Archive - Nov 18, 2013

The Clue Is In The Name

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Memo to sports fans, especially in the DC area: YOU ARE DUMB.

I suppose it's... nice? Yeah, let's go with "nice". Nice that the debate over the "Washington Redskins" name is actually and/or finally is taking place. Or at least is taking place at a volume and frequency such that white people are noticing it's going on.

At the same time, this does mean I have to hear the losing side of the debate try to convince people that the name's not racist. Here's a hint. When your name refers to an entire group of people strictly based on an outmoded misconception about the COLOR of their FUCKING SKIN, then yes, it's at least a little bit racist.

I don't care if some Native Americans are reclaiming it. Well, I do care, in that one of the signs that a term is offensive is when the community it refers to starts reclaiming it, but it's not a defense.

I also don't care that different tribes and different spokespeople have different opinions about the name and the importance of trying to change it. You can find lots of members of any minority willing to accede to whatever makes the majority happy. Allen West made a goddamned career out of it.

I also don't care about the other teams with names like "Braves" and "Warriors" and "Chiefs" and even "Indians". I mean, they're all a little bit racist, especially the last one, but at least the first three are occupations and the last one was at one time an acceptable ethnic designation. The reason people are making fun of "Redskins" is because it's the worst of the lot, on account of being REDSKINS.

The arguments about fixing it boil down, across the board, to "we don't wanna and you can't make us". Which is the usual reaction by an unaffected majority. And I get it. You're used to it. You're comfortable. You're happy. It's easy to do nothing.

And that's fine. But be honest with yourselves that that's what you're doing, and why you're doing it. Don't pretend you're "honoring" the various indigenous peoples of the Americas by doing it. Because you're not. You're fetishizing them.

And believe me, when, for example, white nerds fetishize Asian women, they feel the same way. They think they're honoring them. They think it's a compliment, how hot they think those Asian women are. But it's not a compliment, it's a fetish, a fetish based on a stereotype. That's what you're protecting.

And you'll probably win, for at least another few years, because there's not just white privilege involved here, there's a brand with money behind it at stake, too. And when money's at stake, it's a lot tougher to pressure people into doing the right thing.

But it's still racist and fetishy and kind of icky, and you shouldn't get to fool yourself into thinking otherwise so you can be comfortable with it.