Welcome to the latest edition of The Why. “Why should we care about the Redskins?” you ask? Actually, this question has obviously been a long time in coming.
With the exception of the first coverage last month you the readers have demonstrated that a comparatively small number of you are really interested in this issue. (Your perpetually provocative penman doesn’t think anyone cares about Mike Tyson in general anymore so that didn’t help either but still the question did not come as a surprise.)
Why should we care about the Redskins? We should care because it seems that those deemed politically Incorrect are now actually outside the protection of our legal system. The controversy over the over whether the name of the Washington Redskins is offensive or not initially held little interest beyond it being a more interesting story to cover than which team beat which other team.
Why should we care about the Redskins? Once you finish reading this column you’ll understand. As Sports Writer Robert Tracinski noted: the US Patent Office ruling hinged on the suspect argument that the word “redskins” is a slur against Native Americans. He went on to suggest that we might have to “rename the state of Oklahoma, which drew its name from Choctaw words that mean ‘red people’.” He also suggested that we “petition the US Army to decommission the attack helicopter it named after a people it defeated in 1886.”
The Redskins aren’t the only ones playing a sport nowadays. Tracinski agrees that ’name-bullying’ has also become a sport for “self-aggrandizing political activists, because if you can force everyone to change the name of something—a sports team, a city, an entire race of people—it demonstrates your power.”
Think about it: Just how much more powerful are you if you can force others to change a name for no reason other than because they’re afraid you will revile them? No one even questions it.
The word “redskin” has an equivocal history. The opinion—even among Native Americans—over whether it is offensive is a judgment call.
Why should we care about the Redskins? The issue is subjective. Our government would be smart if they’d stay out of it and let market pressure and “private persuasion” work it out.
The trouble is the only reason the patent ruling went down is because the prior campaigning against the Redskins failed in the “court of public opinion.” As Tracinski puts it: “The issue has become the hobby horse of a small group of lefty commentators and politicians in DC, while regular Washingtonians, the people who make up the team’s base of fans and customers, are largely indifferent. So the left resorted to one of its favorite fallbacks. If the people can’t be persuaded, use the bureaucracy—in this case, two political appointees on the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.”
Why should we care about the Redskins? We need to care about the redskins because our system is dependent upon the” impartial administration of the laws by the executive.” In this particular case, our executive officials decided that a privately-owned business does not “deserve” the protection of the law.
Why should we care about the Redskins? If the US Patent office ruling survives a court appeal, our government will no longer prosecute criminals who violate the Redskin’s property rights thereby costing them (potentially) millions of dollars.
Why should we care about the Redskins? As Tracinski pointed out: “(the) bureaucrats in Washington are now empowered to make subjective decrees about what is offensive and what will be tolerated, based on pressure from a small clique of Washington insiders. Anyone who runs afoul of these decrees, anyone branded as regressive and politically incorrect, is declared outside the protection of the federal government.”
Why should we care about the Redskins? We should care simply because it is happening. We should care because we have no clue where it will end or even IF it will end.
Why should we care about the Redskins? Now you know.
You ask the questions. We provide the answers.
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