Hush Money and Ransom: An Open Letter to Dan Snyder, the Idiot
"Because you buy your way out of trouble. You're a payer. You did it once, and now you're gonna do it again."
Jimmy Shaker, Ransom
I'm a movie nerd. So I wanna start this letter with a short review of one of my favorite movies.
WEIRD MOVIE REVIEW
There's a Mel Gibson movie called Ransom, wherein a corrupt cop steals Mel Gibson's kid. It's a compelling movie because I think all parents have had nightmares about that scenario and try to think through what they would do in that hypothetical. Terrifying. Plus, Mel Gibson plays the crazy white boy like nobody else (and in light of his various outbursts, it may be art imitating life).
The thing about it is that Mel Gibson, in the movie (as in real life), doesn't necessarily have clean hands. In fact, he admits (to the FBI, no less) that his company's workers were about to strike and so he gave the union president hush money to call off a strike. Turns out, the union president went to jail while Mel Gibson's character escaped prosecution. That is why Jimmy Shaker, the corrupt cop, refers to him as a "payer"—he's a rich boy who thinks that money is his eternal "Get Out of Jail Free" card, allowing him to do bad stuff with impunity and get away with it.
WHY AM I TELLING YOU ABOUT AN OBSCURE 1996 MOVIE?
Danny, as the owner of the Washington Redskins, you've been catching hell over your refusal to change the Redskins' name (many people think it's racist, including a lot of Natives). On Monday night you announced that you will start a foundation to benefit Native Americans. You said that the foundation will give a good amount of money to fight very real problems within our communities such as suicide. It's called the "Original Americans Foundation."
Here's the thing: I, like a lot of other Natives, don't give a damn about the Washington Redskins or mascots or any of that. There are absolutely MORE IMPORTANT things to worry about that MOST of the Natives who constantly complain about the Redskins and mascots (yet don't live amongst other Native people or work in our communities) don't see. That's because MOST of those adamantly anti-mascot Natives don't live within our communities (of course there are SOME who do live in our communities, but in our home territories, there are plenty of Native-themed mascots that a lot of us Natives love very, very much. We are proud of them and those folks who want to get rid of all Native mascots definitely don't speak for us).
There are PLENTY of Natives, like me, who don't take subjective offense to the name or to the concept of Native mascots generally.
That doesn't mean, however, that objectively ANY other vulnerable ethnic group (Black folks, Hispanics, Arabs, Jews) would be fair game to be the subject of a mascot. We recognize that.
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