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Elliot Isenberg

Humanities 11
Ashley Carruth

A Racist Name That Needs A Change

The term Redskin is considered offensive and disparaging towards Native Americans. This term
refers to the red pigment in their skin and sometimes related to the scalps of fallen Native Americans
soldiers. It started to gain a negative connotation when it was used between 1940 and 1960 when
western movies portrayed Redskins as savage enemies. Today, this term has gained its infamy in
relation to the Washingtons professional football teams mascot, the Redskins There is an on going
battle between Native American tribes and social justice activists on one side and the owner of the team,
Daniel Snyder, on the other on whether or not to change the name. The name needs to be changed in
order to ensure the protection of an ongoing battle for equality in our society today.
The Washington Redskins have been around for almost 80 years, they have gone through one
name change before moving to Washington and another doesnt seem to be happening anytime soon.
William Henry Lone Star Dietz was the teams first head coach after whom the teams name was later
named to honor his Native American Heritage. Dietz was eventually proven to not have Native
American heritage after he fraudulently registered for the drat as a Non-citizen Indian. Dan Snyder, the
current owner of the Redskins doesnt consider the teams name to be offensive. In an interview
conducted about the issue, Snyder argued that, A Redskin represents honor, represents respect,
represents pride. Despite Snyders claims that his teams mascot is meant to honor Native Americans,
this does not seem to be the case as Learners Dictionary defines the term Redskin as very offensive and
should be avoided.
The word Redskin is impacting the team more than you would actually think. The team is not
subjected to trademark as Fox Sports reports based on the evidence properly before us ... these
(trademark) registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the
respective times they were registered (Other). Currently in Minnesota, the University is closely working
with the professional football team The Minnesota Vikings to keep the Washington Redskins name from
being used in promotional and game date materials during the Vikings game at the Universitys
stadium. (Battle)
The Washington Redskins and other sponsors would benefit from a name change. Anne Bahr
Thompson, founder of consulting firm Onesixtyfourth, says, "They could win more fans, people who think
they've done the right thing (Other).
Not only would they benefit from possible new fans, but from additional revenue. Matt Powell, an
analyst for researcher SportsOneSource, says, "First, you've got the hardcore loyal fans -- the fans that
don't see anything wrong with the name -- rushing out to buy what they think will be never-seen-again
logos," "When that product is gone, the retailers have to completely restock, and most loyal fans will go
out and buy the new jerseys to look like their favorite players." (Other).
The Redskins name needs to be changed. Daniel Synders team treats a large minority of people
unequal and in a way it dehumanizes Native Americans. Noah Begay, former professional golfer,
exclaims, If you ask me, it IS offensive. And I think it's just a very clear example of institutionalized
degradation of an ethnic minority, that being the Native American people. The only thing that is
protecting this teams name is Daniel Snyders First Amendment right. The first amendment protects an
individual or group of individuals in this case their right of free speech.
Daniel Snyder is protected and doesnt have to change the name of his team, but shouldnt he feel
morally wrong for offending this many people? If Jeremy Bentham were still around today he strongly
refute Daniel Snyders decision to keep the teams name. Jeremy Bentham was a Utilitarian. Utilitarians
believe in cost-benefit analysis, and determine that morality is based on maximizing happiness and
minimizing pain for the greater good. In this case, Washingtons team name is negatively affecting a large
minority group.
Daniel Snyder should feel morally obligated to change the name of his team. Jeremy Bentham
once said, He who thinks and thinks for himself, will always have a claim to thanks; it is no matter
whether it be right or wrong, so as it be explicit. If it is right, it will serve as a guide to direct; if wrong, as a
beacon to warn.


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