Yesterday, in an interview with Roll Call, Tom Coles (R-OK) said that the Washington Redskins should change their name. Coles, who is a Cherokee, said that he finds the term ‘redskin’ offensive. For a long time, Coles was the only Native American in Congress; in November, another Cherokee was also elected to the House, Markwayne Mullin, (R-OK) also a Cherokee.
According to Coles, “Come on. This is the 21st century. This is the capital of political correctness on the planet. It is very, very, very offensive. This isn’t like warriors or chiefs. It’s not a term of respect, and it’s needlessly offensive to a large part of our population. They just don’t happen to live around Washington, D.C…It’s a great football team with a great football tradition, and it shouldn’t have a name that’s derogatory to Native Americans attached to it.”
I would guess that the Atlanta Braves is more offensive since fans there give the tomahawk chop whenever they manage to get a runner past first base.
About 10 years ago, I was giving an example of something, and a young person told me that Hispanic was an offensive phrase. I was taken aback at this, since it meant that a lot of stuff I had written had suddenly turned archaic. I asked why it was now offensive; he told me that Latinos (the preferred term that decade) was how they liked to refer to themselves.
Even longer ago, in Cleveland there was a similar kerfuffle to this, because of the Cleveland Indians. This confused everyone, since nobody there at that time thought that Indian was a negative term.
The only time I can remember a name change to a professional team for this reason is when the owner of the (then) Capital Bullets changed the name to Wizards after the assassination of somebody. I don’t believe that they’ve made the playoffs since then.
While they’re at it, they should probably get rid of Washington in their name, as well. A lot of Brits are probably offended by this allusion to this rebel.