by Timothy Lane
As a sports fan, I follow major league baseball, but inevitably I do become aware of major events and controversies in other sports. (Of course, my knowledge of them is often vague; in the Penn State scandal I thought for a while that Paterno was the perpetrator because that’s why they all talked about.) Complaints about team nicknames (and mascots) from professional idiots (i.e., liberals) always seeking something to be outraged about have been very obvious for many years.
One reason I call them idiots is simply that it never occurs to them (or it does, and they’re simply determined to be outraged anyway, which with liberals is always quite possible) that teams don’t choose such nicknames in order to insult anyone. This may be why, for example, polls of American Indians don’t find much demand for changing Indian nicknames. But to the politically correct, this has never been relevant (though there are a few occasions when Indian support has enabled a team to keep its nickname despite the protests of politically correct white elites).
The current dispute is over the Washington Redskins, but if this succeeds, it won’t be long before the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians come under similar fire. (Incidentally, the Indians were so named around a century ago in honor of a popular, if not very successful, American Indian player, Lou Sockalexis.) The complain is that Redskins is an insulting nickname for the somewhat red-skinned American Indians. Even Charles Krauthammer, in a weak moment, agreed that a nickname that was reasonable once no longer is. In reality, I suspect the truth is the opposite. Perhaps, at a time when Indians were often the much-feared enemy of frontier settlers, the term was indeed an insult. But such hostility dissipated after 1890, when the Indians became instead an often romantic symbol of courage and stoicism.
A recent article by Rich Lowry pointed out that the Redskins started out in Boston, and were called the Braves because they played at Braves Field (also home of the Boston Braves in baseball, who later moved to Milwaukee and then Atlanta). Then they moved to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox (which it still is), and changed their name to Redskins. Obviously, they didn’t mean it as an insult then, and they don’t now. Even some of their professionally outraged critics admit that.
When I was studying French in high school, our texts occasionally made mention of the Indians under what presumably was a standard, accepted French term for them: Peaux-Rouges. For those who don’t know French, that translates to “Redskins”. I thought liberals liked France and wanted to ape them.
The usual liberal suggestion is: What if a team had been called the Niggers or Wetbacks or some similar term? In the first place, I doubt anyone would have used such an insulting team nickname unless it was by blacks or Mexican-Americans as a way of throwing the term back into their antagonists’ faces. (Can anyone cite any example of such a nickname?) Nor is it likely that such a term would have survived the attacks by members of the insulted groups; the politically correct white elites would only have been supporting players instead of the instigators of the demand.
One can certainly find some Indians who don’t like the term, but polls have found that most don’t care (just like most of the public at large). One interesting report I saw indicated that “Redskins” was generally accepted by Indians with little contact with the outside world, but not by those more heavily integrated into society. Of course, Indians who have been integrated into society but still identify themselves as Indians (I have no idea if Elizabeth Warren, whom I call Blonde Squaw With Empty Head, was one of those consulted in the poll) are probably likely to be liberals, and thus much readier to act as an Official Victim Group.
Still, now that white elite liberals have declared war on the nickname Redskins, and weak-kneed conservatives are ready to go along with them, the team nickname is probably ultimately doomed. So when the time comes for a change, I would propose that they call themselves the Washington Stealers. That nickname captures the essence of the city in which they play, as well as of those who demand the change. • (936 views)