Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Redskins: Why it's time to change the name
During this period of history there was little regard for the feelings or concerns of minorities. It wasn't until 1934 that the US Government passed the Indian Reorganization Act. Prior to the act Native Americans were given allotments, or pieces of the reservation, that could be sold to non-Natives in an effort to assimilate the Natives and their land into the US population. Separate but equal laws weren't repealed until 1954 and laws banning poll taxes and literacy tests (designed to keep blacks from voting) weren't passed until 1965. So using a name like "redskin" for a football team in the 1930s wasn't even on the radar as a potential problem.
Changes in word definitions are also a factor in the Patent Office decision to revoke the trademark. There is a lot of controversy over actual meaning of the term "redskin". I feel that this is because, like many words, it started out with one meaning and over time came to mean something else. One of the most common examples of this is the misuse of the term for a female dog. In today's lexicon it's used a derogatory term for a woman. As language changes society needs to find ways to adapt.
Our political system is very big on the squeaky wheel concept. Blacks have made huge advances because they have been able to gather as a group and create awareness of their situation. Natives, some of whom only speak their their native language or have been forced by the government into boarding to school which literally beat them for practicing their culture, are just now beginning to organize as a political group in order to fight for the same considerations which are afforded to other minority groups.
As a society we must accept that sometimes things have to be changed. While there may have been no malice intended in the 1930s when the Redskins first chose the name, the name has now been shown to be a racial slur and derogatory. It's time to change it.
Wife of a Native, Mum to the Spawn. I don't fit in a box, literally or figuratively. I don't have a label. I can't be cataloged. Wife, Mum, Writer, Editor, Reviewer, and Photographer. Advocate for common sense, creator of havoc and collector of names.
To find out more about my writing, photography, reviews or life in general, check out my blog at http://www.NancyCWalker.com