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The language police have been out in force in recent months. The target du jour is the NFL team that resides in the nation’s capital. They are trying to force the owner of that illustrious franchise to ditch the team’s 80-year-old mascot.
Some, a precious few as it turns out, believe the word “Redskins” to be a slur.
Barack Obama, who never misses an opportunity to right every perceived racial wrong, didn’t help by wading into the matter recently and ginning up the controversy.
Let’s face it. Some people with way too much time on their hands can get offended by a ham sandwich! The fact that the overwhelming majority of Native Americas aren’t offended by the term, and are proud that this team chose to highlight the positive attributes of their heritage, ought to count for something.
Such was the case when a few uptight feminists with their panties in a twist began insisting we rid our speech of words like “Miss, Mrs., Mistress, Madam,” “lady” and “ma’am” as in “Yes, ma’am.” What generally is considered to be polite forms of address is offensive to the NOW crowd. They want to be referred to as “women” or individually as a “woman” and will accept no substitutes.
Frankly, I am offended when a youngster I barely know answers me with a simple “yes,” or worse, “yeah,” which is all too common these days.
These disgruntled charmers are right about one thing though. Every adult female is a woman. However, all women are not ladies. That is a term that must be earned!
The Washington team began as the Boston Braves, sharing a playing field with its baseball counterpart. The following year the franchise moved across town to share Fenway Park with the Red Sox and became Redskins. What else? Also, the name was a way to honor the fact that four of the original players and the head coach were Native Americans.
I’m not aware of any Native Americans who play for the Redskins today. However, many Native Americans contributed to the founding of this country. One of the paintings in the dome of the Capitol is of Pocahontas at her Christian baptism.
Nevertheless, if the traditional mascot is to be abolished at the request of the president and a few other malcontents, may I suggest that the team choose one that is more indicative of Washington today. I humbly offer a few suggestions.
- Washington Statesman – this one, too, is outdated. Few statesmen left.
- Washington Lawmakers – this one is too obvious.
- Washington Politicians – now that’s more like it.
- Washington Bureaucrats – getting warmer.
- Washington Spinners – both lawmakers and bureaucrats have mastered this art.
- Washington Freeloaders – the key to lawmakers and bureaucrats’ power.
- Washington Entitled – they pass and enforce laws but exempt themselves from our misery.
If the shoe fits … Then again, the team could choose to change the mascot but keep the feathers:
- Washington Crows – Our representatives are always crowing about how much they do for the rest of us.
- Washington Buzzards – they pick our bones clean.
- Washington Vultures – redundant.
Charles Krauthammer is one who believes the team should abandon the word “Redskins” because, over time, language changes. He suggested the team drop the “red” and go with “skins” since it has a sports connotation. He is referring to “skins vs. shirts,” which is used to denote teams in pickup games when uniforms are unavailable. One team wears shirts and the other team wears simply skin.
Skins also stands for cigarette papers, particular those for rolling a joint. While this would appeal to some liberal groups, it would anger the angry feminists. Who would dare suggest a group of female basketball players go topless? Also, skin often refers to nudes as in “skin magazines” or “skin flicks.”
I will admit that Dr. Krauthammer’s suggestion does have merit. Our elected representatives play lose and fast with our money because they have no “skin” in the game. Also, they could be accused of “skinning” taxpayers alive in order to feed their favored friends.
This will no doubt offend members of the House and Senate, which just proves my point: You can’t please everyone.
Despite the language police, I prefer to keep the term “Mrs.” And, when someone calls me “a lady,” I’m flattered. Thank you very much!
Meanwhile, as long as most Native Americans aren’t offended by the use of Redskins – which was a name they used to describe themselves – as long as they want to keep their proud heritage alive as this Washington’s team mascot, I believe we ought to leave the name alone.