Some 5,000 demonstrators in Minneapolis denounced the Washington Redskins’ team name just before the team’s game with the Minnesota Vikings.
Sure, your visceral reaction is to hope footballs connect with their 5,000 butts. But let’s use this as an opportunity to understand the warped American liberal mind.
Who’s offended by “Redskins”?
The protesters argue that the Redskins’ name is offensive. But who is offended and who cares?
First, the Redskins and their fans have used the name for some seven decades with nothing but affection. No one has ever meant it as an insult. In fact, back in the day the team owners supposedly chose “Redskins” to honor a coach who was part Sioux. The Redskins are like the Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, and other sports teams with Native American names: great warriors!
Second, few Native Americans have found the name offensive. A 2004 survey found that 90 percent were okay with the name. Numerous American schools have used “Redskins” as a name. And recently some of the famous World War II Navaho code talkers had no problem being honored by the Redskins and wearing Redskins jerseys.
So who is offended by the name? Liberals!
Please offend me
Many liberals seem to get a weird emotional high and a pseudo-sense of self-worth from being offended and from empathizing with those who are offended by the same things that offend them. They then charge off with moral indignation coursing through their veins to right the alleged wrong. And in the case of the Redskins, they won’t let the fact that no offense is meant or taken stop them. They’ll just take offense anyway!
Further, they want the rest of us to help them pretend that there’s something offensive going on. And if we don’t, if we refuse to play their stupid game, they’ll be offended by our callousness for not pretending to be offended.
Raping and pillaging
If liberals want to be offended by the names of sports teams, they’re missing some even more obvious opportunities. Those 5,000 Al Franken voters in Minnesota should address their ire at their own team, the “Vikings.” What were they? White men from Northern Europe who raided, looted, raped, pillaged, and murdered for centuries across a continent, making the Dark Ages truly dark and giving rise to the saying “Beware the fury of the Norsemen.”
Worse, those Vikings invaded the land of the noble Redskins, a.k.a. “America,” half a millennium before Columbus.
Warped liberal priorities
Getting back to Native Americans, there are indeed terrible current problems that deserve to be addressed—poor schools, unemployment, and alcohol and drug abuse.
And yet the “evil” to which liberals give priority is the Redskins’ name. Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid whipped his troops into a lather to get them to vote on a call for the team to change its name. And politically-correct cowards at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office cancelled the Redskins’ trademark.
But let’s look to the deeper, morally repugnant principles of so many liberals in their war against the Redskins’ name. These liberals reject Martin Luther King’s dream that individuals “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Such liberals don’t want Native Americans to transcend ethnicity, an accident of birth. They want them to think only in group terms. They don’t help them to appreciate the pride—to say nothing of the prosperity—that they can earn through their own merit. Such liberals want Native Americans to take offense at a word that means no offense rather than to take steps to be the best that they can be.
One great thing about sports is that merit counts. It’s not your ethnic background that matters. It’s how well you play.
So next time you see the Redskins playing and yapping liberals protesting the team’s name, understand you’re watching a philosophical battle, between a vision of a world in which individual merit counts and one in which we all just wallow in group resentment.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.