Way to take a stand, Rick.
Your article is massively confusing. You defend the term Redskins, but your own father-in-law said this:
Guess we need to listen to people who are offended by the Kansas City Chiefs‘ name, too. That’s one that offends my father-in-law. “You see some little guy wearing a headdress made of chicken feathers,” he says, “painting his face up, making a mockery of us. I hate that. Those are things you earn.”
Here are the readers destroying RR:
Thank you for standing up for the right of white people to call native Americans “redskins.” I mean, African-Americans call each other the N-word, so why would anyone object if an NBA team called itself the N’s? Everyone is just too politically correct. I mean, in the 1930s there was a colorful term for every ethnic group. But there certainly was no prejudice; it was just good clean fun. Thank goodness we have people like Rick Reilly who recognize that since many women seem comfortable with the B-word, no one has any right to consider it offensive. Thank you, Rick Reilly for standing up for the right to call any group any name you want as long as there are some members of the group who don’t mind.
– Eric Schenk (Mill Valley, Calif.)
Your argument that some Natives have accepted the name and made it their own is flawed, because it still does not mean that this name is not offensive. Being a tribal member from the Chippewa Cree tribe in Rocky Boy, I take offense to the name. I have been to a Washington game and that was the last time I will ever set foot on their corporate land. The things I saw at the stadium and surrounding community are extremely demeaning to Native Americans. Having people play “dress up” with replicas of sacred cultural items is insulting and it gives our children a cartoon version of who we are. I know it’s my job to teach my children right from wrong, but for this garbage to be allowed in our country is embarrassing. The people you interviewed are not representatives of all Native Americans, and your presentation of such is one-sided. I hope you don’t ever have to sit down with your child and explain why other people are playing dress up with what your people consider respected aspects of your culture. Then you can tell your child, “Nothing’s wrong, because those people say they’re honoring us.”
– Zane Rosette (Rocky Boy, Mont.)
Try dressing up in blackface, put on a grass skirt and a bone through your nose, carry a shield and spear, and tell your African-American friend that you are honoring his African heritage, and let me know how he/she reacts.
– John Frisch (Atlanta)
I’m afraid you’ve really lost your way. I am a proud Muscogee Creek Native American living in Marin [County], Calif. I am offended by your editorial on the Redskins name. There is no way you can draw a comparison between a team that is 99 percent native — and likes the Redskin name and probably chose it purposefully — and a national sports franchise that uses cartoon images of our people to promote their team. It hurts me. Maybe your relatives don’t mind but I do. Every time the Braves do their tomahawk chop I want to throw up. Why can’t we just realize we’ve evolved, we’re more civilized, we recognize now that people of different ethnic backgrounds, sexual preferences, religions, etc., are equal and shouldn’t be discriminated against. It’s just time to put this behind us and rise above it. Just because you can find Natives that don’t mind the name doesn’t make it right. If we went with that theory we wouldn’t have had the civil rights movement, suffrage or gay marriage. Things change and it’s time for this to change too.
– Karen Righthand (San Anselmo, Calif.)