Thursday, 19 June 2014

Palefaces Skinning the Redskins

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We did it for Phil Robertson. We did it for Chick-fil-A. And if ever there was a time to circle the wagons, we should do it now to defend the Redskins.

As you likely know, the Washington Redskins NFL team has been targeted by the (selective) sensitivity police, who, fonts of compassion and erudition that they are, have decreed from on high that its name is offensive to American Indians (who I’m supposed to call “Native Americans” — boycott me). Of course, they do have a point. With our central government’s history of violating treaties with the American Indians, breaking promises to Americans in general, and trampling everyone’s rights, the name “Washington” now could certainly be seen as offensive. So perhaps we should just call the team the “Redskins” (joke credit: Mark Levin).

And with team owner Daniel Snyder refusing to capitulate to the sensitivity caliphate, concerned palefaces are piling on. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the team’s name a “slur” and “racist” and said that Snyder would be “forced” to change it. Last month Reid and 49 other Democrat senators even pressured the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, to skin the Redskins. And now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has cancelled six of the team’s federal trademarks, stating, “Petitioners have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging.” Hey, I guess that as with the militarization of federal agencies, the patent office can, with godlike scope, be all things to all people — including arbiter of “offensiveness.”

And who are the “petitioners”? The politically correct palefaces found five offended American Indians, including one Amanda Blackhorse, to file a complaint with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in 2006.

In fairness, the phalanx of the offended also includes “77 tribal, civil rights and religious groups,” reports CNN. Impressive, huh? Well, before assuming the wagons are surrounded and outnumbered, consider that, as CBSDC reported last year, “There are Native American schools that call their teams Redskins. The term is used affectionately by some natives, similar to the way the N-word is used by some African-Americans. In the only recent poll to ask native people about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term offensive.”

I suspect that many of the “77 tribal, civil rights and religious groups” are much like the guy who adopts a Festivus-like holiday and gets his apartment declared a church. And with 90 percent of the group that would supposedly be protected saying “No thank you, white-man’s-burden types,” that should be the end of the controversy. But not in our upside-down world. In fact, good little boy Commissioner Goodell actually said last year, “If we are offending one person, we need to be listening.”

Huh? This is, putting it mildly, stupid. I’m “offended” by Reid, Blackhorse, leftists in general, and the continual attacks upon sanity and my culture. Are you listening, Goodell?

I think not. This brings us to an important truth: While many today behave (when it’s convenient, anyway) as if there’s some transcendent, objective standard for offensiveness, it’s actually completely subjective. Most everything offends someone and most everyone is offended by something. So when a person claims the illusory high ground of compassionate non-offender, it’s nonsense. Like everyone else, he’s just picking and choosing whom he’ll offend.

Of course, all societies have their no-nos, things better not said in polite company. But should a few bureaucrats in a relatively obscure government agency be the arbiters of offensiveness? Should their determinations in this area be used to deny an entity its trademark? If the “Redskins” or anything else is found offensive by the majority, the market will render its verdict and the trademark will be worthless. This is economic democracy — as opposed to the autocracy of bureaucrats.

Some may now say that this subordinates minorities to the majority. I say, “So what?”

First, there’s no constitutional right to not be offended. Second, with respect to subjective matters, what do we have to go by but majority will? It would be different if we believed that Absolute Truth, God, deemed a certain type of expression wrong, as Christians hold is the case with taking the Lord’s name in vain. Then we could at least cite divine injunction, something more significant than majority will. But when this isn’t the case? Then saying a government agency’s extra-constitutional diktat is more significant than majority will is letting bureaucrats play god.

Speaking of truth, some will say that using Indian logos stereotypes the group. I say again, “So what?”  

Some years ago a friend of mine bought his children a DVD of older cartoons, the kind I watched as a child. Nauseatingly, the disc opened with a warning about how the works contained stereotypes, alluding to the portrayals of Chinese, Arabs, and others. But here’s the thing: When I watched these cartoons, I never once had a negative thought about the groups in question. I can safely say that my friends didn’t, either. On the contrary, seeing an American Indian in a headdress, an Arab in robe and turban, or an Indian charming a King Cobra made their cultures intensely intriguing. I can’t imagine I’d have been all that interested in visiting India if an Indian character had been portrayed as a London engineer with a clipped British accent.

And the same can be said about Americans in general. We tend to have a soft spot in our hearts for our continent’s Indians, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Why do we assign Indian names and symbols to sports teams, anyway? We don’t have NFL franchises called the Washington Wussies, San Francisco Dandies, or Minnesota Metrosexuals. We name teams the “Braves,” “Sioux,” or “Redskins” only out of admiration, the idea being that American Indians represent the quintessence of the warrior ethic.

And many American Indians fully appreciate this. As an example, CBSDC quotes Eunice Davidson, “a Dakota Sioux who lives on the Spirit Lake reservation in North Dakota,” as saying that the Redskins’ name “more or less shows that they approve of our history.” She also said that “if she could speak to Dan Snyder, the Washington team owner who has vowed never to change the name, ‘I would say I stand with him. We don’t want our history to be forgotten,’” wrote CBSDC.

But if recent history is any guide, it very well may be forgotten. CBSDC also tells us that North Dakota was the scene of a controversy similar to the Redskin’s one “over the state university’s Fighting Sioux nickname. It was decisively scrapped in a 2012 statewide vote — after the Spirit Lake reservation voted in 2010 to keep it.”

So it doesn’t matter what actual, real-life American Indians want because the politically correct palefaces have spoken. Yeah, come bear the white man’s burden, Senator Reid, because we’d all better be on the reservation — or else.

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