’s “celebrating” white heritage? Well guess what I don’t think calling natives “redskins” is very flattering either.

  17. Change the name already. It’s offensive. No better time to do it than while they are going through this 20 year abyss period in franchise history.

    Warriors would be fine, or even like somebody suggested going back to the Braves name. Native Americans don’t have problems with a name like that or the Chiefs or Seminoles because those aren’t racial slurs.

    People defending this nonsense, get with it. You sound stupid trying to make a case for keeping this name.

  18. People keep missing the point – this is not making fun of native Americans – it is CELEBRATING them and their warrior spirit.
    BIG DIFFERENCE!!

    As the article implies, words change meaning over time. So what will be next – changing the name of the Saints, Vikings, 49ers, Patriots? We all understand that those names were chosen to reflect the GOOD aspects of those people (or spirits in the case of the Saints) and were not chosen to mock them.

  19. All-American Voltron says:
    Oct 18, 2013 11:11 AM
    chip56 says: Oct 18, 2013 11:02 AM

    To me, this is honestly as dumb as the bruhaha a few years ago where the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had to change their name because church groups were offended by the use of the word “Devil”
    ————————————————-

    Let me ask u guys this, if a team was called “Devil” but the mascot was a white business man with a suitcase that read “everytown USA” would u feel that’s a fair portrayal of white people? Because in the press release we would say we’re “celebrating” white people. Oh, you don’t think that’s “celebrating” white heritage? Well guess what I don’t think calling natives “redskins” is very flattering either.

    __________________________

    The term “Redskins” is a racial slur. It’s not as simple as being offended by a name. A team is named a racial slur. The name was offensive before it became attached to the team.

  20. I am just amazed how some people have became so self righteous. I am part native american and the name redskins means nothing to me or my family. To me this seems to be a money shake down. There is a tobacco company in central Kentucky name “Red Man” with a native american chief on the sack. This company has been around since 1904 and worth $750.000.00,the redskins are worth well over a billion dollars. So where are the critics over “Red Man” tobacco??? #Fakeoutrage

  21. As a white American , I no longer want to be referred to as white, the liberal authority has informed me that being described by the color of my skin is offensive, black, red , yellow, this is all very offensive to me.

  22. If you want a compromise, this is it:

    As the team has done before, simply take the face decal and symbol off the helmet. Then, change the costume of the mascot.

    You keep the heritage of the name being about honor and painting one’s face for battle, and take away any argument of one culture’s own heritage involved in a team name. The compromise is to keep the name while removing any facet of offense.

    Case closed.

    Now the problem becomes, are the p.c. police able to in fact be interested in compromise. Probably not because those types of individuals usually only conduct any issue through means of scorched Earth and usually are unable to understand that about themselves. The hysterical are never able to stop themselves.

    So they most likely are not interested in compromise and instead want complete destruction as result.

    No one post on this site has been written even engaging in the idea of compromise; only total scorched Earth victory is an option for the hyserical of our society, as seen with this topic.

    If we can get the hysterical to change some of their ways, there is a resolution on the horizon.

  23. I should point out, the population is around 29000 people at Pine Ridge reservation.

    There must be hope or no one wants to live their life, Natives feel a sense of societal dispare, a feeling of unworthiness.

    Redskins is a nickname to most, BUT a symbol to Natives…..of oppression. When 90% of people think the name is OK to use….what did that say to every Native?

    The same thing that has been said for too long……for far too long.

  24. ennesseeoilers says:
    Oct 18, 2013 10:49 AM
    This is a serious WOW moment. If Darrell Green and Art Monk speaking up about this wasn’t the tipping point, THIS is.

    Now THIS is just plain wrong information. Both of them said the samething goodell said (offends one person yada yada consideration) and that the name should NOT be changed. I know this because they came on DC sports 106.7 The Fan radio for the interview which I listened to. PFT even has another article which states their true views…

    “In no way I want to see the Redskins change their name,” Green told 106.7 The Fan.
    “So that just makes that clear. And I’ll speak for Art, there’s no way he wants it, and I guarantee he didn’t say it, and I know I didn’t say it. . . .

    So NO they do not want the name changed. Get your facts straight.

    COME ON MAN!!

  25. I wonder how it would be recevied if they chagned the name from Redskins to the name of the one of the early native ameican tribes that lived in Virgina and Maryland.

    Rather than using a pejorative term, they could do some research and honor a tribe that has an important legacy. That seems to have worked in Florida State’s favor.

    The Seminole nation has worked with the school and has been supportive of the team name (they also benefit financially from the relationship). If you look at their history, it went from being cartoonish back in the day to something now that is closer to authentic.

    Could we end up with the Washington Algonquian, Sioux, or Iroquois?

    IMO, that would be more akin to the Minnesota Vikings or the New England Patriots.

  26. Keep KC out of this. Their name did NOT originate the way you may think:

    Harold Roe Bennett Sturdevant Bartle (June 25, 1901 – May 9, 1974) was a businessman, philanthropist, Boy Scout executive, and professional public speaker who served two terms as mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. After Bartle helped lure the Dallas Texans American Football League team to Kansas City in 1962, owner Lamar Hunt renamed the franchise the Kansas City Chiefs after Bartle’s nickname, “The Chief.”

  27. If you asked a 1000 people who a “Negro” is they would say it refers to a black person. If you asked a 1000 people who a “yellow skin” person was they would say it is somone Asian. But if you even asked a 1000 Indian people what a “Redskin” was, they would probably say it refers to a football team.

  28. $$$$$$

    That’s what it’ll take for Snyder to change the name. If his sponsors push him, he’ll do it.

    I know he loves the team, but I imagine he loves money a whole lot more.

  29. Another day, another hateful attack on the Washington Redskins by the “open-minded” and “tolerant” lefties.

    Aren’t you liberals supposed to be pro-choice? So how come a private business can’t choose its own name?

  30. If I am forced to do something in order that you not be offended, is it not the case that you have offended me by forcing me to do something I am opposed to?

  31. So is the patriot name offensive to people of British heritage, I mean how many thousands of British people did those darn patriots kill, this must be offensive…..

  32. Paraphrasing the chairman at Augusta National ” We might have a woman member one day, but not at the point of a bayonet ” same with Dan S. they might change their name one day but not under these circumstances. . No billionare likes to be told what to do. My guess is , drop the subject and he might do it on his own…. just my .02

  33. Possible solutions to the controversy:

    1. Change the logo to a potato.
    2. Change the mascot to Darth Maul.
    3. Change the name to the Lightning Sharks.

    You’re all welcome.

  34. Exactly! I posted comments on numerous “Redskins” articles noting that the evolution of words.

    However, this point of view, on the use of the term, actually is one of the reasons it shouldn’t be changed. You see, the evolution of the word may have moved it to a “radioactive” status at one time, but the evolution of the word has also moved it to now relating to mascots. The fact, as Florio acknowledges, the term “redskins”was never widely used, and no one would use that term when interacting or talking publicly with Native Americans today, is further proof that the word has evolved to being related to mascots only. No one would think to call a Native American a “redskin” because no one thinks of the term in that fashion. Since the word hasn’t been commonly used as a derogatory term in 60-70 years further establishes the word’s evolution.

    The word “redskins”, as it relates to a mascot, is honoring a time when the word was not only acceptable, but used with pride by the very people it referred to. Many teams have mascots that are called by terms we no longer would use today to refer to a person (Vikings, Patriots, Volunteers, Cavaliers, Mountaineers, Rebels to name a few). These mascots aren’t picked to mock or insult, but to honor and remember.

    Perhaps it’s time to move on to more urgent pressing issues.

  35. Can’t they come to a compromise? The whole issue is about the money coming in from name recognition i.e. all the merchandise that says REDSKINS on it. I feel like an easy compromise is they keep the Native American theme, keep the logo, change the name to the Braves or the Warriors or something. They can keep and sell off everything that says REDSKINS because there will be some stalwarts who refuse to accept the new name and will stock up on the original stuff. People will adjust. Remember when they renamed the Oilers the Titans? The name fit at one time and was very historical but then it didn’t fit, everyone recognized that, and a new one was chosen. I think that’s the case here…maybe at one time people didn’t care if you said Redskin, but now the name has no meaning really. It’s a stupid name for a football team anyway.

  36. Hot Topic, I know…I wouldnt suggest changing the name because i beleive so strongly one way or the other….But, my suggestion for name changes, and i am trying to get this message to Dan SNYDER is this.

    Same fonts, same logo, same colors.

    WASHINGTON
    AMERICANS

    IT celebrates the native people as the original Americans, as well as every patriotic soul. Team is in D.C. and this is a perfect fit.

    Dan, dont do this becasue youre forced to, make the decsion early, come out of this looking like you care about everyone, and who cares if you really dont….

    this is a business move, not political, you fought the good fight Sir.

  37. OK well I want Oklahoma to change the name of there state since it means land of redskin people this is so stupid PC america makes me sick the let’s take god of money no pledge of allegiance in school all these liberals make me sick

  38. Well crud, now that a conservative has come out against it, liberals will immediately flip flop, call redskins the greatest name ever, and say the conservative is racist for even suggestion that such a loving and caring name be change.
    Hail to the FluffyBunnies
    Hail RGkneee!!

  39. Someone on another site suggested something like the Washington Windtalkers in honor of the Navajo code talkers from WWII. Honestly, I would support that for a name change because that name contains much more honor than the Redskins.

  40. “As Krauthammer points out, the term “Negro” was commonly used when referring to members of the group currently known as African-American. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the term 15 times in his “I have a dream” speech. But times changed, terms changed, and that’s just the way society evolves.”

    Really?

    1.) Negro League Baseball(museum)
    2.) United Negro Collage Fund…
    3.) Negro American Labor Council (NALC)
    4.) The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs
    5.) The Negro Educational Review
    6.) Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation
    7.) National Association of Negro Musicians

    The list goes on… and is very real and still apart of today’s society.

    Non of which offend, obviously. This is proof that this is 100% BS being forced on us by the Media. If you are buying the hype you are a LEMMING!!!

    The only people that seem to care are people in the media trying to make a name for themselves.

    2 years ago this never crossed YOUR mind, now you will fight for it because the media tells you what is “right”.

  41. geefan1 says:
    Could we end up with the Washington… Sioux…?
    ========
    Sorry man, the LA team is already eyeballing that name, just spelled a little differently and no honor.

  42. If redskins is a racial slur, why haven’t I ever heard someone refer to a native american (i use that term loosely as there aren’t any native americans) in a derogatory manner as a redskin?In any manner. Not in movies, music, jokes, print, etc. Never heard the term but in relation to the football team.

    Mentioning race or color isn’t automatically a negative.

  43. It says a lot about all of us that people thinking the name of a pro football team being changed because it is offensive is the same thing as 1984.

    Change the name to the Washington Blackskins and use a logo of a Malcolm X or the Yellowskins with a Buddha, is that still okay with you? Would you consider that a celebration of heratige?

    This isn’t liberals ruining the country. This isn’t prayer in school or gay marriage. This isn’t welfare, the Affordable Care Act or Wall Street reform. This is people recognizing that using a racial slur as a pro sports team name isn’t cool.

  44. The idea behind a racial slur is that it creates hatred and is used to fling that hatred in someone’s face. The way to take that away from people who want to use it as an insult and remove the hurt behind it so people don’t view it as a slur or insulting. Newer generations, me being a member of a newer generation, never considered redskin a racial slur because it was used as a team name and thus people didn’t throw it around as a slur. Isn’t that a goal on the road to solving racism? Taking hateful words and defusing them by removing the hate behind them? That was done in this case, and all the Oneida tribe has done is add the hate factor back to the word by making such a big deal about how much of a slur it is when no one considers it to be a slur these days to begin with.

    And don’t we have much more important things in this world to worry about instead of harping on the name of a team and how a certain grouped of people feels “offended”? I’m so sick and tired of everything being so PC and how people are so desperate to be offended in some way so they can feel important. Pretty soon you won’t be able to say a single thing without offending some tiny group of society

  45. jmac1013 says:
    Oct 18, 2013 12:35 PM
    If redskins is a racial slur, why haven’t I ever heard someone refer to a native american (i use that term loosely as there aren’t any native americans) in a derogatory manner as a redskin?In any manner. Not in movies, music, jokes, print, etc. Never heard the term but in relation to the football team.
    *********
    Because the Europeans killed off most of them and destroyed their way of life ( a pretty good way too)

    Look to some of the early John Wayne movies for the use of Redskin in a derogatory manner (for movies)

    It did exist as a slur at one time.

  46. So what will be next – changing the name of the Saints, Vikings, 49ers, Patriots
    —————————————————-

    You’re missing the point. None of those names refer to the skin color or ethnicity of the group they represent! Comparing the two is not apples to apples. If there was a team called the coons, or the chinks or the honkeys, then you’d have a point.

    I dare any one of you people that think it’s no big deal to go up to a native american and say “hey redskin”. See how that goes for you.

  47. pkrlvr says:
    Oct 18, 2013 1:09 PM
    So what will be next – changing the name of the Saints, Vikings, 49ers, Patriots
    —————————————————-

    You’re missing the point. None of those names refer to the skin color or ethnicity of the group they represent!

    Vikings refer to white Scandinavians!

  48. Imagine how it must feel… to every couple of weeks, wake up… and there is “something new” that offends
    you.

    What a miserable existence it must be, to be so “injured”, and butt-hurt, about whatever today’s
    cause is.

    Really can’t stand this “my feelings are hurt” crowd.

  49. I am a conservative and I think the name should be changed. I don’t think this is a conservative/liberal issue though.

    Some southern states kept the confederate flag markings on their state flag. Blacks found it as a representation of slavery. Whites found it as a representation of past heritage.
    Mississippi is the only state left still carrying the confederate marking on their flag. Eventually even they will remove it.

    Change is never easy but is sometimes necessary. The name Redskins is derogatory in by itself. In time I think this name eventually gets changed.

  50. I’ve never seen one comment on this issue from supporters of keeping the nickname, conservatives, natives, antagonists or what have you, claiming some manner of understanding, that actually understood the most infinitesimal modicum of why the name offends some people. Then there are those who freely admit they do not understand why it offends anyone at all. It is unconscionable at this point in “civilization” that it has to be explained to an apparent majority that if you walk around with your arse hanging out, some people don’t want to see it.

  51. KR is an poor journalist, a person who is clearly partisan, and, in this case, an opportunist. if he can’t name the MVP of the 1992 super bowl (a redskin) and at least 4 players on the current roster, i dont care what he has to say. i hate when nonsports ppl jump on some hot sports issue and try to make a name for themselves off of it. this name is clearly not cool, but its the washington redskins and we should allow them to keep it. besides, honestly, when do ppl ever mention native americans? this name is more about football than being offensive and maybe its good to keep the plight of the native american in the public arean by keeping the name.

  52. mnmattvike says: Oct 18, 2013 2:03 PM

    pkrlvr says:
    Oct 18, 2013 1:09 PM
    So what will be next – changing the name of the Saints, Vikings, 49ers, Patriots
    —————————————————-

    You’re missing the point. None of those names refer to the skin color or ethnicity of the group they represent!

    Vikings refer to white Scandinavians!

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    You do realize that the origin of “redskin” wasn’t referring to skin color either? Native Americans are actually the first known people to use the term, as it referenced the paint they put on their faces as well as the ocher they used to protect their skin from the sun and ward of mosquitos.

  53. By the way… how the heck was Bob Costas allowed to come on at halftime and spew his personal opinion about the team name being “racist” or “disparaging? Who allowed or approved that? Why was he allowed to force his incorrect opinion down our throats? He should be fired.

  54. “WASHINGTON AMERICANS” Someone posted this above and this is the first name I’ve heard that I actually like. Unfortunately if the Redskins ever (which won’t ever happen as long as Dan Snyder owns the team) change their name they won’t be able to use this new name… Why? because some people will be “offended” by it. Case in point: I work in the liquor industry and an owner of a liquor store I service asked me to make them a sign for the outside wall of his store the read “American Owned And Operated”. Some Indian liquor store owners (from India) complained that it was offensive to them and racist. Unreal!

  55. No matter how much anyone writes about this issue or speaks on tv about it the name will never change as long as Dan owns the team, get over it. Read Dan’s all of Dan Snyder’s comments and letters again… he’s not going to cave to pc, liberal pressure. Your all wasting your time and should be more worried about other things. People can talk about it all they want if it gets them page views-hits/tv exposure/draw attention to themselves for career gain or keep themselves relevant or in the news… but it won’t change anything. The name isn’t changing. Maybe in 50 years like this site claims it may change the name when Dan passes or sells the team to some pc, liberal wacko the new owner may change it. But, until then it won’t…. and I hope Mr. Snyder lives to be 150 years old or passes the team on to his children.

  56. Frankly, all of this talk about this “issue” is moving more and more people to the right… Just like me. I used to consider myself slightly leaning to the left and I’m a registered Independent but now I find myself moving more to the right every day. This Redskins name “issue” has finally opened my eyes about other things too that I never used to think about. Mainly why I need to stop voting Dem, wow I was so blind. Congratulations PC, Liberal Media… Thanks!

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