Just stop saying the team’s name

Washington, D.C. has an NFL team with a racist name. The team refuses to change the racist name. In response, the mayor of D.C. goes out of his way to avoid using the team’s name, and so do many media outlets — most recently, Slate. Good on them.

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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Popular Culture, Race & Ethnicity, Racism, Sports and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Just stop saying the team’s name

  1. pheenobarbidoll says:

    Ok article. They still soften it though with

    So while the name Redskins is only a bit offensive

    Only a bit.

    So the name starts off as racist, then trickles down to being only a bit offensive, and outdated.

    I do have a suggestion though. They can be renamed to Pale Faces. That way they stop offending NDN’s and at the same time, white people who complain they don’t have any special things named after them can stfu.

    • Angel H. says:

      “Fighting Whities” are, unfortunately, already taken.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        That’s hilarious. I don’t know how I never heard of it.

        Maybe another name could be Creepy Ass Crackers. Would be great for Florida.

      • Tim says:

        pheeno LOLZ you beat me to it!

      • TomSims says:

        From the Urban Dictionary

        A white NATIVE BORN Floridian, usually with pre-civil war Floridian ancestry. Sometimes used in a derogatory manner by colored people. However, the true Cracker is not offended- he takes pride in who he is and where he came from.

        Some characteristics of the Florida Cracker:
        1. Knows how to fish by instinct- was in to bass fishing before Bass Pro Shop existed.
        2. Prefers to swim in a lake or creek, not a pool.
        3. Knows what swamp cabbage is and how to cook it.
        4. Takes his hat off whenever DIXIE or any Lynyrd Skynyrd song is played.
        5. Liked NASCAR better when it wasn’t on TV. (MRN)
        6. Knows that cane syrup is what you eat on biscuits. Gravy is what you eat with squirrel and rice.
        7. Doesn’t mistake a gopher for a turtle.
        8. Knows that Fla. women are the best there is.
        9. Says the blessing before eating.
        10. Knows how to get to Hog Valley, Yankeetown, Scrambletown, and Yeehaw Junction.

        The Florida Cracker has become an endangered species, mostly because of all the golf-playing, non-driving, constant-bitching ASSHOLE yankee retirees that move to Fla.

      • Tim says:

        I suppose Washington Crackers would be out of the question.

      • I’d watch a game with the Weeaboo Warriors.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Mac- That made me laugh so hard I pee’d a little.

        Not even kidding.

      • shfree says:

        I have debated in the past about getting a “Fighting Whities” T-shirt, but my fear was that I would be mistaken for a blatant and proud racist by people who had never heard of them. If I had a stack of information cards and the time to pass them out to every single person I passed, then maybe it would work.

    • Chataya says:

      My alma mater dropped their racist mascot and became the Fighting Mel Gibsons.

    • trees says:

      Only a bit.

      So the name starts off as racist, then trickles down to being only a bit offensive, and outdated.

      Typical lukewarm apologia, as expected; they can’t just come out and name it for the white supremacy that it is. I have painful childhood memories of encounters with fans. I’m pretty sensitive about this sort of thing right now as I’m still licking my wounds from racist encounters with spectators at a pow wow this past weekend.

    • white people who complain they don’t have any special things named after them can stfu.

      I read that as “white people … can tofu” which seems oddly appropriate.

      (Okay, it’s very late here … )

    • (BFing)Sarah says:

      Hahahahaha! Washington Pale Faces. I don’t find that offensive at all, therefore it must not be offensive because I say so. Wait, that logic makes no sense? Yeeeeeeeah…I know.

      I just don’t get why they are holding on so tightly. Let. It. Go. Let it go. Let it goooooooooooooo! It is racist. Just change it, for the love of baby Jeebus, please!

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Don’t you feel honored? You should, because I demand you feel honored!

        That logic too is always used.

      • (BFing)Sarah says:

        And if I feel honored, all people should feel honored, regardless of their backgrounds! Because I am the determiner of how people feel!! And I think its super important that you seem to have meant Pale Faces in a positive way, right? I mean, that clears it all up! No more problems!

    • Fat Steve says:

      Ok article. They still soften it though with

      So while the name Redskins is only a bit offensive

      Only a bit.

      Maybe Slate only considers things offensive in relation to the political power of the group being marginalized.

  2. pheenobarbidoll says:

    as I’m still licking my wounds from racist encounters with spectators at a pow wow this past weekend.

    Jesus that’s the worst isn’t it? Was it the New Age Wanna Be Indian assholes or the “lets take the kids to go stare at the Indians” assholes?

    • trees says:

      of the “lets take the kids to go stare at the Indians” variety. They don’t even leave the young children alone. ’cause who cares if there’s no guardian around, why not surround a young child and have him pose for multiple pictures. There was also a good number of just straight-up old school haters too. It’s the treatment of children that really gets me, it just breaks my heart.

      • Aaand this is why I feel really weird about the idea of even going to a pow wow, even the one a First Nations friend said didn’t mind outsiders who were respectful and to which I was sorta invited. I mean, from what I can tell the “rules” seem really similar to Hindu religious gatherings (don’t step on/over stuff, don’t cross lines in the ground, don’t interrupt people, get out of the way, don’t talk, don’t take pictures), but I worry that even being Sufficiently Brown wouldn’t take away the weird intrusive nature of it. I dunno. Is it always weird when non-Native people turn up at these? Are people uncomfortable?

        I mean I know the “rules” for being a spectator at Hindu religious rituals and when it’s not appropriate to participate but I don’t want to offend and I can’t make it compute and aaagh. (And I don’t want to offend by being all “nope I won’t go away” to my friend either! WTF.)

        Sorry for the questionbomb.

      • trees says:

        I can only speak from my personal experience. It probably depends on your area, as I’ve seen a very different dynamic/vibe at pow wows I’ve been to over the years around the US. I’ve been to pow wows in the Pacific Northwest where the only non-NDN are folks brought by friends and family. In the northeast I’ve seen a lot more non-NDN (sometimes mostly, which leaves me sad and depressed) and it’s a lot more open, which would be just fine if people weren’t such shitty racist assholes.

        Even if your local gathering is more closed, if your friend invited you, you will probably be welcomed.

      • trees says:

        When you go, just remember it’s about sharing, not spectacle.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        If it’s open, you can go afaik, all the ones in this area tend to be for everyone. If you’re invited, go and enjoy. Be respectful and also share about your culture. You’re learning not gawking and most people know and can spot the difference . I’d not worry at all about taking you, Mac. You’re good people.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Also wanted to add- In general, if someone invites you then you can (again, generally) feel safe in assuming you may ask them questions before going, and during/after about things you want to know. If I invited someone, I wouldn’t feel put upon by answering questions.

    • trees says:

      at least the new agers are sometimes good for a laugh, and they spend money!

  3. tinfoil hattie says:

    Local radio stations “started” doing this years ago. It’s not some great new thing just because Slate finally jumped on the bandwagon.

    • number9 says:

      Also, City Paper had a reader poll and chose “Pigskins” at least a year ago. And Slate now ride in to the rescue, acting like they are suggesting something new here! Seriously.

      • Willemina says:

        Slate is far from the first to take a stand against the nickname. Why are we joining Washington City Paper and Gregg Easterbrook and writers from the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Daily News?

        Plotz was pretty clear that Slate isn’t breaking new ground.

      • tinfoil hattie says:

        Yeah, but the sanctimony in his, “We can no longer TOLERATE this travesty!” is barfacious.

  4. tinfoil hattie says:

    To clarify: comment directed at David Plotz of Slate, not at you, Jill.

  5. Marksman2010 says:

    I haven’t kept up, but I’m curious what Florida State intends to do about the same issue. I’ve been told that their school could lose federal and/or state funding if they keep the “Seminoles” as the team name.

    Locally, a state university changed their team name from the “Indians” to the “Red Wolves” in order to comply with the NCAA’s regulations.

    I simply don’t know where things stand insofar as collegiate athletics are concerned. I don’t keep up with sports. In the U.S., it’s like one long rerun with intermittent breaks to me, both college and professional.

    • Chataya says:

      It’s my understanding that Florida State actually has a very close relationship with the Seminole people. Their mascot is chosen by a representative of the Seminole tribe and wears period-accurate clothing. Wiki says the NCAA gave them a waiver because they have the approval of the tribe. It sounds like most colleges have dropped the racist names/mascots.

      • Marksman2010 says:

        That’s good to hear. Surprising, but good to hear.

      • Gretchen says:

        Not entirely the case, one Seminole tribe has given its approval, others have not. The Seminole/FSU relationship is not as rosy as it first appears.

        Adrienne K and some FSU alum covered this over in Native Appropriations.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Thanks Gretchen! I was going to post that but you beat me to it.

      • Marksman2010 says:

        Off that link, I agree with the posters who believe Florida State should do more in preserving and teaching the language, culture, and history of the various Seminole tribes. Sure, the merchandise money is nice. Yes, the scholarships are fine. But Florida State isn’t a struggling upstart of a school.

        They could–and should–do much more.

  6. Fat Steve says:

    Backing down from a stupid position…it aint that hard and only helps with PR…


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