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View Diary: On 'Redskins,' President Obama gets it right and Fox News Dem Lanny Davis gets it completely wrong (301 comments)

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  •  Aji featured another story on those clueless (23+ / 0-)

    fans who showed up in redface in today's This Week In American Indian News: Shutdown & SCOTUS, Racism & Redface.


     photo CelvelandFansInRedfaceCreditJasonMillerGettyImages_zpsfa990c96.jpg Yes, I'm delighted to report that the portion in quotation marks is an actual headline.

    It's from Houston Mitchell's opinion piece in the Sports section of The Los Angeles Times, and it rocks.

    It all began with last Wednesday's televised playoff game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland . . . well, you know. In one of the crowd shots that panned across Mr. Mitchell's television screen were three Cleveland fans in redface and fake feathers.

    Because, you see, Indians have red skins (Redskins? Where have I heard that before?) Add   exaggerated eyes and mouth, and you have a pretty offensive display.

    Yes, I get it. They are trying to portray lovable Indians mascot Chief Wahoo (himself a pretty offensive character).

    The message I get is it is OK to be racially insensitive as long as your are doing it to Native Americans.

    Can you imagine the outrage if the three guys had shown up in blackface to support their favorite team? Or if the team had a caricature of an African American as its mascot? Isn't it time to stop this kind of stuff?


    It's columnists like Mr. Mitchell who are really going to move the needle on these racist mascots and the fans' accompanying racist behavior. But that doesn't mean that we or our allies can afford to slack off — and, indeed, we're not. We've also gained some powerful public allies over the last week.

    While the NFL owners' meeting is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown next week, the Oneida Nation will be holding its own parallel meeting: a symposium, actually, on the offensiveness of the Washington NFL team's mascot.

    "When one of the most valuable franchises in the NFL is using a racial epithet, how do you explain that to the children?" [Oneida leader Ray] Halbritter told the AP. "How do you explain how it makes you feel as a human being?"
    Accompanying Mr. Halbritter on the panel will be Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton [D-DC]; and psychologist Dr. Michael Friedman, an expert on the effects of discrimination on children.

    And in an interview with the Associated Press published last Saturday, President Barack Obama took a public stand in favor of changing the name.

    According to the Washington Post report, this marked the first time that President Obama had ever been asked his opinion on the controversy. He threaded the needle pretty effectively, while leaving no real doubt where his own opinion lies:

    "If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizeable group of people, I'd think about changing it[.]"
    . . .
    "I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here," the president said. "They love their team, and rightly so — even though they've been having a pretty tough time this year. But I think — all these mascots and team names related to Native Americans, Native Americans feel pretty strongly about it. And I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things."
    The statement was not lost on Mr. Halbritter, either.
    The Oneida Indian Nation welcomed Obama’s comments Saturday, saying in a statement that "President Obama’s comments today are historic."
    Predictably, Brendan Buck, the spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner [R-OH] tried to make hay out of it. Anything to distract people from the fact that your boss is a figurehead completely unable to control the extremists in his own party, who let them drive the country into a new ditch by way of the shutdown, I suppose.

    Oh, and Mr. Buck? I can tell you what we call them in this household. It's a perfectly serviceable name, and has the advantage of being devastatingly accurate. We call the the Washington Racists.

    See? They could even keep the "R" on the official team gear. You're welcome.


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