- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2002

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments this week adopted a resolution "requesting" that the Washington Redskins change their team name because drum roll, please it is supposedly offensive to American Indians. While the resolution does not carry the force of law, it nonetheless adds to the politically correct pressure on team owner Daniel Snyder to effect the change. However, as with other attempts to force the abandonment of Indian-themed sports team names, the indignation is more feigned than real.
The problem with the assault on the Redskins and other similarly named teams is the assumption that people take these terms in a derogatory sense and use them to mock American Indians. "The use of this degrading and dehumanizing term for a team name is hurtful and offensive to Native Americans and to many people who reject racial stereotypes, racial slurs and bigotry as socially and morally unacceptable," the resolution reads. In fact, team names such as "Redskins" are used to convey admirable and positive traits associated with American Indians courage, bravery and strength. The idea that Washington-area sports fans get a kick out of having their beloved professional football franchise named after an "insulting stereotype" is just absurd. And this is what differentiates the use of "Redskins" from actual terms of opprobrium used to demean, belittle or delegitimize an ethnic or racial group. Only the professional activists fail to see the distinction.
One of the two council members who did see the distinction and said so openly was Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Connolly, who described the language of the resolution as "incendiary" and said "I think it's tantamount to saying to Redskins fans and to our constituents, 'you are bigots.' " Exactly so. He went on to note that the resolution was little more than a series of gratuitous "assertions" that assume the team name is taken in an offensive or hurtful way but that there is no factual support for such assertions. "Where's the study? Where's the research?" he asked.
Mr. Connolly has it just right and deserves praise for having the guts to take a stand in the face of a hurricane wind of PC bloviating. As for the Redskins themselves, their fans hope they will live up to the best qualities of their team name and stand their ground. "Our organization will not abandon its time-honored name," Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson said Thursday in response to the council's resolution. That's reason enough to cheer this season's middling scorecard notwithstanding.



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