Charles Krauthammer: Redskins and reason
Fifty years ago the preferred, most respectful term for African-Americans was Negro. The word appears 15 times in Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. Negro replaced a long list of insulting words in common use during decades of public and legal discrimination.
With a rare few legacy exceptions, Negro carries an unmistakably patronizing and demeaning tone.
Similarly, regarding the further ethnic breakdown of Congress, you wouldn't say: "And by my count, there are two redskins."
I know there are surveys that say that most Native Americans aren't bothered by the word. But that's not the point. My objection is not rooted in pressure from various minorities or fear of public polls or public scolds.
Not because I took a poll of Roma to find out if they were offended. If some mysterious disease had carried away every gypsy on the planet, and there were none left to offend, I still wouldn't use it.
Let's recognize that that there are many people of good will for whom "Washington Redskins" contains sentimental and historical attachment - and not an ounce of intended animus. So let's turn down the temperature. What's at issue is not high principle but adaptation to a change in linguistic nuance. A close call, though I personally would err on the side of not using the word if others are available.
Choose whatever name you like. But let's go easy on the other side. We're not talking Brown v. Board of Education here.
Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for The Washington Post.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Deroy Murdock: Hillary's Benghazi-Whitewater connection? - 5
- George Will: Obama needs Congress to approve this war - 0
- Jonah Goldberg: Obama is rushing into war against Islamic State - 1
- Another View -- Bill Duncan: What did the NH Supreme Court really say about private school funding? - 7
- Charles Arlinghaus: NH's job problem needs more than one fix - 5
- Pat Buchanan: In Scotland, it's economic man vs. tribal man - 0
- Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable - 69
- Deroy Murdock: Stuff the Obama lunch tax - 2
- David Harsanyi: The senators who really threaten America - 2
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Sox down Orioles in 10 as Ortiz hits a pair - 0
- Portsmouth stuns Memorial - 0
- High School Sports Round-up - 0
- Milford stuffs Souhegan on final play - 0
- Efficient Bedford beats Winnacunnet - 0
- Ex-Connecticut governor guilty of violating federal campaign laws - 0
- GOP attempts to tie Shaheen to old criminal case - 3
- Salem man presented with Polish award - 0
- Body found under Manchester bridge was local woman - 0
Manchester family heartbroken after finding lost kitten was adopted from shelter, family refuses to return it
Goodell vows domestic violence change