Hail To The Redskins . . . In Red Mesa

350px-Washington_Redskins_logo.svgHaving watched the Redskins-Cowboys game last night, this story caught my eye. I previously wrote a Washington Post column on the controversy over the Redskins name. In the column, I mentioned that a large number of both Native Americans and non-Native Americans do not view the team name to be offensive and explored the issue of of who should decided such questions. A story in the Washington Post discusses a vocal opposition to changing the name “Redskins” in Red Mesa, Arizona. It is the other “Redskins” team from Red Mesa High School — a school composed of largely of Navajos.

As mentioned earlier, recent polls show that almost three out of four people polled still believe that the Redskins should keep its name and do not view the name as racist. Another poll shows that almost 60 percent of NFL players believe that the team should keep its name. A 2004 Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans said the name didn’t bother them.

The Navajos do not view the name as a racial slur but a point of pride — even having a spear-carrying brave lead the team on to the field to cheers of “Fear the Spear” and “Redskin Nation.”

The Post reports that “[t]here were 62 high schools in 22 states using the Redskins moniker last year.”

The story is interesting because the standard used by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board made it irrelevant whether the vast majority of Native Americans felt the same way as the Navajos in Red Mesa. The board followed an amazingly ambiguous standard that allows the denial of a trademark if it “may disparage” a “substantial composite” of a group at the time the trademark is registered. Thus, even if true, it would not matter if 90 percent of Native Americans do not oppose the use of the name or whether society as a whole does not view the name as offensive. Instead, the board focused on a 1993 resolution adopted by the National Congress of American Indians denouncing the name. The board simply extrapolated that, since the National Congress represented about 30 percent of Native Americans, one out of every three Native Americans found it offensive. “Thirty percent is without doubt a substantial composite,” the board wrote.

I frankly an agnostic on the name (until someone says that names like “the Bears” are offensive). I can see why some people find it offensive while I understand the pull of tradition in the use of the name. However, I do not believe that this is an appropriate matter to be resolved by a tiny obscure office like the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Whether the Redskins keep their name should be left to the owner, the fans, and ultimately the market.

In the meantime, the Redskins of Red Mesa insist that they will keep the name and their mascot.

Source: Washington Post

47 thoughts on “Hail To The Redskins . . . In Red Mesa”

  1. would you call a black person a nigga if you were white? hell no, you’d get your ass beat. i hear blacks call each other nigga all the time because that’s who they are & are fine with it. but if you’re not black & you use that term, you’re gonna get an ass beating & called a racist. so what’s the difference when a non-native uses the word redskin? same difference & i bet’cha you’d get an ass beating too. racism is racism…

  2. Whoops. I should have capitalized that last usage of the word Bears. I was speaking of the team there and not bears in general. And two polar bears is not what I meant when I said bi polar.

  3. I agree with Paul C. Schulte’s very first comment up there at the top.
    JT misspoke when he referred to the Chicago football team as The Bears. It is “da Bears”. He is from Chicago and he knows better. Being in Europe all those days has made him tune up his English but that in turn tuned down his Chi Town chapter and verse. Da Bears! are my favorite team and I do not live any where near Chi Town. Dogs have always gotten along with bears. Unless they become bi polar. You don’t want da bears to become bi polar.

  4. Censorship is censorship.

    Only a Dictatorship would limit speech.

    I mean if we are going to get into banning words and things that offend, lets start with Political Correctness. THAT offends me.

  5. I’m currently watching the lakers-rockets game and see no Yellow, Brown, or dare I say it, Red faces on the court, in the stands, or in the broadcast booth. Why broadcast in color when the NBA shows a black and white world? Where is Keith Olbermann?

  6. Its good that sports journalism deals with the important, tough issues. Whether its coming out against wife beating or discussing team names that have been around for 80 years, they tackle the issues America needs to face.

  7. “Okay, enough is enough. I am going after “The Fighting Irish.” It is a racist stereotype and needs to be changed.”

    That’s not a stereotype, that’s the truth. Ever heard of the fighting 69th?

    1. rcocean – that is not why the Fighting Irish are so named and that is not their mascot. Ever hear of the Irish Brigades?

  8. @NickS

    Well, you and your little blue pill need an Irish Poem!

    Mercy? Nary!
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a little blue pill
    Which some guys thought a very BIG deal.
    It would shatter their worlds
    If they found to us girls,
    That the size of the wallet’s the thrill!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  9. Squeeky, WOW!! We have some trolls that post the same videos continuously, and they’re idiotic. PLEASE post this video whenever there’s a thread that it’s appropriate. Thank you. You’re a gem even when you’re not rhymin’!

  10. Squeeky, Secular progressives have formed The Church of the Perpetually Offended. We have a few bishops here.

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