More criticism appears regarding Washington Post poll

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Last Thursday, the Washington Post published a poll of 504 self-identifying Native American adults, 90 percent of whom said they aren’t bothered by the name of the local NFL team. Although some supporters of the name continue to insist that this means any lingering opposition to the name comes only from white liberal journalists, multiple Native American voices have criticized the poll.

The National Congress of American Indians has called it irrelevant, and the Native American Journalists Association has questioned whether ongoing use of a dictionary-defined slur should be the subject of public opinion, regardless of the outcome. Now, the co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry has challenged both the methodology of the poll and the decision to conduct it.

In an item appearing at TheNation.com, Jacqueline Keeler explores the flaws in the polling process, from failure to verify that the self-identifying Native Americans are indeed Native American to skewing the group polled in a way that does not properly reflect demographics like gender and age to using a geographic distribution that fails to properly represent the Native American community.

“Even if the poll was conducted perfectly and even if the results had been completely reversed,” Keeler writes, “the Washington Post did a grave disservice by utterly ignoring studies that clearly demonstrate the harm mascotting causes to Native youth — the most vulnerable population in the country by almost any statistic.”

Keeler explains that Native American youth “suffer measurably lower self-esteem after exposure to a Native American mascot,” and that those Native Americans who claim to have no issue with terms like the name of the Washington team “actually experience a greater drop in self-esteem.”

Via Keeler, Scott Clement of the Post responded to the criticism from groups like the NAJA by pointing out that the newspaper “pursued this poll without any idea as to how it would turn out and had no vested interest in the outcome.” Clement also defended the poll by explaining that “it’s entirely appropriate for a news organization to conduct a survey to test any assertions made about the breadth and depth of offense among Native Americans” by those who oppose the name, adding that it is “customary for any other public policy issue.”

“But is this really customary?” Keeler asks. “Are pollsters judging the ‘breadth and depth’ of how offensive other dictionary-defined slurs are? Tragically, it is only Native Americans who have to suffer this kind of humiliation, especially when the multibillion-dollar brand of the paper’s local football team hangs in the balance.”

And so the Post poll definitely won’t end the debate, even though many supporters of the name believe it should. If anything, the criticism of the poll should spark a meaningful debate over whether it’s proper to make any dictionary-defined slur the subject of polling or debate.

53 responses to “More criticism appears regarding Washington Post poll

  1. Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive, so if usage changes such that a term is no longer considered offensive (which has not happened yet with “redskin”), the dictionary definition would change also. Not that it will in this case, just pointing out that citing a dictionary def is weaker than other data.

  2. There is no debate. Those in favor of a name change have lost. Debate amongst yourselves if you want but it’s not happening.

  3. Washington Racists fans can say we like the name and aren’t going to change it but the argument about whether or not a racist slur is a racist slur depending upon how many people may or may not find it offensive is just plain stupid.
    Embrace racism and that’s what you are, a racist. Goes to the top of your resume.

  4. I used to work with a Native American when I lived in Arizona. To him an to his fellow tribe folk that work is the N word to them. So silly me I did some research. I could not no info that the word was ever meant as a positive. The R word was simply at minimum a way to label a group of people. At max it was and is a slur. While it was used back when the whiteman was evicting the Native Americans from their land. The whiteman was claiming it by force if neccessary. So any polls that only ask 500 or so Native Americans out of the thousands upon thousands isn;t anything but garbage

  5. Whatever happened to. Sticks and stones will hurt my bones but names will never hurt me? Listen , if something offends me I no longer pay attention to it. Indians should pay more attention to getting their poverty stricken residents more money from their casinos. If anyone has ever been on a reservation and see how the people , you realize quickly most of the casino and hotel profits are not going to the ones that need it most.

  6. I hate to tell you this dandeman, but that’s how polls are done. There’s scientific methodology to them and the Post followed that to a tee. Other polling organizations such as Gallup use 1,000 randomly selected people via cell / landline calls to gauge the view of more than 200 million adults. Is Gallup and other polling outfits like Quinnipiac wrong too?

  7. This again? Persistent little lemmings.

    Spineless white liberal 0
    90% of Native Americans 1

    Libs lose again….and again…and again.

    I’m 100% Native American from Rez245 Devils Lake ND, I hate the Redskins, don’t care about their name. Stop wasting our time, we don’t need YOU being offended for US.

    HAIL TO THE REDSKINS.

  8. Reaching for anything to try to spin it the other way but Redskins is proudly embraced by more Indians than those against it.

  9. You know who cares about this? Florio, and about 2 and a half other people. The name stays. Find something else to cry about. Washington Redskins!!

  10. “Tragically, it is only Native Americans who have to suffer this kind of humiliation, especially when the multibillion-dollar brand of the paper’s local football team hangs in the balance.”

    The Redskins team name hardly ‘hangs in the balance’ of a Post poll and it is highly doubtful their brand equity is in the multi-billion dollar range as that exceeds the value of the team itself. Tragically it is only every offended party ever that resorts to ridiculous hyperbole. That given their well known position on ‘the local team’s name’ the Post obviously expected a very different result but is now getting raked over the coals is not without a certain measure of irony.

  11. I look at it this way, nobody would name their team after something that they didn’t like/have respect for. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of teams named after the Indians in some way, are they all meant to be derogatory?

    But I’m just a pale skin, what do I know?

  12. There are two things I am tired of reading about,Redskins name change,Johnny the punk Manuel.If the National Congress or Indians want the name changed along with these other idiots here’s your solution,call Dan Snyder and buy the team, problem solved,you can then change the name.But what about all those Super Bowl records,the first black qb to play in a Super Bowl,most points scored in a quarter,what about those accomplishments?If you don’t own the team and are not thinking of buying it,quit crying about the name.

  13. Look, the name “redskins” is the last overt symbol of racism in this country and people are going to hang onto it with their fingernails.

  14. You’re right!

    I was such a bugot: to ASSUME that self-identifying native americans were, in fact, NATIVE AMERICANS.

    Nah – so long as they wore a head dress and danced around a fire, the criteria was met.

  15. Of course it’s a slur. If we had the Dallas Whiteskins, or the Green Bay Blackskins, people would be rightfully angry.

    Snyder’s just a spoiled, stubborn billionaire bigot.

  16. No surprise– it’s the same across the racial spectrum: Self-appointed elites decide they know better than the people they supposedly represent.

  17. As a person of Irish descent, as a teen….I actually was proud of the drunken, fighting Irish Leprechaun mascot for some unnamed college team. Why is everyone so easily “hurt” now?

  18. Let’s just change the dictionary definition to “professional football team in Washington DC.”

    Done and done. Can we now stop trying to make this an issue and telling Native Americans what they should be thinking or be offended by (which I believe is more insulting than any “slur”)

  19. “And so the Post poll definitely won’t end the debate…”

    Of course it won’t end the debate. No amount of contrary information can ever sway the social justice warriors because it’s never actually about helping the supposedly oppressed. It’s about that sweet, sweet feeling of self-righteousness.

  20. If you don’t like the results then you challenge the poll. It’s still just sour grapes.

  21. It is irrelevant what natives think -it’s our word for them, so it’s our decision wether to stop using it or not. As far as the word “Indian” goes, many natives point out they keep this going to prove how ignorant Europeans are.

  22. Now, the co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry has challenged both the methodology of the poll and the decision to conduct it.

    Ummmm, the what? Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry

    What planet are we on? Are you kidding me?

  23. Do me a favor lemmings, come to The Gain Hopper bar on the rez in Devils Lake ND on an NFL Sunday and call my Native American father and uncle “bigots” because they Redskins fans. Watch what happens to you. I can’t believe people are falling for this this faux-crusade. A famous NA tattoo up here reads, “Proudly RED-skinned, not THIN-skinned”. Contact me via PM if you want a real native American statement on this stupid agenda.

    Note: I hate the Redskins; proud Vikings fan.

  24. Funny, the further you get from being a white liberal who never donated $1.00 to any native American cause, the less the name change becomes important.

  25. I managed a sports store in the hub of the largest reservation in America. I can’t begin to count the number of Redskins blankets I sold, and occasionally donated, to Navajos and Zunis who draped them over departed loved one’s caskets because they were fans in life. Amongst natives, the only team more popular was ironically the Cowboys.

  26. It’s beyond stupid to believe that the use of Redskins as team name is derogatory and racist. It’s the same thing as naming your child. You evoke something especial in naming your child, the same with the teams.

  27. I wonder if Washington does change it’s name for some reason if it will have to some through an approval process where the media and other nattering nabobs on negativity will have to give it an okay first. Then it can go through a national referendum where if one person is offended and votes no they have to go back to the drawing board.

  28. Mascotting clearly hasn’t harmed Caucasians. Fighting Irish, Cowboys, Yankees (a slur).

    Wheres the outrage?

    But sure, lets pander to the council of rich casino owners.

  29. Remember when you are talking with your friends or commenting on a website make sure you use Redskins. The PC Mafia and Word Police can go pound sand.

  30. pooflingingmonkey says:
    May 26, 2016 3:05 PM

    Of course it’s a slur. If we had the Dallas Whiteskins, or the Green Bay Blackskins, people would be rightfully angry.

    _________________________________________

    Actually, I don’t think anyone would really care. The Natives don’t seem to care about the name redskins and I doubt people who aren’t part of the SJW crowd would really care about this.

  31. The article in Sports Illustrated more than a decade ago had a statement stating how ignorant the natives were because they didn’t even know this term was offensive to them. Right there you have the whole raison d’etre for the Social Justice Warriors. The problem is that these SJWs just don’t know when to quit being offended for someone else who isn’t. I think it’s great that the poll provided these results. If we were dealing with normal people, they would grab their ball and bat and go home and we wouldn’t hear about this again. However the mind of the PC liberal, the fight never ends because it’s never about obtaining any type of justice for people, it’s about feeling good for themselves.

  32. its even more ironic that comments that point out the writers hypocrisy vanish.

    The guy attacking the poll is biased. He runs a group (makes money off a group) opposed to the name. Of course he wants to attack the poll. If the viability of his cause is shown to be false his group ($$$) dries up.

    We often see comments here pointing out the same conflict of interests from others. But not on this issue.

    “the co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry has challenged…” Do you not think as a journalist his motivation for attacking the poll might have self centered motivations and this maybe should be part of the speculation?

  33. I just want to make sure I’m getting this right. I have no problem with the Redskins name and am a fan of the team. PC liberals think the name is racist and offends Native Americans and they want the name changed. Several polls over the past 10 years of Native Americans have produced the same results that between 80-90% of the respondents not thinking the name is racist and don’t care about the team name. The PC Liberal crowd is upset that after all their hand-wringing and fake care about a group, the results haven’t changed and have gone as far to attack the respondents as either being stupid or clueless because they don’t understand the issue like the PC liberals do. Yet I’m considered the racist here?

  34. I counter you with having talked to one Native American I worked with and him talking to his folks. They are offended by the word. So maybe being PC is sometimes accurate

  35. caring and accepting it are 2 different things. The Native Americans I talked to do care they are not accepting of it. They don’t like it. BUT they have much bigger issues in their reservations. They have drug and alcohol abuse poverty illiteracy to start with. So they are resigned to the fact that if some jackhole wants to use that word then so be it. It is a free country #freedomofspeech

  36. Do you what is offensive? It is to be called a racist just because we love the Washington Redskins. Think about it. Defending the name of a football team does not mean that you are a racist, it just means that you have a different opinion. Racism has hate. People that defend the name does not hate anybody. However, the other way around there is a lot of hate towards Redskins Nation.

  37. The 1849ers were white gold miners during the California Gold Rush aka 49ers. They forcibly removed and murdered 100K Native Americans while raping their women and children. (as well as Chinese and others). They were in their way and had to go. They wanted the Gold for themselves. San Francisco glorifies these men, their atrocities and genocide of these people BUT… nobody ever talks about this. It’s only Redskins, Chiefs, Indians, Blackhawks… To me the 49ers are way more offensive.

  38. The 1849ers were white gold miners during the California Gold Rush, aka 49ers. They forcibly removed and murdered 100K Native Americans while raping their women and children. (as well as Chinese and others). They were in their way and had to go. They wanted the Gold for themselves. San Francisco glorifies these men, their atrocities and genocide of these people BUT… nobody ever talks about this. It’s only Redskins, Chiefs, Indians, Blackhawks… To me the 49ers are way more offensive.

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