As a resident of the Washington, D.C. area since the 1970s, I have been consistently dismayed that so much of the civic culture of my adopted hometown is built around a sports franchise whose nickname is a clear racial slur. The fact that Washington is the capital of the world’s beacon of inclusion and democracy makes the persistence of the Redskins name even more embarrassing. It was offensive in the 1970s, and should have been changed then, in which case it would now be a vaguely-remembered piece of sports trivia. That fact that it is still here in 2014 is astonishing and appalling.
Those who profit from the name have come up with a stunning variety of rationalizations, but the most stunning of all is their contention that this epithet is somehow a “term of honor.” They even got some judge to endorse the idea at one point. The NFL echoed it again this week.
The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image.OK, here’s how to knock that one down, and I am hoping someone in the DK community will take on the challenge, since I don’t have the skills to do it myself. Put together a short compilation video documenting the use of the word “redskins” in Hollywood western films and TV shows from the 1930s to the 1950s. I am convinced that a two or three minute video could put to bed for good the idea of “redskins” as a term of honor. If fact, if anyone can come up with an example of “redskins” used in an honorable or praiseworthy way, I would be anxious to see it.
--NLF Spokesman Brian McCarthy
For starters, I recently caught on TCM the 1956 feature film version of The Lone Ranger. I counted three highly uncomplimentary uses of the word. If I recall correctly, there are also examples in the John Ford cavalry westerns (Fort Apache, etc.).
Is there some western film buff with good editing skills out there? Take up the challenge and shoot down this “term of honor” nonsense once-and-for-all.