What's in a name? How about nothing?

End Gridlock in Washington Now, Daniel Snyder!

Marc Yaffee

Washington DC is once again in gridlock. Voices of reason are standing up to an intolerant minority of ignorant hardheads who can’t look at the logical facts that should prevail and bring sanity to the nation’s capital.

I’m not talking about the government shutdown we recently endured. I’m talking about the Washington Redskins name controversy. The PC police are out in force against the renewed call from Native tribes and activists for the Washington Redskins to finally change their name. Fueled with self-righteousness and indignation, these PC police have worked themselves in to a frenzy over the mere thought of losing their beloved Redskin team name and logo.

I call them the PC Police but this time around PC stands for Prickly Caucasians.

These PCers don’t know and they don’t want to know the history behind the term Redskin. To do so is to help reawaken the collective American amnesia of the Holocaust perpetuated against the Indian Nations. Yes, Mr. Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder, I said Holocaust. I’m pretty sure you, as a Jewish person, are familiar with that term. I would think if anyone would be sensitive to the subjugation and extermination of a group of people, you, Mr. Snyder, would be at the top of that list. 

I wonder how Mr. Snyder would react if a Nazi Holocaust denier bought a major league sports franchise and decided to honor the bravery of Jewish people during World War II. I think Mr. Snyder might take issue with a team named the Uprising or the Resistance or the Slave Laborers. 

But if Daniel Snyder insists on keeping the Redskins name, I say let him do it, under these conditions: All sports teams in the U.S. would be renamed to "honor" the bravery and courage of other groups, both foreign and domestic. To honor Chinese immigrants for the hard work of their ancestors building our railroads, I propose the Seattle Slant Eyes. In recognition of the hard-working Mexicans who pick our fruits and vegetables, how about a the Florida Field Hands. Of course, let's not forget those slaves who help build the south. Goodbye Memphis Grizzlies, hello Memphis Mandingos. What about oppressed sexual minority groups? How about the Texas Transsexuals or the St. Louis Switch? Of course there were those brave fighters from America’s World War II adversaries. Who wouldn’t pay good money to see the Cleveland Kamikazes play the Boston Blitzkrieg? 

I think that, deep down, Mr. Snyder knows very well that the Redskin name is wrong and offensive. However, money, tradition and machismo are all at play here. Plus, NFL is a near religion in America now. Telling a team to remove their mascot as offensive is to some like walking into a Catholic church and saying they need to replace all their Caucasian Jesus statues with a Middle Eastern version of Jesus. 

Don’t worry, Mr. Snyder. If you change the name like you should, no Redskins fans are going to abandon your team for the Cowboys. Your stadium will stay full, your pockets will stay fat and your team, the Washington Whatevers, will return a bit of dignity to Native Americans.

Marc Yaffee is the Creator of Powwow Comedy Jam. You can hear him on the Bob and Tom Show Monday, October 28, promoting his new CD "Chucklelicious." Marc's website is laughwithmarc.com.



John Derby's picture
John Derby
Submitted by John Derby on

I remember when I was a young teenager being called "chief," "American Indian, Injun," "redskin, "brown cow," " "Native American," "Mexican," etc. In the majority of these cases, it was the tone of the voice, body language, eye contact, demeanor, and many related factors that determined if it was friendly?, or derogatory?, or one of praise?, and done out of either love? or hate? If it was done in an offensive or derogatory manner then I felt a little hurt or being made the subject of ridicule or derision by my peers, but in the majority of times being called all of the above was not intended to ridicule by the other person. I remember being called a "dirty redskin" and got into a fight with the person who used the adjective to describe the name "redskin!" Does one's skin color make a difference in determining who we are as a people or nation? The same could be said of black people being called the "N" word! The most common word used to describe black people today is African American. We have come a long ways in the last 50 years to overcome racial prejudice, but we still have a long ways to go before we are perfect. Right? Then why don't we go after the Kansas City Chiefs? Is "chief" used as a derogatory word to describe how they feel about Native Americans? I am a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the name "Fighting Sioux" was determined to be offensive by the NCAA and they gave them and alternative to stop it or they would be excluded from playing in the national hockey tournament. I was never offended by the name "Fighting Sioux!" Back in 1949 several tribal elders from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wanted UND to adopt the name "Fighting Sioux" in honor of their heritage. UND carried out their commitments. As an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe I am proud to be called Sioux. Yes, we stood up for our rights and we were one of the very few tribes that stood and fought against the U.S. Remember Custer's Last Stand!!! I would rather be called Fighting Sioux than the "yellow-belled chicken Sioux!!!" When are we ever going to get off this political correctness as a proud people. I don't need AIM to speak on my behalf! As long as the people treat me with respect, dignity, and advance the cause of Native American, Indians, tribes, etc., that is what really matters. I like the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, UND Fighting Sioux, FSU Seminoles, Central Michigan Fighting Chippewas, and there are many colleges, high schools that use Warriors, Braves, Chiefs, Redman, etc. Without exception, 99.9% are done to honor our Native American heritage. Let's get on with doing something about the poverty, social issues, unemployment and related matters that need to be addressed by all of our professional teams, colleges, high schools, businesses, and organizations! That is what we should be fighting for as a people and nation!!! We as Indian people need to stand up and be proud of our heritage. Our fathers and grandfathers stood up against great odds so that we could survive as a people and nation. We are all related!!! Sincerely, John Derby