Associated Press
New York State Assembly

New York State Lawmakers Denounce ‘Redskins’ Name, Pass Unanimous Resolution


The name ‘Redskins’ has taken another hit.

On Monday, the New York State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution saying that professional sports teams should end their use of racial slurs. The resolution specifically denounces the Washington football team's name and urges team owner Daniel Snyder to pick a new one.

The bill was originally prompted by students in Cooperstown, New York, who voted to stop using the term “redsk*ns” as the name of their school’s mascot, but it was formally introduced by Assemblymen Keith Wright and Karim Camara on May 6 when a bipartisan group of lawmakers held a press conference denouncing the word.

"We shouldn't have to put forth this resolution," Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright told the Associated Press earlier this month. "The word is absolutely offensive to the Native American community and beyond."

In a statement on Monday, Camara, who chairs the black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Cacus, condemed the promotion and marketing of racial slurs. He also called on the media to refrain from using the R-word in its media reports.

“Until the NFL decides that the use of a term that is a dictionary defined racial slur should be stopped, the media, especially in New York, should stop using it,” Karmin Camara said in a press release. “New York is a place where all people should feel welcome and not be subjected to racial slurs while reading their morning newspaper. Editors and producers already have guidelines in place to not use certain language, including racial slurs. The time has come for the term “redsk*n” to join the other racial slurs and words used to denigrated different ethnic groups and cultures no longer used by media outlets in New York.”

Karim-Camara (D) (Courtesy Assembly.State.NY.US)

New York State legislators came to their decision on the same day that the NFL hosted its Spring Meeting in Atlanta. They have joined a growing list of individuals, news organizations, Members of Congress, and President Obama in criticizing the team's name.   

“Today is so significant because this resolution signifies that New York is making a statement that it wants to stand on the right side of history,” said Ray Halbritter, CEO of Oneida Indian Nation. “New York’s lawmakers clearly understand how important state legislatures have been to previous movements against pathologies like bigotry and inequality.”


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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
The dominos are "slowly" falling that will eventually crush the further use of "redsk*n." I emphasize slowly because there are virtually hundreds and hundreds of tribes, states, and organizations who sit idly rather than adopt their own resolution and announce to the public that they stand firmly against this foul slur and have validated it through their adopted proclamation. High fives to President Obama, National Congress of American Indians, Navajo Nation, and New York State Assembly. (If I discernibly omitted any, I apologize and ask if you would please call to our attention.) We can all do our part if only by bringing this necessity to the attention of the leaders that be and become a pest until words become action. In actuality, this list could be multiplied many times over by the summer's end and it should be the goal of all of us who have an unyielding desire to see the end of the use of the R-word.

newworldman's picture
Submitted by newworldman on
This entire society has a troubling history of summarily using slurs, epithets and derogatory nicknames to refer to Native Americans. I had one particular job at a precast concrete plant in Jackson, Mississippi where the preponderance of the laborers were African Americans. With my having 4 years of architecture school, and most of them being functional illiterates, it stood to reason that I would start at a salary higher than theirs (albeit only 50 cents/hr more). The fact that "a Indian" like me was paid more than the blacks angered them, for in their racist minds, I should have been the low man on the totem pole pay-wise. They proceeded to subject me to daily racial harassment, calling me every epithet imaginable for Indians, including redskin, half-breed, Pocahontas, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse, as well as their doing "rain dances." Of course, everyone called me "chief." I asked one black man why they called me and other Indians "chief." I explained to him that his own people in Africa had also lived in tribal institutions, with chiefs overseeing them, which meant that all black people could be called chief. I added that all Europeans had also lived in tribes with chiefs, so they could be chief as well. In fact, I told him, we could all call each other "chief." He thought about it for a moment, and agreed with me. If you explain the idiocy of such racism, many of the perpetrators will overcome their ignorance of their ways. That didn't stop them, and the harassment continued for 1 and 1/2 years until the day that I quit (before I hurt someone or got hurt). An attorney advised me to sue for "reverse discrimination" (whatever the h*ll that is, for it seems to me that racism is racism; blacks don't have a monopoly on being targeted with it). I decided against it and moved on, for suing would only make it more difficult for me and other Indians to hire on in the future, if potential employers knew that they might be sued for racial trouble.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I am with bullbear in stating that we ALL have a stake in stopping the use of this slur. You are NOT excused because you are a fan of the team, and you are NOT excused because you don't care. If you're Native this should bother you, simply because it bothers your brothers and sisters and hinders the growth of their children. I understand newworldman's reluctance to engage his ex-company legally. As WE all know justice in America is for sale to the highest bidder and corporations can afford the best. I was surprised to hear that he was also called "Chief" or "Crazy Horse" at his job as I was also subjected to that at the military installation where I worked prior to my current job. I also had to put up with war whoops and rain dances behind my back. It saddens me to think that these things are all spurred on by the corporate racism we're forced to endure. It bothers me to think that a child somewhere will be forced to hear this slur on television some Sunday afternoon. ,