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Thoughtful, mature and nuanced point made to me on Facebook yesterday, regarding the Washington Redskins name/trademark issue:

Honestly…. anyone who finds a sports team’s name offensive is a jerk off.
Personally, I think anyone who says that “anyone who [X] is [Y]” is a jerk off, but I digress.

My opinion about the Washington NFL club is simply this: The logo and uniforms are fine, but it's probably time to change the name. I've always maintained that the question of whether American Indian names, images, themes and motifs are appropriate for sports teams generally is a separate question from whether the word "Redskins" is an appropriate moniker for a sports franchise. It should be clear by now that it isn't. I think the names "Indians," "Braves," "Chiefs" and "Blackhawks" are fine, as are the logos of the latter three as they currently exist, and that of the Seattle Seahawks which is based on Indian art. I think the Cleveland club's "Chief Wahoo" logo should probably go away (and the club appears to be slowly, gradually, and very quietly, phasing it out) because it's an obvious racist caricature, and the Atlanta club's "Chief Noc-A-Homa" should stay retired -- a decision the club wisely made by abandoning a proposed batting-practice cap last season.

I was also having a discussion in the same forum where someone claimed that the University of North Dakota was “forced” to abandon its “Fighting Sioux” nickname; I took exception to the word “forced” and pointed out that while the NCAA did pressure the university to change its name — which it is perfectly within its rights and prerogative to do — the ultimate decision was the result of a lengthy deliberative process with full public and private participation. It was done, I pointed out, rather democratically, not by "force." Yet my counterparts continued to insist, “They were forced! They were FORCED! FORCED!!!!” Apparently, there's no difference between arbitrary force and the good-faith exercise of public and private forums and democratic institutions to effect change by exerting social, economic and political pressure.

The word “forced” implies arbitrary and unjustified coercion, but more than that, it implies that the so-called “force” victimized whoever was on the receiving end of it. The University was FORCED to change the nickname of its athletic teams, and was thus victimized by whoever FORCED it to do that. It’s the ubiquitous victimization language that bothers me, being tossed about so casually by people who are not really victims but for some reason feel the need to take a victim's stance. Some folks can’t talk about anything without casting themselves as victims, or victims-by-proxy; one political faction in particular that we all know so very well can always be counted on to use the word “forced” in every other sentence, referring either to themselves personally or some ideologically-aligned cohort as being "forced" to do things like participate in civilization and treat other people with respect.

I could not help but notice, although I refrained from commenting upon, the irony of complaining about contrived victimization by contriving victimization.

The paroxysms of passive-aggressive snark that come out of this issue are truly a sight to behold. Not only are we trying very, very hard to make victims of ourselves, but also to make hypocrites out of everyone else.

"Now we have to change every team's nickname just because it might offend someone."

"I'm tall, and I think 'Giants' is offensive. I demand they change it!"

"What about the vast majority of Native Americans who are not offended by it? Oh, I guess they don't count."

"Look at all these trademarks that were declared less offensive than 'Redskins'!!"

"...by Obama!" (I mean at this point, what the hell?)

We really are a nation of children.

I find the phrase “political correctness,” in my experience and observations, to be a generic complaint lodged for the most part by people who have never been and probably will never be victimized by the sort of offensiveness and meanness they seek license to blithely and blamelessly inflict upon others. “Anyone who is offended by [X] is a jerk,” says the person for whom there can be no analogy to [X], who has never walked and will never walk in those shoes. The non-victim minimizes and dismisses the victimhood of actual victims by making himself the victim. What he really wants is a license to be offensive and mean, without consequence to himself or his cohort.

The whole flap over the Washington Redskins has turned into another whine-fest about "political correctness" and "white liberal guilt" and all that. For some reason we have a hard time understanding that (1) there are certain words and expressions we should not use, (2) we should not be overly sensitive about words and expressions that people use, and (3) both of these things can be true without the person saying one or the other being a monster.

Originally posted to GrafZeppelin127 on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM PDT.

Poll

If th Washington Redskins change their name, but keep their logo and American Indian theme, what should the new name be?

36%4 votes
18%2 votes
0%0 votes
27%3 votes
9%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
9%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 11 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  We're Dealing With Severely Aggrieved Populations (16+ / 0-)

    Natives took a population destruction larger than the Holocaust, between accident and active genocide, plus they were run off vast tracts of two continents of their homelands.

    I think they deserve to be left just about the only original possession they still have, which is tangible reference to their selves and cultures. Especially when the application is profiteering by part of the system that obliterated theirs.

    Now, any time a Native or for that matter a Fighting Scots community wants to lend their imagery or legends to some element of the now dominant culture, that's their privilege and then we can all share a little enjoyment and enlightenment over our history of diversity.

    But really it's got to be entirely their call in general as well as particulars.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

  •  This diary was going sort of OK for me (4+ / 0-)

    till I got to this zinger:

    It’s the ubiquitous victimization language that bothers me.
    It sounds here like you accept much socially-sanctioned bullying and meanness and spite in this culture without batting an eye. The only "problem" in your book is when people dare to try to call bullying out--even fully traditional, institutionalized stuff--to question it.

    Uh-uh. Not falling for it. Sorry.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 09:20:55 AM PDT

    •  More victimization by proxy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, oblomov, Jersey Jon

      This is part of my point; Everyone's a victim, a victim of a victim, a victim of a victim of a victim, or a victim of a victim of a victim of a victim.

      What you're saying here is that being bothered by the inappropriate and unjustified use of victimization language is tantamount to believing that no one is ever victimized by anyone, in any way, ever.

      That's ridiculous.

      Rather than recognize the actual point, which is that victimization language can be, and often is, used inappropriately and without justification by non-victims in order to minimize the victimization of actual victims, you instead raced as fast as you could to the victim's corner, took the victim's posture, and pretended to have been victimized by me. Why?

      •  Insulting, ridiculous comment. nt (4+ / 0-)

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 09:38:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          When you try that hard to feel victimized, what else can you say?

          •  I think it's you who feels victimized (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            karmsy, moviemeister76, newpioneer

            You're in the wrong, you know you're in the wrong, and you're trying to justify your feeling that you're being victimized by the people who are offended by these names, mascots, and the disrespect and dehumanization that accompanies them and which they cause. They're victimizing you by not seeing things the same white privileged way that you do, apparently.

            Uh, no. Just no to the majority of your diary. Unless you'd approve of a team named, for instance, the "Seattle Chinese", the "New York Nigerians", the "Detroit Bangladeshi", or a team named after any other sovereign nation comprised of people of color, then you should have a problem with the Cleveland Indians. Unless you'd approve of the "Chicago Harriet Tubmans" with a caricature of that magnificent leader as an emblem, you shouldn't approve of the Chicago Blackhawks either. The "tomahawk chop" perfomed by fans of both the KC Chiefs and the Atlanta Braves is racist and offensive, and so are the names. It's never an honor to be treated as a mascot, because you're being treated as less than fully human. It's never OK to make a people your pets, and "mascot" comes from the Spanish word "mascota", which means "pet".

            People who insist that you stop victimizing THEM are not, in any way, making YOU a victim. And quite frankly, your opinion as a member of the dominant culture about this and your comfort in using stereotypical language, dressing in redface, performing racist pantomines, and diminishing the humanity of people of color is not relevant. Neither is mine; I'm white and while I can ally with and support the struggle to get rid of mascotry, when it comes down to it, my opinion is just as irrelevant.

            The only right thing to do when someone says you're offending is to stop offending and apologize. There is no other moral course of action.

            •  What on earth are you talking about? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe, allie4fairness

              Or, in the alternative, who on earth are you talking to? What you're saying here is what I'm saying in the diary. Maybe you should read it again? Which part of this:

              “Anyone who is offended by [X] is a jerk,” says the person for whom there can be no analogy to [X], who has never walked and will never walk in those shoes. The non-victim minimizes and dismisses the victimhood of actual victims by making himself the victim. What he really wants is a license to be offensive and mean, without consequence to himself or his cohort.
              ...did you not understand?

              This:

              People who insist that you stop victimizing THEM are not, in any way, making YOU a victim. And quite frankly, your opinion as a member of the dominant culture about this ... is not relevant.
              ...is what I'm saying to the person who said to me, and anyone else who would say, "Anyone who is offended by a sports team's name is a jerk." That's my whole point.

              Good lord, what are you on about?

              •  But you also then list a number of words that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kitsap River

                refer to Indians that you are comfortable with.  As a matter of fact so am I, but I am not an Indian.

                What if you had listed words that referred to Chinese, many of which are intended to be insulting and many are not.

                But the Chinese and the Indians are a specific race and identity of people, and well as specific cultures.  Do they have no voice at all if they see some of those terms as derogatory?

                'Nother Example. A Tennessee team might call themselves the Mountaineers, most, Tennesseeians I suspect, would find that unoffensive and would be OK with that, but what if they were named the Hillbillies or Country Hicks.  Would the students and the local population not have the right to point out the insult that is culturally attached to the second two team names?  
                Maybe they would think it was funny,  But maybe they wouldn't.  Do they have to take the insult as sit quietly?

                •  Misses the point by a country mile. (0+ / 0-)
                  Do they have no voice at all if they see some of those terms as derogatory?

                  ...

                  Do they have to take the insult as sit quietly?

                  The diary neither says nor implies nor insinuates nor suggests, in any way, shape or form, by any reasonable understanding, that they do.
            •  Whoa! (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jersey Jon, DLWinMI, allie4fairness, denig

              I'd recommend a re-read of the diary, maybe slower this time? The diarist's point is much in alignment with yours - going after privileged people falsely claiming victimhood because people aren't "tolerant" of their using insensitive team names. You have badly misread and misunderstood the point of the diary, and have now very unfairly lambasted the diarist for a position s/he has in no way, shape or form taken!

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 01:02:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Lotta people need their daily dose-- it helps them (0+ / 0-)

        think they understand why things are the way they are.

        Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

        by oblomov on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:10:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

        "...victimization language can be, and often is, used inappropriately and without justification by non-victims in order to minimize the victimization of actual victims..."

        Slut shaming a rape victim minimizes the rape?

        Making a hanging noose gesture and yelling the N word at a Black person minimizes their historical victimization?

        My God.

        •  You clearly have no idea what I'm talking about. (0+ / 0-)

          Slut shaming a rape victim minimizes the rape, in the mind and eyes of the person doing the slut-shaming. It's an attempt by the slut-shamer to blame the victim. But I'm not talking about blaming the victim, so that's not a good example. Slut-shaming is not a use of victimization language by the slut-shamer (i.e., by the non-victim); it's not an attempt by the slut-shamer to make himself into a victim.

          "Making a hanging noose gesture and yelling the N word" is also not a use of victimization language by the non-victim, not even remotely. So that's not even in the same county as what I'm talking about.

          Wailing about "political correctness" because you "can't" make a hanging noose gesture or use the N word, that is a use of victimization language by the non-victim, to minimize the historical victimization of African-Americans.

          Wailing about "political correctness," or about how "intolerant" people are who criticize you and call you out for slut-shaming, is a use of victimization language by the non-victim, to minimize the victimization of rape victims.

          Wailing about "political correctness" because a pro football team might have to change its name, or insisting that some state college was brutally and arbitrarily "forced" to change the name of its teams, is a use of victimization language by the non-victim, to minimize the historical victimization of American Indians.

          Do you get it now?

    •  You kind of have to read the whole sentence (4+ / 0-)
      ..ubiquitous victimization language... being tossed about so casually by people who are not really victims
      Unless you think that those who are being pressured to find less insensitive team names/logos are in fact victims being "bullied" and "forced"?

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:21:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I edited the sentence after reading karmsy's (3+ / 0-)

        comment. I thought (s)he took it the wrong way so I clarified. My fault, not his/hers.

      •  ...although apparently it didn't help, given (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness

        "Kitsap River's" acid diatribe above. I thought I made it pretty clear that my objection was to non-victims using victimization language to minimize or dismiss the victimization of actual victims by making victims of themselves. In other words, I was objecting to the behavior of Mr. Anyone-offended-is-a-jerk and Mr. U.-of-North-Dakota-was-forced-to-change-its-name.

        Karmsy and Kitsap River responded by accusing me of doing or advocating the thing I was objecting to; of being Mr. Anyone-offended-is-a-jerk. I tried revising the diary but I guess it didn't work.

        Is it not clear which side I'm on here?

        •  Clear to me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allie4fairness

          For some reason it may not have been at all clear to Kitsap, and I'm still not sure where karmsy was coming from. Actually, trying to re-read the thread, I wonder if Kitsap's response was actually directed to karmsy, and got misplaced?

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 01:06:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it was directed at me; (s)he directly accused (0+ / 0-)

            me of "feeling that you're being victimized by the people who are offended by these names," when not only do I not feel that way, the diary is about people who do feel that way, and is intended as a criticism of people who do feel that way.

            Could this be a symptom of the phenomenon I'm describing?

            •  Could apply to karmsy's parent comment (0+ / 0-)

              If karmsy did indeed feel that the team owners were being bullied. And since I never got a response about that, s/he may in fact feel that way. Kitsap's usually a pretty kind person, so I'm going to assume the best of her, pending any new information.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 02:16:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think so. Karmsy's complaint was to (0+ / 0-)

                accuse me of "accept[ing] ... socially-sanctioned bullying and meanness and spite" and having a "problem" only when "people dare to try to call bullying out ... to question it." Meaning, I'm OK with bullying and I only have a problem with those who object to it; the precise opposite of what the diary says.

                •  On the off chance (0+ / 0-)

                  If karmsy felt that the pressure being placed on teams was bullying, then it might appear that you were OK with that kind of bullying - although neither you nor I would characterize the pressure as bullying, there are those that do.

                  “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                  by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 02:58:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Unless you think that every interaction between (0+ / 0-)

      or among human beings must (necessarily?) include a victim and a victimizer, you should try to understand how tiresome and counterproductive is the overuse of the victim card.

      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

      by oblomov on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:36:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Apart from any other considerations (18+ / 0-)

    it is a matter of respect.

    Substitute the "n-word" where you are discussing "Redskins", and you might get it.

    This is not for us to decide.

    If Native Americans tell you that this name offends them, and is disrespectful to their heritage and culture, then you shut up and listen.

    There are no debating points here.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 09:52:55 AM PDT

  •  I don't understand (8+ / 0-)

    why Snyder is hanging on to it as though changing the name would be the end of the world. Plenty of sports teams have changed their names for one reason or another and it really was not that big a deal. In fact, it could be a great opportunity for him to sell a bunch of new merch.

    Change it and move on.

  •  Washington Redhawks sounds good. (6+ / 0-)

    From the poll.

    I, personally, think they should be called the Cherry Blossoms.

  •  Your North Dakota partisan sounds like he thinks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, allie4fairness

    the institution was bullied.  

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:41:57 PM PDT

    •  Exactly; that's my point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      It's victimization-by-proxy. The conversation got very ugly when I tried to explain that (a.) the university was pressured, not forced, to change the name; (b.) the ultimate decision was made very democratically; and (c.) using advocacy and democratic institutions is a legitimate means of effecting change in a free society. This person insisted on the "fact" that the University was "forced," meaning bullied, into changing the name.

  •  If indian names or word associates with Indians (0+ / 0-)

    or combined with the logo are Indian, why would Indian's not be expected to have a opinion as to the appropriateness of the name with or without logo.

    Could a women's sports team in a school whose mens' teams are the Chiefs with Indian logo be appropriately called the Squaws.  That is a term that Wikipedia states "At present, the term is often held to be offensive."  It is a word that is derived from an Indian language but the term is historically been used by Americans of European extraction as a insult.

    How about an Arizona team called the Peons, or elsewhere the Slavs?

    If the Irish are OK with the Fighting Irish, that 's fine.  But what if they weren't?  What if Irish were a term was used or had been used derogatorily?  Do people of Irish descent have no say at all?

    I went to a high school whose mascot was the coyote, and you can guess what the suggestion was when the women's tennis team, the only intramural team from the school looked for a name (we couldn't be the Coyotes that was deemed men's only.)  Did we have no voice in not wanting to be called the Bitches?

    There are lots of words in the American language that do not have negative baggage.  Why go to one that does?

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