Team Nicknames Honor Native Americans

Friday, 02 Aug 2013 11:57 AM

By Chris Freind

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Life is good.
 
Summer is in full swing, the Trayvon/Zimmerman soap opera is fading away, government is probably reading only half our emails now, and the excitement of football is in the air.
 
Most important, America has solved all its problems. Otherwise, how to explain a cadre of congressman, Republican and Democrat, sending a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder demanding that the Redskins’ name be changed because it is racially demeaning to Indians. Oops. Native Americans. Sorry.
 
Granted, if we had an Indian nickel for every boneheaded thing Congress does, we’d all be millionaires. But those congressmen need to be scalped for this one, and publicly admonished until they turn red-faced with embarrassment.
 
This is no time for peace pipes. We must, without reservation, not just hold down the fort but go to war with those riding roughshod over hallowed American traditions, fighting people who chop away at things no one finds offensive.
 
As with most issues though, we lack a political chief brave enough to tackle this political correctness. Ironically, if a leader painted this picture for the insanity that it is, it wouldn’t be his last stand, but a feather in his cap, because using Indian names isn’t offensive, but complimentary.
 
“Native Americans throughout the country consider the `R-word' a racial, derogatory slur akin to the `N-word' among African-Americans or the `W-word' among Latinos,” the congressional letter states.
 
Really? Members of Congress honestly think “Redskin” is akin to the N-word? That may seriously be the stupidest thing ever said. And the “W-word?” What is that? If you have wonder, then clearly a problem is being completely made up.
 
Thankfully, Snyder has resisted the pressure, but if he reverses course, he would be labeled the world’s biggest Indian-giver.
 
Another debacle unfolded when the New York Mets, who for months had worked with the American Indian Community House planning a Native American Heritage day, abruptly canceled the whole event. Why? Because they were playing the Atlanta Braves! How anyone could find that offensive is any rational person’s guess.
 
The result? No singing, no dancing, no Indians. So instead of celebrating a spectacular culture, opening the eyes of thousands to Native American traditions, the people got nothing, and the Indians got tomahawked.
 
While another win for political correctness, how is that helpful?
 
This warped mentality is also in the classroom, as children now sit “crisscross-applesauce.” That used to be “Indian-style,” but the PC gods had a pow-wow, and determined it was racist, despite no child ever saying, “I sat Indian-style today, so I hate Native Americans.”

Even worse is when entities give in so easily, such as when St. John’s University changed its name from “Redmen” to “Red Storm.” And if you’re going to cave, at least come up with a name with meaning. Outside of the red storm on Jupiter (or is it Uranus?), what is a “Red Storm?”
 
Are the Indians themselves offended? Apparently not, as a Sports Illustrated poll found 83 percent of Native Americans have no problem with their use of Indian names and mascots for sports teams.
 
But that didn’t stop the deity called the NCAA from imposing mandates to jettison “hostile and abusive” Indian names, threatening severe sanctions for noncompliance, including bans on hosting post-season championships and forfeiture of games.
 
What’s next? Animal-rights groups demanding Penn State eliminate the nittany lion because felines feel offended being identified with Jerry Sandusky? Don’t laugh. That’s the type of political correctness driving our country.
 
How can we ever move forward as a people, when all we do is search for things which divide, rather than unite, us?
 
Were Indians low man on the totem pole, stripped of land and human dignity, sometimes brutally, by early Americans? Without question. No reparations and no apology can ever fully right those wrongs.
 
But America, despite its past errors, has shown the most remarkable resilience in history not just to learn from its mistakes, but to make things right and yes, better, for future generations. We have seen triumphs for descendants of the Irish and Italian immigrants who faced substantial discrimination; the Chinese who built the railroads under deplorable conditions; the Japanese interned during World War Two; the blacks who were enslaved; and yes, Native Americans.
 
Rather than opening old wounds, PC-pushers with their own agendas should look at the United States’ everlasting tribute to Native Americans. What more of an honor could there be to the Indian values of hard work, conservation, respect of traditions, and pride than the fact that 28 states are named for Indian tribes and words, as well as professional sports teams, countless high schools, and businesses?
 
It’s time to stop this foolishness, for if we don’t, it will not end with the Indians.
 
Watch out, Fightin’ Irish.
 
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at CF@FFZMedia.com. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

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