- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2002

They are the Washington Redskins, deemed guilty of extreme racial insensitivity by an 11-2 vote authored by the political leaders in the region.
No, they are not the Whiteskins or Blackskins or Yellowskins. They are not even the Pockmarkskins, as offensive as that would be to sufferers of acne.
The notion of skin color is fairly frightening stuff in America. It is not nice to notice.
Just to be safe, it probably is wise not to notice if a person is too tall or too short, overweight, anorexic, bald or just plain ugly.
The Redskins, alas, find themselves stuck in the touchy-feely era of sensitivity-training counselors, Oprah and professional victims.
The history between the red man and white man is apt to bring out the guilt, depending on the interpretation of the history. If Jack Kent Cooke were still around, he probably would place a call to Princess Pale Moon. She just might sing the national anthem in response to the enlightened, as she once did at RFK Stadium.
Interestingly enough, the nickname, like the football team, transcends color. American Indians are divided into two camps, split between whether a nickname mocks or celebrates their heritage.
You could ask Erin Pittenger, who flashed her Cherokee credentials while opposing the decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education to eliminate the nickname Indians from Poolesville High School after this school year.
All this play on words aspires to be important, part of the re-education of the masses.
No word of protest yet from the hard-drinking, hot-tempered Irish, forever pigeonholed as the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Even the town drunk has feelings, submerged though they are.
Being sensitive remains a growth industry in America, interrupted only momentarily, as it turns out, by the atrocities of September 11.
It seems America's so-called epiphany after September 11 was overstated. America's rush to restructure its priorities has the hint of business as usual.
The sensitive are not merely amusing, judging by the urge to be sensitive at airports. Strip-searching blue-haired women is probably unnecessary, a foolish expression of open-mindedness around the next Richard Reid. Worse, the airport-security personnel do not bother to stick dollar bills in the panties of the blue-haired women.
The ability to be offended takes lots of practice and often a compelling amount of brain-twisting logic.
The Redskins don't mean to offend, by the way, except if you are their opponent on a football field. That is the company line, if it matters to their critics. The aim of a football team, after all, is to be tough and vital, and ultimately victorious, and the Redskins happen to believe their moniker reflects that spirit.
The sensitive see it differently, and their sensitivity is boundless, given what happened to dear, old Santa Claus in Seat Pleasant last month. He apparently is offensive on a number of levels, not the least of which is his runaway cholesterol count.
The Redskins are vowing to try harder this week after much of Washington took offense to their 8-8 record this past season.
At least two newspapers, in Minneapolis and Portland, Ore., desperate to remain ahead of the cultural curve, expunged the use of Redskins from their news pages a few years ago.
Their editors undoubtedly have to study in exhausting detail all the photos involving the Redskins. The team's logo, plastered on each helmet, features a red man. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that potentially is a lot of hurt to the readers in those two cities.
The hurt is possibly genuine, although it is hard to explain the hurt emanating from D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz.
In her resolution, the nickname is categorized as "degrading" and "dehumanizing," strong words that do not fit the purported crime. Words are tricky, to be sure, even if sometimes they are only the political equivalent of shouting to be heard.
To paraphrase John Riggins, a former member of the team, loosen up, everyone. You're too tight.

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