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Opinion: Republicans blinded by offensive racist mascots

Filed Under: Opinion | Sports
More on: dc, football, mascots, racism, redskins, republicans
   

Writer wonders why Republican defend the racist mascot of the Washington professional football team:
Every once in a while a small controversy comes along that helps explain a big problem. This National Football League season has provided such a controversy. The name of Washington D.C.'s football team, the Redskins, is under fire. "Redskins" is an offensive term and therefore inappropriate for the team representing our nation’s capital. That's kind of obvious, right?

Most Republicans don't think so. They defend the name, as they do other Native American-based team names, such as the college football champion Florida State Seminoles, calling them tokens of "honor." They claim that the names celebrate a "heritage" and "tradition" of "bravery" and "warrior-spirit," and they publicly wonder: What's the problem?

The Onion, that fine news source, captured it in one neat, snide sentence: "A new study... confirmed that the name of the Washington Redskins is only offensive if you take any amount of time whatsoever to think about its actual meaning." So what's keeping Republicans from thinking about it?

For one thing, Republicans tend to wear a set of blinders, crafted and actively maintained by the party's functionaries and its media priesthood. They also suffer from mental roadblocks shared by American whites more generally, including a thin, often myth-based “knowledge” about Native Americans. Collectively, all of this blinds Republicans to what it's like to be on the receiving end of power at home and abroad.

Get the Story:
Jeremiah Goulka, Republicans and the Redskins (TomDispatch 1/14)


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