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Friday, October 11, 2013

No need to change ‘Braves’ name, Atlanta mayor says

Some of my “number of friends” happen to be…

This week, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, defended his team’s name, and insisted he would not change it, despite strong objections from those who feel it’s racially insensitive.

Some critics believe the Atlanta Braves may want to consider a name change too.

But don’t count Mayor Kasim Reed among them. After all, the “Atlanta Braves” is more than a name. It’s also a brand. With a lot of equity.

...But either way, Mayor Reed says he’s not in support of a name change for the Braves.

“I do not,” said the mayor. “I think that the name the Atlanta Braves is a name that we should keep; and I have a number of friends who are Indians, and they haven’t shared any offense with me about it. So I go by my experiences.”

It is rare for the mayor to break ranks with the president. But on the issue of using a race of people as a mascot, they do not agree.

The president thinks team owners should indeed consider changing names that are potentially offensive.

Repoz Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM | 264 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4569198)
I have a number of friends who are Indians, and they haven’t shared any offense with me about it. So I go by my experiences.”


When Mayor Reed's friends, Hangal Chopra and Johar Singh, were asked they said "We don't understand what the big ####### deal is".
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4569206)
I don't think Braves is offensive, but the Tomahawk Chop arguably is. Is "Braves" really a brand with a ton of equity? It seems kind bland and generic with little connection with the community of Atlanta. Seems like they could change it and people would adjust pretty quickly.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4569217)
Just go back to the name they used for 65 years ("Crackers"), and everyone will be satisfied.
   4. dlf Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4569234)
I don't think Braves is offensive, but the Tomahawk Chop arguably is.


I'm a Braves fan, so take this with a grain of salt, but I see no problem with the name as it is a positive stereotype.

The tomahawk chop, however, is offensive. I will say that when it was organically lead - the fans started it in honor of FSU alum Deion Sanders in '91 - it was fun, exciting, and new (and admittedly I didn't think about the cultural rather than college reference) but now that it is piped in by the faux-organ, the latter has grown.
   5. Cabbage Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4569235)
When Mayor Reed's friends, Hangal Chopra and Johar Singh, were asked they said "We don't understand what the big ####### deal is".

Which Rick Reily reported as, "We don't understand why people dislike Dan Snyder. He's a wonderful human being."
   6. Steve N Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4569239)
I don't understand where the idea that the team name, or any team name I have heard can be offensive. It is an honorific. I now several people of Scandinavian origin and much of the State of Minnesota. Not one word against the name Vikings. (Not sure what cats think of Lions and Tigers.) I also haven't heard of anyone in Texas objecting to Cowboys.
   7. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4569241)
Things that are offensive and should be dropped or replaced:

1. The Washington DC NFL franchise name.
2. The Cleveland Indians "Chief Wahoo" logo.
3. The "tomahawk chop"

Things that are borderline and might need to be changed:

1. The Cleveland Indians franchise name.

Things that are not offensive and don't require changing:

1. The Atlanta Braves' franchise name.

The "Braves" are the equivalent of the Golden State Warriors when it comes to naming convention. They're actually less offensive, structurally speaking, than the Minnesota Vikings or the Boston Celtics.
   8. Chris Fluit Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4569243)
Cleveland should go back to the Spiders.
   9. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4569254)
Post #6 is satire, right?
   10. zack Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4569261)
Sam, Braves is offensive as long as they connect it to Indians, which the logo does. Less offensive, but still so.

Steve, you can't honor someone if they reject your attempt, and besides, never in the history of any of these team names were they actually trying to honor someone. They were trying to sell tickets.

zack, this conversation is literally the most pointless one available on this site, so shut up already.
   11. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4569269)
Sam, Braves is offensive as long as they connect it to Indians, which the logo does. Less offensive, but still so.


Why? I seriously don't understand why that would be the case. The name "Redskins" is clearly terrible. It would be like having a football team called the Dallas Darkies or something. "Indians" references a people, much like Vikings and Celtics (or, smaller bore, Seminoles or Illini) reference a people. That seems questionable, as it indicates the mascot of your sports team is an entire ethnicity. I can understand where that could be problematic.

But "Braves" doesn't do that. "Braves" references the warrior cast of a culture, in much the same way "Warriors" does, or Nippon Ham Fighters does. It seems a perfectly reasonable mascot name. The idea that you can't reference "Braves" because it connects to Native Americans just seems overly sensitive in the extreme.
   12. Monty Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4569270)
this conversation is literally the most pointless one available on this site


Only until Saturday, when the new Pokemon game comes out!

...nobody?
   13. Eric Ferguson Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4569272)
this conversation is literally the most pointless one available on this site


Clearly, you underestimate us.


   14. zack Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4569273)


Why? I seriously don't understand why that would be the case.


Braves + Tomahawk = Indians.

In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".
   15. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4569277)
Braves + Tomahawk = Indians.


Sure. But 1) I've already said drop the chant (I don't think the logo on the jersey is problematic) and 2) I don't know why it's problematic to reference the warrior caste of native tribes per se.

In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".


And I've never heard "Vikings" used to reference any warrior other than Scandanavians, but we don't have this conversation every time Minnesota plays football. I get the problem with "Redskin" quite clearly. I understand the issue with reference entire peoples as mascots, too. I don't understand the level of sensitivity required to complain that Atlanta's baseball franchise uses the warrior cast of native tribes as their mascot.
   16. OsunaSakata Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4569279)
You could turn Brave into a noun that was former a adjective like Athletics. The logo could be military, fire fighters or anybody else you want to connect with bravery.

In the same way I have no problem with William and Mary's Tribe. As long as you don't specify an ethnic group, it could be anybody's tribe.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4569280)
I find myself agreeing with sam. I don't see a problem with Braves.
   18. zack Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4569282)
That's fine, I don't think it's the end of the world or anything. Just to be clear, the Redskins problem is seperate from the Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, Fighting Sioux, Seminoles, Illini, etc. The former is a racist epithet; all of them are appropriating elements of a defeated culture for profit, some more aggressively than others.

The reason the Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics and others are not problematic is because the culture those teams are a part of did not (arguably) genocide the peoples their team is named after.

I probably shouldn't add this part because I don't have much knowledge of the subject, but wouldn't a team in the north called the Baggies whose logo featured a floral-print bag be offensive? I think that might be mixing the two sides of the issue poorly as a metaphor. Edit: wait, that example is definitely backwards. It would be the other way around.
   19. Ben V-L Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4569287)
There is such an easy solution. The shirts already exist.
   20. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4569288)
Activities in which adult whitey "plays Indian" for all to see are, to me, the worst part of this whole kerfuffle.(*) (Other than "Redskins," which is per se out of bounds as a stand-alone slur). If you're truly worried about the demeaning of NA's (and you should be), those strike me as significantly worse than a name that somehow relates to something Native. There are literally thousands of state, river and other geographic names that do so.

(*) Needless to say, the tomahawk chop ritual falls squarely into this category.
   21. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4569289)
Braves + Tomahawk = Indians.

In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".

The reason the Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics and others are not problematic is because the culture those teams are a part of did not (arguably) genocide the peoples their team is named after.

Exactly - this is the principal point where I differ with Sam here. I put Braves in the problematic category, as opposed to clearly offensive (Redskins/Wahoo) or neutered (Warriors).

Also, SBB's point in 20 (though I'd generalize it a bit).
   22. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4569293)
The reason the Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics and others are not problematic is because the culture those teams are a part of did not (arguably) genocide the peoples their team is named after.

But that assumes that the function of this exercise should be providing whitey a means to assuage his guilt, as opposed to stopping whitey's rituals of publicly demeaning Native Americans. I'm not sure that's the correct assumption.
   23. zack Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4569298)
Guilt is a red herring, like communism.
   24. fra paolo Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4569306)
For those interested in the origins of the term 'Redskin', Nancy Shoemaker's article might be interesting reading.
   25. Steve N Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4569310)
#6 is not satire.

Zack, I've never seen any but a small group reject Indian names. I recently saw a poll that said only 9% of Indians find the name objectionable.
   26. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4569311)
But either way, Mayor Reed says he’s not in support of a name change for the Braves.

“I do not,” said the mayor. “I think that the name the Atlanta Braves is a name that we should keep; and I have a number of friends who are Indians, and they haven’t shared any offense with me about it. So I go by my experiences.”


But either way, a white guy says he’s not in support of a name change for the n-word.

“I do not,” said the white guy. “I think that the n-word is a word that we should keep; and I have a number of friends who are black, and they haven’t shared any offense with me about it. So I go by my experiences.”
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4569314)
BARVES!
   28. bobm Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4569315)
There is such an easy solution. The shirts already exist.

Go Barves!

EDIT: Seltzer to RoyalsRetro
   29. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4569319)
I find myself agreeing with sam.


Seek shade immediately. Lie down & wait for this spell to pass. Hot compresses may be needed.

Kidding. I agree with him here myself, especially since he notes the need to do away with the stupid tomahawk chop.
   30. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4569321)

In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".

The reason the Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics and others are not problematic is because the culture those teams are a part of did not (arguably) genocide the peoples their team is named after


But 'brave' as in 'bravery' is a good thing, it's a complementary way of referring to a Native American warrior. Why is that bad? Are white people not allowed to reference Native Americans in any way?
   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4569330)
In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".


A Scottish princess?
   32. flournoy Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4569335)
The good news is that no matter what the BBTF Ivory Tower contingent decides, the name isn't going anywhere, and the chop isn't going anywhere. So knock yourselves out, fellas.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4569338)
I've never seen any but a small group reject Indian names. I recently saw a poll that said only 9% of Indians find the name objectionable.

If you're talking about the Redskins name, that wasn't that recent a poll, even though it may be the only one done by a reputable polling outfit. But if they could run a credible survey among Native Americans today, I'd be much more inclined to pay attention to the results of that survey than I'd care about what a group of sportswriters are saying.

And despite all the parallels that get drawn between the R-word and the N-word, that's a bit of a stretch. The N-word is still in current vogue among racists who likely use it millions of times a day even now. But when was the last time anyone ever heard a non-Indian attempt to insult an Indian by calling him a Redskin?

Look at it this way: Other than its affectionate use among black people themselves, and even in many cases there, the N-word is always used in a derogatory manner. Whereas 99.99% of the time the R-word is spoken today, it's spoken in reference to a football team, with absolutely no intent to defame any group. That may not be enough to save the R-word from eventual football extinction, but it's still a pretty significant distinction that seems to be ignored by those who want to get rid of the name.
   34. John Northey Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4569341)
As others have said, start by tossing Chief Wahoo into the dustbin of history - there is no defending that extremely racist symbol. It is disgusting and disgraceful that MLB hasn't done anything to try to get rid of it. Even if they just stopped using it on hats and the like it'd be a start but go to anything listing them and you see that racist symbol all over the place. Imagine a 'black Sambo' image instead and picture the reaction. I'd love to see some people go to a game wearing hats and shirts with that image on it to a Cleveland game and see how long it takes to get kicked out of the park.

MLB really needs to grow up and push Cleveland to get rid of that symbol. And push hard.
   35. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4569342)
From the headline, I was really hoping based on the headline, that this was an onion piece. Something along the lines of, the actions and bahavior of players and fans clearly isn't brave, and in order to reflect correctness, should be renamed the "Atlanta Whiny Cravens" or something like that.
   36. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4569343)
The reason the Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics and others are not problematic is because the culture those teams are a part of did not (arguably) genocide the peoples their team is named after.


So Celtics is okay because Ollie Cromwell was less effective in Ireland than Andrew Jackson was in the American west? I don't think I'm going to convince you otherwise, but I think this is false reasoning.
   37. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4569346)
Look at it this way: Other than its affectionate use among black people themselves, and even in many cases there, the N-word is always used in a derogatory manner. Whereas 99.99% of the time the R-word is spoken today, it's spoken in reference to a football team, with absolutely no intent to defame any group. That may not be enough to save the R-word from eventual football extinction, but it's still a pretty significant distinction that seems to be ignored by those who want to get rid of the name.


But that's just the thing -- as purportedly with the R-word, the N-word is used as a non-slur by non-racists millions of times a day (if you count radio/iPod usage/hearings). That hasn't converted the name into something you'd ever call, or be allowed to call, a sports team.

Same logic applies to "Redskins."
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4569347)
Look at it this way: Other than its affectionate use among black people themselves, and even in many cases there, the N-word is always used in a derogatory manner. Whereas 99.99% of the time the R-word is spoken today, it's spoken in reference to a football team, with absolutely no intent to defame any group. That may not be enough to save the R-word from eventual football extinction, but it's still a pretty significant distinction that seems to be ignored by those who want to get rid of the name.

But that's just the thing -- as purportedly with the R-word, the N-word is used as a non-slur by non-racists millions of times a day (if you count radio/iPod usage/hearings). That hasn't converted the name into something you'd ever call, or be allowed to call, a sports team.

Same logic applies to "Redskins."


I'd be seriously interested to know just how many times non-black "non-racists" use the N-word as a non-slur, outside of the specific context of discussions like this where the word isn't being directed at another person. Color me skeptical about that particular premise.
   39. Joe OBrien Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4569356)
I agree with Sam. I'd put Braves in the same category as Ninjas, Samurai or Knights. They're all warriors, they're supposed to be intimidating, which is the point of most team names.
   40. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4569357)
I'd be seriously interested to know just how many times non-black "non-racists" use the N-word as a non-slur, outside of the specific context of discussions like this where the word isn't being directed at another person. Color me skeptical about that particular premise.

Listen to hip-hop and you'll see.

You added the "non-black" to the discussion, where it isn't warranted. The point is that the non-slurrish use of the word, even where relentless and understood to be non-slurrish, doesn't make the word allowable for use by a sports team. If it does for "Redskins," it would for "N_____s."

If you insist on limiting the discussion to whitey, why would whitey's use of the slur for decades, simply because he was never called to account, allow him to keep using it? That makes no sense.
   41. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4569359)
I'd be seriously interested to know just how many times non-black "non-racists" use the N-word as a non-slur, outside of the specific context of discussions like this where the word isn't being directed at another person. Color me skeptical about that particular premise.

I do it all the time. I can't not sing along to songs. Sorry.
   42. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4569360)
Let's get specific: In what possible context would a non-racist, non-black person use the N-word in reference to a black person or to black people as a group, either to their face or behind their back? I'm dying to hear of some examples.

And when was the last time anyone here ever heard of a non-Indian attempting to insult an Indian by calling him a Redskin, even on one of those internet "comments" sections where actual racism often runs rampant?
   43. BDC Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4569361)
"Celtics" comes from a neighborhood basketball team formed in the 1910s in Manhattan, first managed by a guy named Frank McCormack: of, by, and for, New York Irishmen. Don't know if that self-naming makes a difference 100 years later …
   44. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4569362)
Let's get specific: In what possible context would a non-racist, non-black person use the N-word in reference to a black person or to black people as a group, either to their face or behind their back? I'm dying to hear of some examples.

Are you even responding to the points other people are making, or are you just on auto-pilot again?

It's spelled out in 40.

EDIT: In case 40 wasn't clear enough, one "possible context" would be where a racist named a team the "Washington N______s" and whitey kept using the term for eight decades, as the historical record shows happened with "Washington R_____s." I'll leave it to others to explain why R_______s didn't get the pushback N______s would have. What is crystal clear is that R_______s is a slur.
   45. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4569366)

I'd be seriously interested to know just how many times non-black "non-racists" use the N-word as a non-slur, outside of the specific context of discussions like this where the word isn't being directed at another person. Color me skeptical about that particular premise.


Why aren't you taking black usage taken into account? That is where 99% of the usage comes from isn't it?

Also - just because people use the word 'redskins' in reference to the football team without knowing it is racist does not mean the word is not racist. Enough people have pointed out it is a racist term, the excuses 'I didn't know it was racist' or 'I didn't use it in a racist way' do not work any more.
   46. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4569368)
Even if they just stopped using it on hats and the like it'd be a start but go to anything listing them and you see that racist symbol all over the place. Imagine a 'black Sambo' image instead and picture the reaction.


I'd buy one. I'm Jewish, I'd wear this hat in a heartbeat (although from an artistic standpoint I prefer this variant). The native Americans have legitimately serious issues facing their community, this ain't one of 'em.

I wouldn't expunge this from the record either, any more than I'd remove Fagin from Oliver Twist. C'mon.
   47. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4569373)
I think the "Miami Jews" should be the "Brooklyn Yids" personally.
   48. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4569374)
Let's get specific: In what possible context would a non-racist, non-black person use the N-word in reference to a black person or to black people as a group, either to their face or behind their back? I'm dying to hear of some examples.


If the non-black person was friends with black people and they used it in the same context other black people used it? Or when 'whiggers' use it when talking to each other. (whigger = white-n....)
   49. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4569375)
Let's get specific: In what possible context would a non-racist, non-black person use the N-word in reference to a black person or to black people as a group, either to their face or behind their back? I'm dying to hear of some examples.

Are you even responding to the points other people are making, or are you just on auto-pilot again?

It's spelled out in 40.


Ah, yes, hip-hop and rap, the all-purpose example that always gets thrown out in discussions like this. Though of course in the overwhelming majority of those cases, the performers are black, not white.

Just tell me this: How many times do those white performers use the N-word in talking to black people?

And how many times is the R-word even used at all outside of mentions of the football team? Outside of the NFL, the word is as pure an anachronism as can possibly be imagined.

Look, I don't particularly care one way or the other about whether the Redskins ditch or keep their name. On the one hand, I think it's a largely manufactured controversy that imputes racism where it doesn't exist. OTOH if it annoys Dan Snyder, there's that. And if Snyder loses his trademark protection, I've got scores of Redskins poster images that I'd be able to sell without fear of a shutdown. So go ahead with your arguments, because it's just not that big a deal to me either way.
   50. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4569377)
I think the "Miami Jews" should be the "Brooklyn Yids" personally.


I want to know who decided Memphis gets "Mexicans". Really?
   51. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4569381)
I think the "Miami Jews" should be the "Brooklyn Yids" personally.

Nickname is already taken by Tottenham.
   52. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4569382)
I want to know who decided Memphis gets "Mexicans". Really?


Right. That should be the El Paso Pacos, obviously.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4569383)
EDIT: In case 40 wasn't clear enough, one "possible context" would be where a racist named a team the "Washington N______s" and whitey kept using the term for eight decades, as the historical record shows happened with "Washington R_____s." I'll leave it to others to explain why R_______s didn't get the pushback N______s would have. What is crystal clear is that R_______s is a slur.

Of course the reason that no team would ever have been named the Washington N_____s is because even in 1933 there would have been a storm of protest surrounding it, at a time when blacks were virtually invisible in the Northern consciousness and were whipping boys in the South. By contrast, the pushback against R______s is almost exclusively of a recent vintage.

---------------------------------------------------

Let's get specific: In what possible context would a non-racist, non-black person use the N-word in reference to a black person or to black people as a group, either to their face or behind their back? I'm dying to hear of some examples.

If the non-black person was friends with black people and they used it in the same context other black people used it? Or when 'whiggers' use it when talking to each other. (whigger = white-n....)


I'll grant those relatively rare exceptions, but those are, as you say, among friends. I doubt if usage like that accounts for more than .01% of the times the N-word is spoken on any given day.
   54. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4569397)
But at best your argument boils down to, "It's a racial slur that isn't used very much anymore." I mean, do people say "sheeny" or "slope" or "jigaboo" anymore? Perhaps that makes them a better analog than the n-word for the Redskins, but that's essentially all your argument amounts to.
   55. Astro Logical Sign Stealer Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4569400)
"And when was the last time anyone here ever heard of a non-Indian attempting to insult an Indian by calling him a Redskin"

How many posters here know, or for that matter, have met an Indian? In never had until I moved out west. That most Americans haven't heard the term used in anger doesn't mean it's not. I know white trash that says "redskin" with intent.
   56. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4569402)
I recently saw a poll that said only 9% of Indians find the name objectionable.

Was it a totem poll?
   57. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4569410)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
   58. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4569412)
How many posters here know, or for that matter, have met an Indian?

I do indeed know several people from India.
   59. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4569413)
As a lifelong Redskins fan where I have settled on this is that it isn't my business to tell people whether or not they are offended. The Vikings and Celtics comparisons aren't really relevant- those groups don't give a ####. Lots of American Indians do.

Some, of course, don't- including most of the ones I personally have met, and my wife who is part native and will happily go around in a Redskins jacket.

I'm not sure who I would listen to, were I snyder. I don't know how relevant a group based in Wisconsin's feelings on the issue are.

But I would certainly try to commission an impartial poll on the name with a particular focus on native groups who have strong presence close to where the Redskins play. But I doubt he will do that, because it is unlikely he would get as good results as the oft-mentioned Annenberg poll got.

I have thought about what names I'd prefer- basically all I care about in a new name is keeping the rythmn of the song and the colors. So Redtails is fine. Pigskins is fine.
   60. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4569419)
Also, the "New York Jews" comparison isn't really relevant- the jews didn't get kicked out of new york! It would be more like a soccer team called the Bavaria Jews, with a bunch of blue eyed blond haired teutons waiving giant inflatable dreidels and having a dude dressed as a Rabbi run up and down the sidelines.

Which sounds kind of awesome, really, but also offensive.
   61. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4569420)
I have thought about what names I'd prefer- basically all I care about in a new name is keeping the rythmn of the song and the colors. So Redtails is fine. Pigskins is fine.

I vote the Washington Gryphons.
   62. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4569430)
Just tell me this: How many times do those white performers use the N-word in talking to black people?

Who cares? It's irrelevant to the discussion. The non-slur use of the N-word hasn't washed away its slur usage. It's still a slur irrespective of the fact that the word is used millions of times per month as a non-slur. Same with Redskins.

(Well, actually its worse with Redskins, because with "N_____s" there's common agreement that the millions of times per month it's used as a non-slur, there's common, multi-racial agreement that it is in fact a non-slur. Whereas, with Redskins, there's no such agreement.)

Of course the reason that no team would ever have been named the Washington N_____s is because even in 1933 there would have been a storm of protest surrounding it, at a time when blacks were virtually invisible in the Northern consciousness and were whipping boys in the South. By contrast, the pushback against R______s is almost exclusively of a recent vintage.

Of course that's the empirical historical fact, but so what? Whitey doesn't get to ratify today's slur against Natives by pointing to his decades-long use of said slur, simply because he happened to be slightly better at disciplining himself with respect to another slur.



   63. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4569435)
Also, the "New York Jews" comparison isn't really relevant- the jews didn't get kicked out of new york! It would be more like a soccer team called the Bavaria Jews, with a bunch of blue eyed blond haired teutons waiving giant inflatable dreidels and having a dude dressed as a Rabbi run up and down the sidelines.

Which sounds kind of awesome, really, but also offensive.


The only offensive thing I see there is soccer.
   64. Banacek Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4569438)
I am a Roman Catholic priest and I am offended by San Diego's nickname.
   65. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4569441)
The only offensive thing I see there is soccer.

Well, on a per minute basis, it does have more offense than baseball. So you are not wrong.
   66. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4569448)
Also, the "New York Jews" comparison isn't really relevant- the jews didn't get kicked out of new york! It would be more like a soccer team called the Bavaria Jews, with a bunch of blue eyed blond haired teutons waiving giant inflatable dreidels and having a dude dressed as a Rabbi run up and down the sidelines.


Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made you out of clay!

The Prague City Golems would be *awesome.*
   67. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: October 11, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4569471)
The only offensive thing I see there is soccer.


It's true, I though about writing it as s___r to spare us all.
   68. calhounite Posted: October 11, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4569562)
Want to know the real story about how the Tennesee Titans came by their name? As a denizen of the area, I agreed to the coverup, but it's time the truth came out.

When Adams moved to Tennessee from Houston, he wasn't too anxious to take on the official modification... unlike the Arizona Fried Cardinal Carcasses or the Los Angeles Earthquaked Emptied Lakers. Somehow the Tennessee Dumbass Oilers - as anyone drilling for oil in Tennesee would have to be a dumbass - as an official name, even if no one ever actually knew about it, was kind of embarassing.

Adams had this name in mind, but just to make sure, surveyed the community if they had anything against these ethnic names for teams. After getting a bunch of stuff scribbled back on the surveys like "heck naw, sur washt ar washt ar injurn. Ard bar sar pruuuuud", went ahead with the idea. The name of team was announced - the Tennessee Gawd Awd Bawds.

After a mob burnt the town down and nearly strung Adams up, he promised that wouldn't be the name. But he still wanted one that fit the unique character of the area. After driving around town, and notng all the junk cars in front yards, some on top of rooftops, announced the new name - the Tennessee Dipsticks.

Guessed it. This time Adams ordered a lackey to open a dicitionary to the T's and stick his finger on a word. He asked the lackey if that word had ANYTHING to do with people. When the lackey responded "well, not exact-", that was enough for Adams.

The league office added the "an".
   69. salajander Posted: October 11, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4569617)
I mean, do people say "sheeny" or "slope" or "jigaboo" anymore? Perhaps that makes them a better analog than the n-word for the Redskins, but that's essentially all your argument amounts to.

Yeah, this. Comparing r______s to n_____s isn't the same scale.

From this article:

Joe Gibbs is quoted in the Post today as having said recently: “I never ever thought of it as anything negative, but it’s all been a positive and I think that’s what I reflect on when I reflect on the song, the games and everybody being loyal Redskin people.”

All you really need from that quote are its first four words. He never ever thought. That's the thing. It never occurred to him that Redskins was offensive, and in this, he's like millions of people, who never ever thought about it either. And there's only one reason they never thought about it, which is that Native Americans have never had the political muscle to make them think about it.

I used the word Sambo above. Some will remember that there used to be a restaurant chain in this country called Sambo's. Like Denny's and Big Boy. The chain started in 1957 and by the late 70s had more than 1,000 oiutlets around the country.

But the late 70s is also the time when black people started to have political muscle in our system, and when corporate American started identifying black people as a market to be cultivated and catered to. So a campaign was started to rid the country of Sambos outlets, and in short order, they were almost all gone.

But American Indians have no muscle and aren't a market. And those are the only reasons why a name like the one used by the Washington football club can stick. Dan Snyder is a smart-enough man to understand how political power works in this country, so the fact that he maintains his obliviousness to this is staggering.
   70. Jay Z Posted: October 11, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4569732)
I am a Roman Catholic priest and I am offended by San Diego's nickname.


Go row in the River Charles some more, ya polack!
   71. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: October 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4569824)
Well, Atlanta can simply go back to their old minor league name...what do you mean, this would be worse?
   72. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:36 PM (#4569935)
In addition, I've never heard brave, the noun, used to refer to any warrior other than a native american one. My dictionary specifically says ": a Native American warrior".


I've seen it used in reference to several varieties of Chinese troops, the "Hunan braves" of the Taiping Rebellion, for example. Perhaps it is the translation of a Chinese word.
   73. John Shade has yet to hear the Squeak Posted: October 11, 2013 at 11:47 PM (#4569967)
It's true, I though about writing it as s___r to spare us all.
If it's any consolation, the rest of the world finds the s___r word to be pretty offensive as well.
   74. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4570118)
Never mind sports teams, when can we outlaw broadcasts and stage performances of The Merchant of Venice?
   75. tshipman Posted: October 12, 2013 at 01:19 AM (#4570203)
Never mind sports teams, when can we outlaw broadcasts and stage performances of The Merchant of Venice?


Shylock is possibly the most sympathetic character to a modern reader. That play really works as one of the blackest of the Shakespearean comedies. It's one of the best plays for a modern audience as it's so malleable. It's there in the text, too, it's quite a subversive play for its time.
   76. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 12, 2013 at 07:04 AM (#4570248)
Shylock is possibly the most sympathetic character to a modern reader.


Ever watch an actual minstrel show? There are always sympathetic archetypical characters. Al Jolson's entire blackface catalog is built around a sympathetic protagonist. And who could fault those Peter Pan Indians for being so cross when they're only working under the assumption that the Lost Boys had kidnapped Bug Chief's daughter? Check your goyishe privilege.
   77. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 12, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4570286)
Shylock is possibly the most sympathetic character to a modern reader.


In other news, we genetically tested our new puppy and turns out she's Jewish.
   78. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4570301)
The Prague City Golems would be *awesome.*


Wow, that's a great name for a team, but the cultural appropriation given the fate of Prague's Jewish population is really icky.

I feel the Braves (and to a lesser extent the Chiefs, who were named for someone nicknamed Chief but have an arrowhead on their logo and play at Arrowhead stadium) are potentially problematic names but unless Native Americans are actually upset with the name then it's not a problem. Same goes for the Indians name, and the difference between the Indians and the Vikings/Celtics is that the Vikings/Celtics play in a city with a lot of people of Norse/Irish heritage who support the name whereas the Indians is very much appropriated from another group of people. Still, it's very much a lower scale thing.

The three things I have a problem with are the Tomahawk Chop, the Chief Wahoo logo, and the Redskins name. The Chop is the least offensive of the bunch but still offensive in my eyes. Chief Wahoo and the Redskins name are really offensive.
   79. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4570316)
I feel the Braves (and to a lesser extent the Chiefs, who were named for someone nicknamed Chief but have an arrowhead on their logo and play at Arrowhead stadium) are potentially problematic names but unless Native Americans are actually upset with the name then it's not a problem.


The shortened name "Braves" is better than the original "Atlanta Roped and Bound Injun Braves Drug Like Cattle to Oklahoma." So, you know, compromise and stuff.
   80. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4570322)
In other news, we genetically tested our new puppy and turns out she's Jewish.

Is that even kosher?
   81. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4570364)
It seems to me the most reasonable way to approach this is to determine how what percentage Native Americans are offended by these names. The scientific polling we do have, which is not particularly recent but not ancient either, indicates the large majority are NOT offended. Frankly, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about this other than Native Americans. If your liberal white guilt plagues you, that's your problem. We do, however, need to be sensitive to the feelings of those in the group referenced. Based on what we know objectively at this time, it appears a pretty slim minority of said group feels aggrieved.

My point, and I think a lot of people miss this, is that if we're going to truly respect a group of people we need to accept their autonomy over what does/does not outrage them. "Saving the poor minorities" is a misguided attempt at social heroism and unintentionally condescending. Native Americans are not some endangered species of animal in need of care. They're perfectly rational humans capable of deciding what does or doesn't bother them. And, yes, some Native Americans are offended by these names. I respect that. But this "if even one person is bothered, then it's a huge problem" mentality we're developing in this country is ridiculous. If 9/10ths, or even 8/10ths, or even 7/10ths of Native Americans are okay with the name "Redskins" etc. then their opinion matters too.

Do you kill years of tradition because 10-20% of Native American don't like a name? What if 70-80% of Native Americans don't find it offensive and, in many cases, actually are proud of it? Whose opinion matters more?
   82. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4570376)
That's pretty much been my take on this whole issue as I expressed it at the beginning of #33. But the question then becomes how do you poll Native Americans when sometimes it seems as if half the country claims some sort of Indian ancestry? How do you determine who's eligible to be polled? Those are not rhetorical questions.
   83. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: October 12, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4570387)
It seems to me the most reasonable way to approach this is to determine how what percentage Native Americans are offended by these names.



I work on an Indian Reservation. You know what's there? Grinding poverty. Homes without running water and electricity. Little to no economic activity. High rates of crime and substance abuse. It's more or less isolated from the rest of the country. So yes, most Native Americans probably don't care about the name "Redskins" because they're trying to survive day to day. They're facing bigger problems in life. "Redskins" is a term that continues to highlight how Native Americans have been marginalized in this country.

I suggest everyone read this recent article on the issues. How The “Redskins” Debate Goes Over On An Actual Indian Reservation
   84. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4570423)
That's the best summary of the pro-change position I've yet read, Steve. Thanks for linking it.
   85. BDC Posted: October 12, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4570442)
Yes, a very interesting piece, Steve.

I guess I've expressed this before, but I often wonder what possible downside there could be to a professional team changing their name to something that would offend nobody. Of course I understand that brand identity and fan tradition are involved, but these things are pretty malleable: ask Rams, Cardinals, Colts, and Ravens fans.

I really do suspect that clubs resist such changes because they fear (and are sympathetic to) scorn from the right. The reaction from talk radio would be withering: Look how political correctness has ruined our lives, the liberals made us give up "Redskins" and call our team by some sissy name like "Roughriders," thanks Obama. The implicit media pressure, and the owners' sympathies, are far more on the inertial, conservative side of the issue: so much for liberals brainwashing everyone into conformity.

   86. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 12, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4570453)
I suggest everyone read this recent article on the issues. How The “Redskins” Debate Goes Over On An Actual Indian Reservation

Thanks for sharing, Steve, but let's be clear: The "article" was blatantly slanted, particularly when the author offered his follow-up questions to the tribesmen and women who had said they were not offended.

(That is, I wouldn't be surprised if a pro-Redskins author subsequently traveled to the same reservation and got a few residents who claimed to be offfended to equivocate a little after one or two follow-ups.)
   87. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 12, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4570523)
let's be clear: The "article" was blatantly slanted, particularly when the author offered his follow-up questions to the tribesmen and women who had said they were not offended.


Truth. Only about 20% of Native Americans live on reservations. And even the biased author had to admit the majority he interviewed didn't care. I suspect the concern is even lower among the 80% of Native Americans that don't live on reservations.

"Their lives are so bad many don't care about this issue, but only because their lives are so bad" is an emotional appeal, not a fact. Sure, there are bigger fish to fry - but the question he asked was pretty clear. I'd like to cure cancer and heart disease, but if you asked me "If it were up to you, and only you, would you eliminate the common cold?" I'd still answer yes. It's a negative, so why not? The artcle reads to me as a case of not getting the result you expected and trying to explain it away.
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 12, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4570591)
I guess I've expressed this before, but I often wonder what possible downside there could be to a professional team changing their name to something that would offend nobody. Of course I understand that brand identity and fan tradition are involved, but these things are pretty malleable: ask Rams, Cardinals, Colts, and Ravens fans.

Whatever the merits of the change, you'd better believe there'd be a HUGE pushback from Redskins fans. You might as well try to change the Texas Longhorns to the Texas Cows, or New York Giants to the New York Midgets. (Not that that name wouldn't suit this year's Giants team.)

And BTW the Ravens use the Baltimore Colts marching song. Indy kept the old Baltimore uniforms, but a blind Colts fan from 1953 would feel right at home in Baltimore.
   89. Flynn Posted: October 13, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4570981)
Also, the "New York Jews" comparison isn't really relevant- the jews didn't get kicked out of new york! It would be more like a soccer team called the Bavaria Jews, with a bunch of blue eyed blond haired teutons waiving giant inflatable dreidels and having a dude dressed as a Rabbi run up and down the sidelines.

Which sounds kind of awesome, really, but also offensive.


Clearly one is not familiar with AFC Ajax...or Bayern Munich for that matter.
   90. BDC Posted: October 13, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4571001)
HUGE pushback from Redskins fans

I hear you, Andy: it's just that at the end of the day, it's just the name of a sports team. If the Eagles or Cowboys come into town to play the Senators, people will still show up :)

Of course, some of them would show up in Redskins colors. I imagine for a certain core group it would be like trying to rename Sixth Avenue.
   91. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4571069)
I hear you, Andy: it's just that at the end of the day, it's just the name of a sports team. If the Eagles or Cowboys come into town to play the Senators, people will still show up :)

Of course, some of them would show up in Redskins colors. I imagine for a certain core group it would be like trying to rename Sixth Avenue.

"Redskins" is not merely the "name of a sports team," BDC, but one of a billion-plus dollar busineess.

Here's Tom Van Riper from Forbes:

The public can debate the name and context all day, but a change will remain unlikely. Passikoff’s research captures the reason: strong fan loyalty that’s based above all else on history and tradition. The Redskins, the NFL’s third-most valuable franchise at $1.6 billion, rank 13th of the league’s 32 clubs in Brand Keys’ sports loyalty index.

That’s only slightly above average, but as Passikoff notes, the club ranks No. 7 in the “history and tradition” component of the index, keeping company with franchises like Green Bay, Chicago and Dallas. That history component is the foundation – it varies little from year to year, bringing sustained value, while the rest of the index fluctuates with the recent fortunes of the team. Washington had been mired in mediocrity for years until Robert Griffin III created a new buzz and a playoff ride this past season.

Meanwhile, Forbes assigns $131 million of the Redskins’ $1.6 billion valuation to its brand strength, behind only the Cowboys and Patriots. How much of that brand strength is specifically tied up in the name? It’s impossible to say, exactly. But when you’re minting money even in down years, as the Redskins do, you don’t have much interest in trying to find out. A fresh round of merchandise sales tied to a new identity isn’t worth the risk. As Passikoff puts it: “You’ve got an awful lot of people who don’t want them called the Washington Congressionals.”


If tomorrow, Apple changed its name to Pear or Toyota to Atoyot, do you think the switch would be as inconsequential as you suggest above?
   92. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4571082)
.

"Redskins" is not merely the "name of a sports team," BDC, but one of a billion-plus dollar busineess.


If the Red Sox, the team I've followed almost since birth, changed their nickname tomorrow, it would not affect my fandom a whit. That so many get so emotional about something so inconsequential as a team's nickname is one of the many things I find baffling about humanhood.



   93. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4571087)
If tomorrow, Apple changed its name to Pear or Toyota to Atoyot, do you think the switch would be as inconsequential as you suggest above?

Estimated company value:
Redskins $1.6 bn
Toyata $200 bn
Apple $500 bn

That comparison seems legit.
   94. Morty Causa Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4571092)
What does the purportedly afflicted party, the American Indians, say about all this?
   95. PerroX Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4571095)
I am opposed to such name changes for several reasons:

1) The protest is both trivial and symbolic.
2) It's a feel-good whitewash of history.
3) Taking offense is a power trip.

Doesn't matter. Redskins is here to stay.
   96. PerroX Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4571096)
What does the purportedly afflicted party, the American Indians, say about all this?


There's no such group as "American Indians". There are individual tribes, and besides, we waged a successful genocidal war of extermination against all of them. The remnants are either museum pieces or political fictions.
   97. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4571097)
If the Red Sox, the team I've followed almost since birth, changed their nickname tomorrow, it would not affect my fandom a whit. That so many get so emotional about something so inconsequential as a team's nickname is one of the many things I find baffling about humanhood.

But that's you. That's not everyone.

To get a preliminary sense of the financial implications of a name change, you'd have to poll Redskins fans, not non-fans or fans of other teams, to see what they'd think of it.

If anything, I think that the $131 million number that Forbes assigns to the Redskins brand underrates it. This is a franchise that dates back to 1937, and has a season ticket holder fan base with generational roots going back to their first years in Griffith Stadium. I used to buy my tickets outside RFK from season ticket holders who didn't want to deal with scalpers, and almost inevitably I'd wind up sitting next to people whose family had held those seats going back to the 60's or well beyond. Christ, even their fight song goes back to 1938, second in longevity only to the Packers. Even in the Snyder Clown Show era, fans have remained loyal.

Of course a certain percentage of Redskins fans would probably favor a name change, for the very reason that it's been proposed. And another unknown percentage would roll their eyes at the whole thing but say "Hey, what can you do?"

But I've also got a strong sense that a fair percentage of long time Skins fans would feel a significant emotional break with the team, for a mix of reasons ranging from political to something more intangible but nevertheless real. To a lot of them, it's be like seeing your parents suddenly deciding to adopt a foreign name that had no relation whatever to the name they grew up with. I doubt if many of those fans would be likely to buy any "Washington Griffins" or "Washington Warriors" memorabilia, and I think it would take a LONG time (and an unlikely Super Bowl win or two) for that loss to be recovered. I've gotta think that this is what's first and foremost in Snyder's mind, beyond his personal emotional reaction to the change.
   98. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4571098)
That comparison seems legit.

Actually, it is. They are all businesses.

Want to do a comparison with a far smaller entity? Go badger the founders of Georgetown Cupcake to change their store's name, then gauge their reaction.

In contrast, Sixth Avenue is a city street re-named Avenue of the Americas specifically to attract commercial investment, most of it from other nations in the Western Hemisphere.
   99. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4571103)

But I've also got a strong sense that a fair percentage of long time Skins fans would feel a significant emotional break with the team, for a mix of reasons ranging from political to something more intangible but nevertheless real. To a lot of them, it's be like seeing your parents suddenly deciding to adopt a foreign name that had no relation whatever to the name they grew up with. I doubt if many of those fans would be likely to buy any "Washington Griffins" or "Washington Warriors" memorabilia, and I think it would take a LONG time (and an unlikely Super Bowl win or two) for that loss to be recovered. I've gotta think that this is what's first and foremost in Snyder's mind, beyond his personal emotional reaction to the change.T


What has the actual impact of this stuff been? Have the colleges that changed their nicknames (above even greater caterwauling) taken the hits in support that opponent of name changes forecast? Or, once the change is made and people realize that it's still the same group of pituitary freaks out there representing old Alma Mater U, do people realize that it was a bunch of fury over nothing?

I understand my position is not common. But I question the extent of the damage these teams will suffer. Moreover, I'll never understand why some people get so worked up about something so insignificant, even while recognizing they do.

Oh, and Avenue of the Americas is such a better name than Sixth Avenue. It's no contest.

   100. Morty Causa Posted: October 13, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4571105)
There's nothing more frustrating and insulting than your inferiors refusing to vindicate and validate your manifestly superior sensibilities.
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