Washington football team owner Dan Snyder is going on a charm offensive to convince those on the fence to side with him in supporting the offensive name of his franchise. Washington recently launched a “Community Voices” PR campaign by selecting only fans who agree with their stance that the racial slur name is an “honor.” Now Snyder has announced that the team has formed an organization called the “Washington R*dskins Original Americans Foundation” that aims to help indigenous communities struggling with poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide and other maladies.
The children in aboriginal communities also suffer from low self-esteem. In 2005 the American Psychological Association called for the retirement of all Native American mascots because of the damage they are doing to Native American children. “American Indian mascots are harmful not only because they are often negative, but because they remind American Indians of the limited ways in which others see them. This in turn restricts the number of ways American Indians can see themselves,” said Dr. Stephanie Fryberg of the University of Arizona.
So if Snyder is so concerned about indigenous communities in America he would change the racial slur name in addition to other initiatives. But instead he is standing firm on his stance to “NEVER” change the name. But he visited a bunch of tribes and bought them coats and backhoes!
American Indian activist Susan Shown Harjo, who has been fighting the name for decades, called Snyder’s move “somewhere between a PR assault and bribery.”
Dan Snyder might be able to bribe a few indigenous Americans by donating a backhoe, but he can’t bribe the dictionaries that label R*dskins a racial slur:
Oxford: dated offensive
Merriam-Webster: usually offensive
Cambridge: offensive old-fashioned for a Native American
The Free Dictionary: Offensive Slang. Used as a disparaging term for a Native American
Dictionary.com: Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive
And by the way, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the R word as “usually offensive” is the exact same definition used for N*gger, K*ke, Sp*c, G*ok, Ch*nk, D*go, M*ck, P*lack, Kr*ut, Cr*cker and R*dneck.
Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter, who started the Change the Mascot campaign, perhaps put it best in response when he stated, “we’re glad that after a decade of owning the Washington team, Mr. Snyder is finally interested in Native American heritage, and we are hopeful that when his team finally stands on the right side of history and changes its name, he will honor the commitments to Native Americans that he is making.” Adding that, “we are also hopeful that in his new initiative to honor Native Americans’ struggle, Mr. Snyder makes sure people do not forget that he and his predecessor George Preston Marshall, a famous segregationist, have made our people’s lives so much more difficult by using a racial slur as the Washington team’s name.”