Freedom vs. Diversity (contd.): Team Names Must Go!
The current issue of Popular
Science magazine explains the scientific import of the
Biblical story of creation: “let there be light.”
According to the theory of
supersymmetry, a random fluctuation of the vacuum of
space anywhere in the universe could turn off the cosmic
light switch, plunging the universe into darkness. Light
and the electric force holding atoms together would
disappear, and all matter would disintegrate into lumps
of disorder. The Earth would collapse under its own
Science fiction writers may go to
work writing the story of the 5th millennium Dark Lord
Sauron closing in on this ultimate weapon of
The dark minds of some people in
government cause one to wonder if the cosmic light
switch hasn`t been flipped. Consider, for example, the
activities of the pretentious
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a
collection of local D.C. beltway political nitwits.
These busybodies had nothing more
important to do than to involve themselves with the name
of a privately owned professional football team–the
Washington Redskins. On January 9 they voted 11-2, with
5 abstaining, that the football team should
change its “offensive” name.
Perhaps the vote was simply an act
of jealousy. The Redskins, a beloved team, have far more
fans and supporters than the petty politicians or the
few local residents who might claim to be genuinely
offended by the name. Democracy is not the rule of the
few, no matter how offended, and the name of a private
organization is no business of government.
On the other hand, perhaps the
council vote was another instance of rote, mindless
political correctness, an issue worth addressing.
Three decades ago a group of white
male liberals, anxious to prove that Stanford University
was racist, began agitating against the name of the
Stanford football team–the Stanford Indians.
The “hegemonic white male power
structure” capitulated, and the Stanford football team
was renamed the Cardinals. The capitulation occurred
despite the fact that almost no one thought the name
Think about it. No proud
university or football team would burden itself with a
disreputable name. Sports teams call themselves
“Indians,” “Redskins,” or “Braves” in recognition of the
Indians` fighting spirit. Stanford named its team the
“Indians” in admiration, not disparagement.
If football teams are to be
stripped of their Indian names, then so must all
streets, avenues, parks, rivers, creeks, lakes, towns,
cities and counties. Sioux City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls,
South Dakota, have to go.
Offence Police have much to do. No doubt,
cartographers will soon have an organized lobby for
removing all reference to Indians everywhere.
Confining Indians to the memory
hole hardly seems to be the way to avoid offending them.
If members of specific Indian
tribes find it offensive for a team to use the generic
name, “Indians,” then doesn`t it follow that people from
the Northeast–“yankees”–should be offended by the name
of the New York Yankees? If this “offence” thing makes
sense, why is it only a prerogative of one group?
Former Washington Redskin fullback
Dale Atkeson`s 7-year old California license plate
reads: “I Redskn.” State motor vehicle bureaucrats have
retroactively decided that the plate is “offensive”
and ordered Atkeson to turn it in. Why is anyone
offended that a football star is proud to declare
himself a Redskin?
If we are going to play the game
of being offended, fairness requires that all ethnics
have the right. Russian-Americans can claim offence at
the name of California`s Russian River.
Martin Luther King Day, Avenues
and Parkways have to go. Lafayette Park in front of the
White House requires an ethnic-neutral name to avoid
offence to the French. The White House should be renamed
to avoid racist connotations. A vast number of Spanish
nameplaces must be changed to avoid offending Latinos.
And Stanford must go back to the
drawing board. By renaming its team “Cardinal,” the
university evaded the ban on “Indians.” Cardinal is a
red color. The Stanford Reds is just an abbreviated form
for Stanford Redskins, a synonym for Stanford Indians.
Now that we are on to this trick, the Washington
Redskins had better not try it.
Craig Roberts is the author (with Lawrence M. Stratton)
New Color Line : How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy