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."
"...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.