I have been hearing the controversy over the Redskins name, most recently in your Letters to the Editors section on Oct. 31. I take offense that this issue has been twisted into a “moral dilemma” and likened to instances of childhood (or adult) name-calling. It’s time that people stand up to the radical political correctness agenda and say enough is enough.
The Washington Redskins are not calling anyone names. The Washington Redskins have chosen a distinguished logo and named themselves. This name has existed since 1933 as a tribute to then head coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who was believed to have a Native American heritage. It was also an evolution of the previous name, the “Braves,” that referenced Native Americans but was changed due to confusion with the Boston Braves baseball team. The time for outrage, if ever, was in 1933 when the name was changed. The time for acceptance that the word has evolved in meaning and context is now, in 2013.
The people urging for sensitivity and political correctness neglect to view the word in the context it is being used. There is an extreme difference between being called a “damned Yankee” in a New York baseball stadium and being called a “damned Yankee” in a southern tavern. One of those scenarios more than likely precipitates a fist fight. The same can be argued for the Redskins team name. The danger of this radical political correctness is that it rips words from their contexts and infuses them with the omnipotent power to offend despite the actual meaning behind them.
When did making a racial slur stop requiring the speaker to be racist and actually intend to make a slur? A word is not a racial slur simply because someone chooses to categorize it that way, or even if in a different time or context it was used that way. In the year 2013, the Redskins name has been emptied of any historical offense and is not used abusively, it is uttered innocently by proud sports fans. The meanings of words evolve over time and to neglect the ebb and flow of our lexicon in order to feign offense is absurd.
In its worst light, if the Redskins name is deemed to offend some, there is no right to be free from being offended. The segment of the population that has gotten better than ever at finding reasons to take offense should not have the power to pressure a team to abandon their First Amendment rights of choosing their own name.
This issue is not about taking responsibility, being role models to our children or name-calling; it’s about learning to tolerate the choices of others even if they are not the same ones you would make. It’s about respecting diversity in this country even if the beliefs of others offend you. It’s about the freedom to disagree, and in a state where we embrace same-sex marriage even though that offends some religions, it’s time to give the Redskins a break and focus on more important issues.
And honestly, these political correctness activists have bigger fish to fry. Have you seen the mascot for the Cleveland Indians, Chief Wahoo? Now that’s offensive!
Meredith Pendergrass, Bowie