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Friday, October 18, 2013

Krauthammer: Redskins and reason

The fact is, however, that words don’t stand still. They evolve.

Fifty years ago the preferred, most respectful term for African Americans was Negro. The word appears 15 times in Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Negro replaced a long list of insulting words in common use during decades of public and legal discrimination.

And then, for complicated historical reasons (having to do with the black power and “black is beautiful” movements), usage changed. The preferred term is now black or African American. With a rare few legacy exceptions, Negro carries an unmistakably patronizing and demeaning tone.

If you were detailing the racial composition of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “Well, to start with, there are 44 Negroes.” If you’d been asleep for 50 years, you might. But upon being informed how the word had changed in nuance, you would stop using it and choose another.

And here’s the key point: You would stop not because of the language police. Not because you might incur a Bob Costas harangue. Not because the president would wag a finger. But simply because the word was tainted, freighted with negative connotations with which you would not want to be associated.

Proof? You wouldn’t even use the word in private, where being harassed for political incorrectness is not an issue.

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 09:41 AM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: football, teams, washington

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   1. Harlond Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4577033)
I'm a longtime Redskins fan and have never seen any negative connotation attached to the name, but that doesn't sterilize the word and I expect that Danny boy will eventually surrender on this point. Won't bother me at all, and I'll still have plenty of reasons to loath Snyder. (Deion Sanders! Steve Spurrier!) When he does surrender, he absolutely has to choose as the new name a two-syllable word that will slide right into Hail To The Redskins. Krauthammer's suggestion to use just "Skins" misses on this critical point and also doesn't come anywhere near fixing the problem.
   2. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4577039)
Baseball!! woooooooo
   3. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4577042)
"Potomacs" is the best choice.

The widespread use of this slur for so long, and the relentless defenses of it, represent a truly bizarre episode in our history.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4577047)
Is it time for a new OT: Politics thread already?
   5. Dale Sams Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4577052)
The widespread use of this slur for so long, and the relentless defenses of it, represent a truly bizarre episode in our history.


Oh you should be there for the excuses I get for 'squaw'......"It just means 'Indian woman'. Don't be so thin-skinned."
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 18, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4577059)


Oh you should be there for the excuses I get for 'squaw'......"It just means 'Indian woman'. Don't be so thin-skinned."


Do you run into a lot of people using "squaw?"
   7. G.W.O. Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4577065)
The Washington Shutdowns - fits right into the chant, has mild satirical overtones, and actually has positive connotations in a sporting context.
   8. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4577067)
Washington Bluecoats would be such a badass name.
   9. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4577069)
1 is absolutely correct. Potomacs would fit in, as long as people wouldn't complain about keeping the "braves on the warpath" line, but who knows.
   10. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4577078)
Hail to the Bluecoats!
Hail Victory!
March on to Richmond!
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score -- we want a lot more!
Beat 'em, Swamp 'em,
Touchdown! -- Let the points soar!
Fight on, fight on 'Til you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!
Hail to the Bluecoats!
Hail Victory!
Men on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C!
   11. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4577081)
The only people that would offender are Stormfront type Reb apologists and Shelby Foote.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4577113)
That's actually the best case for the name change I've seen presented to date, since it doesn't rest on namecalling and guilt tripping. Well worth reading in its entirety, regardless of what you may think of Krauthammer on any other subject.
   13. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4577125)
Krauthammer's old enough to remember when the (supposed) non-derogatory term was "colored". "Negro" was considered the improvement over that at the time.
   14. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: October 18, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4577126)
I agree with Andy on this one. I was pleasantly surprised that Krauthammer penned this. His premise is just simple and to the point. It kind of strips away most of the tired rhetoric that many people use to support a name change.
   15. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 18, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4577132)
From TFA: This is a matter of usage — and usage changes. If you shot a remake of 1934’s “The Gay Divorcee,” you’d have to change that title too.'''

Except the usage hasn't changed; it's always been a slur. OTOH, "Gay" at one point had a perfectly fine and sensible usage that simply went out of style. If you used it today, you'd sound like an out-of-touch oldtimer, but you wouldn't be slurring gay people.

That isn't close to how the usage of "Redskin" has unfolded.(*)

It's good that Krauthammer has come out the right way. But his effort to find his own reasons simply so he doesn't have to agree with the PCers makes him look foolish. It's, in fact, a poor case for the name change. The best case is that the name is a slur and an insult. It always has been.

(*) And in fact a lot of people defend the name on the grounds that the change in usage has been precisely in the opposite direction -- that as time has progressed the slur has been crowded out and superseded by the "nickname of the Washington NFL franchise" sense of the term. They're wrong about their conclusion, but their historical point makes some sense.
   16. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4577143)
Do you run into a lot of people using "squaw?"


There's a major landmark in Phoenix that was formerly known as "Squaw Peak." After long complaint, the name was officially changed to "Piestewa Peak," after local soldier Lori Piestewa, who was the first Native American woman to die in combat (in Iraq). You wouldn't think that would be very controversial, but certain idiots who are otherwise gung-ho for the military resisted the change, and claimed she wasn't deserving: “This Piestewa was not a hero of any kind. She simply wrecked a truck when making a wrong turn, and that led to half her platoon getting wiped out.” Which claim, of course, was bullshit.

Using the word "squaw" was really important to them, I guess.
   17. BDC Posted: October 18, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4577162)
Krauthammer's old enough to remember when the (supposed) non-derogatory term was "colored". "Negro" was considered the improvement over that at the time

Neither "colored" nor "Negro" was derogatory, as you no doubt know; both were used by black writers, speakers, and organizations for about a century to self-identify, with seriousness and self-respect. (Imagine the NAACP putting the term in their name if it had had derogatory connotations, or Langston Hughes calling his speaker "colored" in 'Theme for English B' if the term wasn't neutral-to-positive in his ears.) In the 1970s, they came to seem old-fashioned more than anything else, in the complications of African-American political activism. "Colored" came to sound worse, but retained a positive sense in the term "people of color." "Negro" just disappeared, but not because it was an insult.

It's true that racist whites could use the terms "colored" and "Negro" with offensive intent, but they also used "black" and "African" as slurs. If you hate people, you can call them neutral things like "Jewish" or "Indian" or "Muslim" and make those terms sound abusive, too.
   18. Millon deFloss Posted: October 18, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4577173)
11. Since Shelby Foote is deceased, I don't think he'll be voicing an opinion.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4577188)
Neither "colored" nor "Negro" was derogatory, as you no doubt know; both were used by black writers, speakers, and organizations for about a century to self-identify, with seriousness and self-respect. (Imagine the NAACP putting the term in their name if it had had derogatory connotations, or Langston Hughes calling his speaker "colored" in 'Theme for English B' if the term wasn't neutral-to-positive in his ears.) In the 1970s, they came to seem old-fashioned more than anything else, in the complications of African-American political activism. "Colored" came to sound worse, but retained a positive sense in the term "people of color." "Negro" just disappeared, but not because it was an insult.

Some older blacks, like the recently deceased writer Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison before him, used "Negro" way past its pull date in the larger society. "Black" itself was largely considered an insult (largely because of the jealously guarded color distinctions within the black community) until the Black Power movement burst into public view in 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks. During those first couple of years after that, there was a serious intraracial war going on that pitted "Negroes" vs "Blacks" (always with a capital "B") as to which was the right (or "correct") term to use. "Black" won out largely because it seemed newer and hipper, and also because it was seen as the natural counterpart to "white" (always with a small "w", in one of those subtle linguistic power plays that largely went unnoticed but never failed to amuse me).
   20. dlf Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4577195)
I really like the term "colored." I know the history and wouldn't use it in any setting but a historical review. But it seems so beautifully descriptive and inclusive, especially compared to "black" which has connotations of evil and an absence of light. I know plenty of people who are beige, brown, almond, mocha, coffee with cream, hazel, chocolate, sepia, tan, ochre, and many other colors but never known anyone black. Why people abandoned such an imagery for a word that is so limiting may have had important political dimensions, but lacks poetic heft.
   21. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4577203)
I really like the term "colored." I know the history and wouldn't use it in any setting but a historical review. But it seems so beautifully descriptive and inclusive, especially compared to "black" which has connotations of evil and an absence of light. I know plenty of people who are beige, brown, almond, mocha, coffee with cream, hazel, chocolate, sepia, tan, ochre, and many other colors but never known anyone black. Why people abandoned such an imagery for a word that is so limiting may have had important political dimensions, but lacks poetic heft.

It got dismissed in great part because it was so intricately linked with "boy", as in "colored boy". What's always seemed mildly ironic to me is that "colored" is so completely on the #### list while the incredibly awkward-sounding "people of color" has gained some sort of cachet as the most "progressive" term of all.
   22. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4577207)
I know plenty of people who are beige, brown, almond, mocha, coffee with cream, hazel, chocolate, sepia, tan, ochre, and many other colors but never known anyone black.
My oldest sister moved from lily-white rural Ohio to decidedly unlily-white rural South Carolina in the late '70s. Just before her daughter's 1st day of 1st grade, my sister told her "There are going to be quite a few black kids in your school. They're just like you, they're just a different color. I want you to talk to them and play with them just like any of the other kids."

When my niece came home from school that 1st day, my sister asked her how she liked it. "It's OK, but there aren't any black kids like you said." My sister, obviously, was shocked.

"There's lots of brown ones, though."
   23. Davo Dozier Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4577208)
So how weird was it last night when Leyland let Jose Iglesias hit for himself with the Tigers down by a run in the bottom of the 9th? I mean...he doesn't actually think Iglesias is a .300-hitter, right???
   24. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 18, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4577220)
FTA:
Why? Simple decency. I wouldn’t want to use a word that defines a people — living or dead, offended or not — in a most demeaning way. It’s a question not of who or how many had their feelings hurt, but of whether you want to associate yourself with a word that, for whatever historical reason having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations.
This, in a nutshell, is really what some people call "political correctness" is all about.

I don't use certain terms because they're degrading to the people referred to. I have never understood how that can be wrong.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4577228)
This, in a nutshell, is really what some people call "political correctness" is all about.

I don't use certain terms because they're degrading to the people referred to. I have never understood how that can be wrong.


Yes, 95% of the time, what's being decried for being "politically correct" would be more accurately termed "correct."
   26. smileyy Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4577232)
I see and hear "brown" a lot to describe anyone non-white.
   27. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4577242)
Yes, 95% of the time, what's being decried for being "politically correct" would be more accurately termed "correct."

It's lower than that, but yes. It's a ridiculous sign of the times that, where they actually agree with someone, people like Krauthammer can't just agree, but instead bends over backwards to say, "But I'm not one of them."

His reasoning is simply absurd, as in this gem: "I don’t like being ... blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card." Huh? Someone telling me that "R______s" is a slur is "blackmailing" me? WTF?
   28. bobm Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4577243)
OTOH, "Gay" at one point had a perfectly fine and sensible usage that simply went out of style. If you used it today, you'd sound like an out-of-touch oldtimer, but you wouldn't be slurring gay people. 

The Gay Reliever
   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4577276)
It's lower than that, but yes. It's a ridiculous sign of the times that, where they actually agree with someone, people like Krauthammer can't just agree, but instead bends over backwards to say, "But I'm not one of them."

Maybe that's simply because Krauthammer doesn't want to be like people like you, who think that merely using the Redskins name is evidence of intentional racism. Can't say that I blame him.
   30. calhounite Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4577279)
Solution. Allows the team to essentially keep the name AND removes any possibility of insult to any group that would care - since they're the ones that keep coming up with these names, they obviously don't mind. Just confine the skin to that thing that connects the head to the shoulders.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4577285)
Solution. Allows the team to essentially keep the name AND removes any possibility of insult to any group that would care - since they're the ones that keep coming up with these names, they obviously don't mind. Just confine the skin to that thing that connects the head to the shoulders.

That's always been my solution, but it would require too many people on all sides to develop a sense of whimsical humor.
   32. PerroX Posted: October 18, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4577303)
I really like the term "colored." I know the history and wouldn't use it in any setting but a historical review. But it seems so beautifully descriptive and inclusive, especially compared to "black" which has connotations of evil and an absence of light. I know plenty of people who are beige, brown, almond, mocha, coffee with cream, hazel, chocolate, sepia, tan, ochre, and many other colors but never known anyone black. Why people abandoned such an imagery for a word that is so limiting may have had important political dimensions, but lacks poetic heft.


This argument is why I'll always stick with Black.

And if you've never met any black people, you've neither been to the deep South nor to Africa.
   33. PerroX Posted: October 18, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4577305)
No crip is gonna convince the 'Skins to change their moniker.
   34. bobm Posted: October 18, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4577307)
Just confine the skin to that thing that connects the head 

The Washington Foreskins? Sounds sexist. ...
   35. BDC Posted: October 18, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4577308)
Very good points in #19, Andy. I don't remember as much of the era first-hand as you do :) but I have been trying to understand it in retrospect.

I reckon one reason "colored" became passé is that it was associated a lot with the formal (literal) signs of segregation. The people who put those signs up over restrooms and water fountains were trying to be polite, but that proved impossible, given what they were actually doing.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4577322)
I reckon one reason "colored" became passé is that it was associated a lot with the formal (literal) signs of segregation. The people who put those signs up over restrooms and water fountains were trying to be polite, but that proved impossible, given what they were actually doing.

Good point, along with the timeless association of "colored" with "boy" and "girl", often directed by white teenagers (or even pre-teenagers) at black octogenarians.

Interesting bit of trivia: I've been re-reading many of the early volumes of The Crisis, the NAACP magazine founded by W. E. B. DuBois in 1910.** The first feature of the first issue was entitled "Along The Color Line", which was to be a monthly survey of news along the racial front. It's four pages of snapshots in time, a reflection of where we were in 1910, with dozens of items that taken as a whole, are more illuminating than many a history book.

DuBois himself wrote most of the entries, and he seemed to alternate between "colored" and "Negro" as he went from one news item to the next. But what really caught my eye at first glance were these two notes, one right after the other on p. 3 of the magazine:

"The newly elected Governor of South Carolina, Blease, made his fight on a platform opposing Negro education and prohibition."

"The Negroes of South Carolina gained complete control of the State Republican Convention."

**Without exaggeration, The Crisis volumes are collectively by far the most valuable contemporary record of the underside of American life for the first half of the 20th century. I've got the 1969 Arno Press reprint edition, which goes up to 1960, but there's also an online archived version that's available here. I warn you that if you're interested in American history, this link might be highly addictive.
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 18, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4577330)
Maybe that's simply because Krauthammer doesn't want to be like people like you, who think that merely using the Redskins name is evidence of intentional racism. Can't say that I blame him.

Wow, that's one of the most thorough mischaracterizations in such a small amount of words the board has ever seen. Putting the false parts in bold was an especially creative touch.

Tu salut!!
   38. depletion Posted: October 18, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4577340)
SBB is correct that "Potomacs" would be an excellent name for the team. There still is a small contingent of Potowmeck indians in Virginia near Stafford. They are recognized as a tribe by Virginia, but not by the Federal government. It would be nice if Synder would get a licensing deal with them much like Florida State did with the Seminole tribe.
   39. Morty Causa Posted: October 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4577662)
OTOH, "Gay" at one point had a perfectly fine and sensible usage that simply went out of style. If you used it today, you'd sound like an out-of-touch oldtimer, but you wouldn't be slurring gay people.

"Because I just went GAY all of a sudden". This is 1938.
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4577714)
Maybe that's simply because Krauthammer doesn't want to be like people like you, who think that merely using the Redskins name is evidence of intentional racism. Can't say that I blame him.


Wow, that's one of the most thorough mischaracterizations in such a small amount of words the board has ever seen. Putting the false parts in bold was an especially creative touch.

It's hard to know sometimes exactly what you're saying on this topic, because it'd require a code book to square the contradictions. But try this exchange from this recent thread:

243. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4574262)
And as a matter of curiosity, I'd love for you to cite a single sports nickname in history where the intent of the name was to insult the people associated with it.

"Redskins." I don't buy the lack of intent argument. There's not necessarily overt intent to slur, but there's clearly extreme recklessness. The name is used intentionally (*), with the knowledge that many people believe it to be a slur -- so how's that not some species of intent?


Followed soon after by this:

249. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4574389)
SBB, you might simply admit what's obvious to everyone who looks at the record and thinks about it for fifteen seconds, namely that nobody has ever spoken or written "The Washington Redskins" with any intent to insult Native Americans. Not today, not in 1933 when the name was adopted, and not at any point in between. It's an assertion without a shred of evidence to back it up. Why you continue to try to embellish a perfectly legitimate argument for a name change by dragging this false side issue into it is a continuing mystery.

Why would I "admit" something that obviously isn't true?

If some rube got to the US a couple hours ago and called somebody a "n_____" because he heard the term on the radio, then yeah, I'd say he didn't intend to slur. But that's not the situation with "R_____s," right? It's been repeatedly pointed out to the users, with varying degrees of intensity over many years, by voices of many races, that the name is a slur. Dictionaries of record call it a slur (because it is). What is "unintentional" about continued use of the term in that context? Some imagined non-slurrish usage noted almost solely by the users of the word? What's "really in the hearts" of the users?

Sorry, no sale.


And this:

251. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 16, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4574458)

Right, so when a million Redskins fans talk about the previous day's game at work on Monday, every time they mention the team's name they're intentionally insulting Native Americans. If you say so.

Not intentionally and not maliciously (*), but not unintentionally either. Closer to intentionally than unintentionally. At this late date, virtually all the team's fans are on reasonable notice that the term is a slur.

(*) Which might be the term you're looking for. I'd certainly agree that the usage is not malicious.


And this:

253. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 16, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4574508)
We can put that in the "I'm not sayin', just sayin'" category, I suppose,

Wrong category. Your claim that the slurs are unintentional is not accurate. That's what I'm sayin'.


The bottom line is that Krauthammer is advocating a name change without falling into the rhetorical trap of namecalling and guilt tripping. You might want to follow his lead.
   41. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:09 AM (#4577806)
Thank God Shelby Foote is dead. He's history's greatest monster.
   42. bookbook Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:13 AM (#4577812)
I'm struggling with the concept of Krauthammer being right about anything. Decrying people who are being considerate as PC is a royal pain in the ass perpetrated by ######## who demand an unlimited license to be rude and nasty. It's been a constant of our society for the last thirty years.
   43. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 08:44 AM (#4577827)
I'm struggling with the concept of Krauthammer being right about anything.


'Lest anyone doubt your lament:

"Time is running short. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. He is working on nuclear weapons. And he has every incentive to pass them on to terrorists who will use them against us. We cannot hold the self-defense of the United States hostage to the solving of a century-old regional conflict."


And

How far the Democrats have come. Forty years ago to the month, President Kennedy asserts his willingness to present his case to the United Nations, but also his determination not to allow the United Nations to constrain America's freedom of action. Today his brother, a leader of the same party, awaits the guidance of the United Nations before he will declare himself on how America should respond to another nation threatening the United States with weapons of mass destruction.


And later,

The inability to find the weapons is indeed troubling, but only because it means that the weapons remain unaccounted for and might be in the wrong hands. The idea that our inability to thus far find the weapons proves that the threat was phony and hyped is simply false.


Followed by:

“Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.”


And almost exactly one year later:

“Did we invade the wrong country? One of the lessons now being drawn from the 9/11 report is that Iran was the real threat. The Iraq War critics have a new line of attack: We should have done Iran instead...There are only two things that will stop the Iranian nuclear program: revolution from below or an attack on its nuclear facilities.


These are all from the opinion pages of the Washington Post - you know, that left-wing rag Real Americans like Justice Scalia refuse to read because of it's deep and pervasive bias.

   44. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4577831)
The bottom line is that Krauthammer is advocating a name change without falling into the rhetorical trap of namecalling and guilt tripping.

Why is that a prerequisite to calling for a name change? There's no reason to sugarcoat the last 80 years, or pretend things were as they weren't. And there's obviously no reason to pretend the name has only recently become a slur, as Krauthammer preposterously contends -- and you preposterously adopt as the "best" case made for the name change made to date. Sorry -- that's ridiculous.

It's hard to know sometimes exactly what you're saying on this topic, because it'd require a code book to square the contradictions.

There aren't any "contradictions," though there are subtle differences in things that you're purposely and defensively muddying. I never said people who used the nickname were engaging in "intentional racism," as you said I said.(*) I said people who used the nickname intentionally used a slur, while on long-standing notice that a large, multi-racial faction of people had publicly and correctly said it was a slur. So they didn't unintentionally use a slur. They intentionally used a slur.

(*) Though some probably did.
   45. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4577837)
The bottom line is that Krauthammer is advocating a name change without falling into the rhetorical trap of namecalling and guilt tripping.

Why is that a prerequisite to calling for a name change? There's no reason to sugarcoat the last 80 years, or pretend things were as they weren't. And there's obviously no reason to pretend the name has only recently become a slur, as Krauthammer preposterously contends -- and you preposterously adopt as the "best" case made for the name change made to date. Sorry -- that's ridiculous.


All I can say to that is that if I were Snyder, I'd want you to be leading my opposition. You've got about the same keen sense of how to change public opinion as Ted Cruz.

It's hard to know sometimes exactly what you're saying on this topic, because it'd require a code book to square the contradictions.

There aren't any "contradictions," though there are subtle differences. I never said people who used the nickname were engaging in "intentional racism," as you said I said.(*) I said people intentionally used a slur, while on long-standing notice that a large, multi-racial faction of people had publicly and correctly said it was a slur. So they didn't unintentionally use a slur. They intentionally used a slur.

(*) Though some probably did.


Yeah, that clears things up tremendously. They intentionally used a slur that they knew was a racial insult, but they didn't mean to be racist about it, "though some probably did."
   46. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4577859)
Is it time for a new OT: Politics thread already?

Nope, it's only only October 19, and the other red diaper baby thread appears to still be going strong.
   47. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4577883)
Nope, it's only only October 19, and the other red diaper baby thread appears to still be going strong.
It's the High Five thread. All the wingers are away, not wanting to read chatter about the GOP shutdown wipeout.
   48. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4577890)
His reasoning is simply absurd, as in this gem: "I don’t like being ... blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card." Huh? Someone telling me that "R______s" is a slur is "blackmailing" me? WTF?


It's similar to the reaction of certain people that accurately quoting their words is "slandering" them.
   49. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4577892)
Yeah, because nothing says "red diaper baby" like Charles Krauthammer.
   50. BDC Posted: October 19, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4577922)
I thought the phrase was "red diaper doper baby." Or is that only on legal-weed issues.

I would change my handle to Cincinnati Red Diaper Doper Baby, but that would negatively impact my brand.
   51. robinred Posted: October 19, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4577932)
I could go with robinred diaper doper baby; that might actually help my brand and get me some new fans. Right now, I am a small-market poster with a very small (but loyal) fan base.
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4577947)
The problem is not that this specific change can't be justified, it's the totality of all of the word changes by the Language Police that gets tiresome.
   53. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4577950)
You've got about the same keen sense of how to change public opinion as Ted Cruz.

Does changing public opinion really strike you as my goal? (*) I'm sure the public in DC doesn't want to hear the unvarnished truth -- and you obviously don't -- but discerning and speaking same is the objective here.

The fact of the matter remains that the community intentionally deployed and celebrated a racial slur for a long time. Them's the breaks.

(*) Or the goal of the vast majority of poster/posts around here?
   54. Morty Causa Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4577953)
The problem is the dishonesty: playing with terms of language for position over someone, and claiming it is purely a matter of morals, of ethics, of the right thing. That's the horse #### factor.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4577964)
You've got about the same keen sense of how to change public opinion as Ted Cruz.

Does changing public opinion really strike you as my goal? (*) I'm sure the public in DC doesn't want to hear the unvarnished truth -- and you obviously don't -- but discerning and speaking same is the objective here.

The fact of the matter remains that the community intentionally deployed and celebrated a racial slur for a long time. Them's the breaks.


IOW all you're really interested in is labeling Redskins fans as insensitive slurrers of Native Americans, merely because they don't want to change the name of their football team. I think Morty's got you pegged just about right.

(*) Or the goal of the vast majority of poster/posts around here?

Well, if you or anyone else actually cares about seeing the name changed, you might for once in your life try persuasion, instead of harangue and unsupported overgeneralizations about your opponents. At this point you're about as effective a promoter of the name change as Rush Limbaugh was effective in badgering Bill Clinton out of office.
   56. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4578023)
“This Piestewa was not a hero of any kind. She simply wrecked a truck when making a wrong turn, and that led to half her platoon getting wiped out.”

Take no heroes, only inspiration.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4578024)
I don't even associate "redskins" with native americans, precisely because nobody uses the term in everyday life unless they're talking about football. Which is what makes this entire debate kind of silly. Whatever the term started out meaning or came to mean later, it now means "professional football team that plays in Washington."
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4578030)
I don't even associate "redskins" with native americans, precisely because nobody uses the term in everyday life unless they're talking about football. Which is what makes this entire debate kind of silly. Whatever the term started out meaning or came to mean later, it now means "professional football team that plays in Washington."

To the extent that's true, it's only because Native Ams have been politically marginalized and because fans of the Washington NFL franchise have oafishly plodded ahead and deployed the slur even though they know it's a slur. That can't ratify the previous use, or justify continued use.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4578031)
#58, Well, it's not a topic I have any interest in, really. (*) Change the name, don't change the name, whatever. I can see the arguments on both sides. I just find the bellyaching over it - as with all of this language nonsense - to be silly.

(*) In other words, I'm above it all.
   60. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 19, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4578035)
I don't even associate "redskins" with native americans, precisely because nobody uses the term in everyday life unless they're talking about football.
This isn't actually true. I used to work with a guy who was half-Cherokee, and he was kind of a rough character, carried a lot of baggage from when he was growing up in ... Kansas? Oklahoma? Somewhere out there. Anyways, he'd tell us about how he would often encounter people who called him all sorts of names that you or I would never hear: prairie n!gger, tonto, red, scalper, jigger (jig dancing n!gger).

Who says this stuff? Apparently, people do, just not to you or I.
   61. Depressoteric Posted: October 19, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4578040)
When he does surrender, he absolutely has to choose as the new name a two-syllable word that will slide right into Hail To The Redskins.
"Bullets."
   62. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4578064)
That it was a slur at the time is kind of besides the point. Words are just sounds without the context of how they're being used. We wouldn't *change* a team's name to the Redskins at this point, but after 80 years, Redskins is a term used almost exclusively (and I'd venture approaching very close to 100%) for the Washington Redskins football team. Words like hooligan, vandalism, and barbarian are also words that were slurs for ethnic groups of people that have lost that original pejorative meaning. Children aren't named Barbara because we feel they're dirty, inferior foreigners.

It's not at all like calling a team called the Washington N!ggers - we didn't just spend a century transforming the word, resulting with the only even moderately mainstream reference to that word being a team that played football. Shout the n-word in a grocery store and people will assume you're a racist. Shout redskin and people will assume that you're rooting for Robert Griffin III on Sundays.

I don't doubt that the Native Americans that remain get a lot of nasty insults thrown at them. But I would be curious from El Hombre's co-worker if he was ever actually called a redskin. The word redskins being transported, over the course of a century, into something without a pejorative context obviously wouldn't transform all slang for Native Americans into a harmless term.

   63. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4578074)
I don't even associate "redskins" with native americans, precisely because nobody uses the term in everyday life unless they're talking about football. Which is what makes this entire debate kind of silly. Whatever the term started out meaning or came to mean later, it now means "professional football team that plays in Washington."

If the name Coons or Jigaboos were the team name, would you say the same thing? I never hear people use those terms anymore either.
   64. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4578078)
If the name Coons or Jigaboos were the team name, would you say the same thing? I never hear people use those terms anymore either.


Come on down heah to Alabama, boah!

(I have heard "coons" a few times over the years, actually. The preferred term among the more cultivated classes, of course, is "picaninnies.")
   65. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:48 PM (#4578081)
How would Ray, as a robot, feel if a team were to change its name to the Rustbuckets?

Or Joey BS, as a ####### idiot, if a team were to adopt the name ####### Idiots?
   66. BDC Posted: October 19, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4578104)
I don't even associate "redskins" with native americans

Sure; I mean, in isolation, I associate it with peanuts. When I see a Washington Redskins helmet, though, it's a wee bit hard not to associate that with stereotypes of Native Americans.
   67. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 19, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4578119)
If the name Coons or Jigaboos were the team name, would you say the same thing? If the name Coons or Jigaboos were the team name, would you say the same thing?

They're not the same, though. They're generally forgotten slurs, not former slurs that have had their original meanings transformed by a century of use in a different manner in public culture. If jigaboo had the cultural recognition of that name not just ignored, but changed, to the extent that you could proclaim "stupid jigaboo!" in a crowd of people, then yes, it would be exactly the same thing. Shout "stupid Redskins!" in a crowd of people and approximately 0 will think you're referring to native Americans.
   68. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 19, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4578121)
How would Ray, as a robot, feel if a team were to change its name to the Rustbuckets?

Or Joey BS, as a ####### idiot, if a team were to adopt the name ####### Idiots?

I don't like Joey B, but you've been a gigantic prick lately, Bailey.

If we have a team for you, I assume we'd call them The People Who Should Go #### Themselves.

[Ignore List Updated]
   69. Bob Tufts Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4578169)
Can we Kill the Indian, and Save the Team?

   70. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 21, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4579362)
A Sunday NYT essay from a longtime fan of the Washington NFL franchise, and apparent BTF reader (*), explaining why he wants the nickname gone:

"[T]he value of my nostalgia has a limit. Knowingly asking my children to embrace a racial slur crosses that line. Our family tradition will thrive in a new light, I hope.

Good to see that at least some Washingtonians are willing to face the truth.

(*) Of at least some of the writings anyway ....

   71. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 21, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4579365)
[Ignore List Updated]


The idea of ignoring someone because they snarked on the Ray's a robot meme, or because they insulted the most disgusting person to frequent the site in years, seems a bit of clutching at pearls, Daniel.
   72. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4579394)
Aaaah, big deal. Being placed on ignore by someone whose frenzied overreactions a few years ago to people he disagreed with were so egregious as to lose him admin powers (or whatever ... I wasn't involved at all & so don't remember the details) is something of an honor, I suppose.
   73. The Good Face Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4579413)
The problem is the dishonesty: playing with terms of language for position over someone, and claiming it is purely a matter of morals, of ethics, of the right thing. That's the horse #### factor.


Yes, and bolded the important part. What's going on here is a symbolic attempt to assert dominance. Since our society has empowered "offense-taking," turning it into one of the highest and noblest virtues, people use it as a way to assert power and dominance over other people and institutions. The urge to dominate and humiliate is older than dirt; if I can make you do what I want, I've demonstrated my status as your superior. This is just a cheap and easy new outlet for very old urges.
   74. Dale Sams Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4579425)
Some of you may be interested to view this hilarious, ironic, satirical song on the appropriation of American Indian culture by 'The 1491's'.
   75. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4579428)
Yes, and bolded the important part. What's going on here is a symbolic attempt to assert dominance. Since our society has empowered "offense-taking," turning it into one of the highest and noblest virtues, people use it as a way to assert power and dominance over other people and institutions. The urge to dominate and humiliate is older than dirt; if I can make you do what I want, I've demonstrated my status as your superior. This is just a cheap and easy new outlet for very old urges.

Generally agree, but I've never bought the "offense" test and don't here. In the other dustups like this, I've suggested that the "offense" test lets people be antisocial and antipluralist by privileging their "offense" over all other considerations. IOW, living in a pluralist society means everyone has to accept certain things they don't like without overly pissing and moaning about it.

No one can possibly argue that the racial slur "R______s" falls into that category.
   76. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4579429)
The urge to dominate and humiliate is older than dirt;


You got peed on a lot as a kid, didn't you?
   77. Morty Causa Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4579432)
"[T]he value of my nostalgia has a limit. Knowingly asking my children to embrace a racial slur crosses that line. Our family tradition will thrive in a new light, I hope.

Good to see that at least some Washingtonians are willing to face the truth.


Man, some people need some serious remedial in learning how to prioritize their moral outrage. Or that state of the art sensbilitysizer of theirs should be recalibrated.
   78. Morty Causa Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4579435)
Taking offense is what people do when taking offense is all they got left. And the remedy for that is entirely, and almost solely, within themselves.
   79. The Good Face Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4579438)
The urge to dominate and humiliate is older than dirt;


You got peed on a lot as a kid, didn't you?


Color me unsurprised that your childhood apparently featured a parade of dongues, but spare me your projections.
   80. Morty Causa Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4579441)
Moreover, sweating the small stuff deflects from what are true outrages. Black (African-American), Indians, other ethnicities--in places and times--suffered real, extensive, deep and top-level deprivations, such as slavery, indenture, Jim Crow, expulsion, etc. Namecalling doesn't begin to focus in the right place. It's misusing energy and resources. It is a cheap way to feel superior without doing or accomplishing much, though.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4579451)
Man, when a quartet of MMA heavyweights like SugarBear, Good Face, Sam and Morty get into a catfight over racial slurring and political correctness, you know that it can only result in the biggest batch of pancake butter since the days of Little Black Sambo. Keep up the good fight!
   82. Morty Causa Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4579469)
Jolly Old, for shame. That's pure ad hominem. Do you have anything to say that is on point to what was asserted and argued. Although I will say that you've come a long way from your squealing mode of some years ago when I first criticized affirmative action preferences.
   83. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4579470)
Man, when a quartet of MMA heavyweights like SugarBear, Good Face, Sam and Morty get into a catfight over racial slurring and political correctness, you know that it can only result in the biggest batch of pancake butter since the days of Little Black Sambo. Keep up the good fight!

It's certainly true that I've decided not to dance around the matter like James Brown feelin' good with an electric cattle prod up his ass .... I'll certainly cop to that.
   84. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4579492)
Keep the Redskins name, change the logo to a potato. Ban indian imagery/clothing for anyone attending a game.
   85. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4579498)
I, for one, refuse to eat racist potatoes. Russetts or Yukon Golds only, please.
   86. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4579502)
Take no heroes, only inspiration.


As sung, of course, by the ... Redskins (great Marxist skinhead soul band, rather than NFL version, of course).
   87. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4579524)
Touting the fact that you have someone on ignore is kind of pathetic.
   88. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4579567)
I'd agree with you, Yeaarrgghhhh, but I have you on ignore.

   89. Morty Causa Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4579581)
Maybe we can force him to take you off.
   90. Ron J2 Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4579595)
#87 I don't know. A reference to the specific post makes a great deal of sense to me. I'm done with you and this is why.
   91. BDC Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4579599)
Yukon Golds only

Heartlessly objectifying Canadians, I see, but that's OK, don't worry about our neighbors to the north, they'll forgive you.
   92. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4579606)
#87 I don't know. A reference to the specific post makes a great deal of sense to me. I'm done with you and this is why.


I found #87 pretty innocuous myself ... well, I would have if I didn't have the poster on ignore ... but I know we all have lines that others aren't welcome to cross, & if that's yours, obviously that's that.

I will now put you on ignore, of course.
   93. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4579644)
I, for one, refuse to eat racist potatoes. Russetts or Yukon Golds only, please.

My wife eats an egg substitute (or maybe they're real egg whites) called, and I'm not making this up, "Whites Only". God I laugh every morning when I see that on the counter.
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4579653)
I found #87 pretty innocuous myself ... well, I would have if I didn't have the poster on ignore ... but I know we all have lines that others aren't welcome to cross, & if that's yours, obviously that's that.


I skimmed Ron's post the first time though, and that was the impression I got. I wondered what the hell Yearggh had said that could have pissed him off that much.

   95. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4579670)
I skimmed Ron's post the first time though, and that was the impression I got. I wondered what the hell Yearggh had said that could have pissed him off that much.


I think you are misreading Ron's post, he's not saying that he, Ron, is done with Yeaaargghhh, he's paraphrasing Dan saying he, Dan, is done with gef- for the reason Dan set forth in #68
   96. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4579674)
Oh, I know, & I'm pretty sure SoSH U does, too. I was being a smart-ass -- sort of de rigeur herebouts for many of us, no?
   97. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4579676)
he's paraphrasing Dan saying he, Dan, is done with gef- for the reason Dan set forth in #68


I will note that if I were having problems with disassociation, this wouldn't help at all, since IRL I'm Dan as well (along with, from appearances, about 10 percent of everyone else).
   98. SoSH U at work Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4579678)
I think you are misreading Ron's post, he's not saying that he, Ron, is done with Yeaaargghhh, he's paraphrasing Dan saying he, Dan, is done with gef- for the reason Dan set forth in #68


I know. I was pointing out that gef's joke was the way I misread Ron's post when I skimmed through it first.
   99. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4579710)
now I'm really confused. I should probably put all of you on ignore; life would be much simpler.
   100. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4579717)
If I didn't have Yeaarrgghhhh on ignore, I'd respond to his #99 by wondering if there's a limit on the number of people one can put on ignore.

But I do, so I won't.
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