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josie's avatar

If the Washington Redskins should change their name, shouldn't the NAACP?

Asked by josie (23360 points ) February 11th, 2014

The Redskins are currently under pressure from The Sensitive to change their name.

The alleged reason is because the term “redskin” is offensive to Native Americans.

On the other hand, the “CP” in NAACP stands for “Colored People”. Good luck saying “Colored People” in public anywhere without getting shot or fired. And yet, nobody is demanding the NAACP change their name.

What is the difference?

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13 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Also the Edmonton Eskimos… are offensive to Inuit.

hominid's avatar

Right. Because the Redskins is an organization owned and run by Native Americans designed to fight on their behalf.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Gee… it’s almost like context matters or something. Whodathunkit?

stanleybmanly's avatar

You can still say colored people and be regarded rather fondly by the folks to which you refer, particularly if you are of a certain age. It was a term considered softer than the more clinical “negro” in a period when “black” was used and regarded as a term of derision.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Totally not posted with an agenda in mind I’m sure.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Here is what Carla Sims, communications director for the NAACP, had to say about her organization’s name:

“The term ‘colored’ is not derogatory. They chose the word ‘colored’ because it was the most positive description commonly used at that time. It’s outdated and antiquated but not offensive.”

This is not to say that there aren’t ways of using the term offensively. Giving someone an insolent stare and talking about “them coloreds” is certainly unwise and highly suggestive of an underlying racism. But in general, it’s just an outdated term for “black” or “African American.”

“Redskin,” on the other hand, has long been a pejorative and was not chosen due to being “the most positive description commonly used at that time.” Indeed, as revealed by the team’s fight song, the name and mascot were chosen for their stereotypical associations with savagery.

josie's avatar

@SavoirFaire
So when they used to put a sign on a rusty drinking fountain in Biloxi that said “Colored” it was not meant to be derogatory?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@josie I suggest you actually read my answer. I very specifically noted the importance of context.

SavoirFaire's avatar

For anyone who is interested, a relevant article from The Onion can be found here. It’s a little over the top, but I think it makes the point.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The NAACP was named by those who founded an organization to serve a group of people who adopted the term “colored” at a time when that was the term intended to be polite and to carry the least baggage. Yes, the name is quaintly out of date but it reflects the changing terminology is a society still struggling with racial issues.

The football team selected a name that was then and still is somewhat of a pejorative. The team founders meant no respect to American native people (aboriginals). The pressure to rename the team to remove the inherent rudeness is surely justified. If you can’t see the difference, then I can no longer give you the benefit of the doubt as I did in a recent answer.

zenvelo's avatar

And, @josie, Redskin is just as offensive as “The Sensitive.” Instead of “The Sensitive”, perhaps you should say “The Constitutionalists”; after all, the 14th amendment governs protection from racism.

thorninmud's avatar

I don’t think it’s really a question of whether “redskins” is or isn’t a derogatory term. The Braves, the Indians and, in my state, the Illini—these aren’t derogatory terms in themselves, but they’re also controversial. Here’s the problem: they play on the idea that a certain racial group has a particular profile of characteristics. That is the whole idea behind racism, after all.

In the context of sports, you could make the case that the profile is a desirable one (which is why the variants on the name have been so popular). That’s also why there so many “Bulldogs” and “Wildcats” out there. Favorable or not, the implication is that a certain character comes with a certain race. That reduces people to stereotypes, which is dehumanizing. It wasn’t the particular term “Colored” posted above the drinking fountains that was objectionable; it was the implication that color said something about your character. It was that association that poisoned the terms “colored” and “negro”.

The NAACP and the United Negro College Fund use identity terms that are out of favor and have acquired a derogatory cast, but they don’t make the racist error of implying that a certain race has a certain character.

dougiedawg's avatar

I believe you can go overboard in the area of political correctness and the nickname “Redskins” has been around so long, people just need to get over it.

My dad was a paratrooper and yelled “Geronimo” when he exited the plane. I don’t believe the Apaches were upset in the least by it.

That being said, the reservation system is a far worse blight on Native Americans and the U.S. government needs to start making amends by giving back some of the lands that it stole and returning the rights of Indian people back to them.

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