Saturday, August 20, 2016

What's in a name?

As we descend (and I mean descend) into the mire of hyper hype that is American Football, there is that one issue which will surely creep back into the radar. It is the question of offensive team names. It will be centered on tribal names of Native Americans, and generally brought up by non-Native Americans.

I wonder who is actually being offensive on such an issue. Catholics do not appear offended by the San Diego Padres logo of a goofy looking monk swinging a baseball bat. Why should they be? It's all in good fun. Are Irish Americans bothered by Notre Dame's Fighting Irish and that mean looking two-fisted leprechaun image with which they proudly adorn themselves? It doesn't seem to be the case. It's not meant to provoke the Irish, and indeed they might rather like the idea that their ancestors from the old sod are seen as rough and tough.

So why should Native Americans be offended by Chiefs or Hurons or Chippewas or Braves or even Indians? I'll wager that a good many aren't, in fact; they may actually like the references along the lines of the Irish and the Catholics. We will concede something on Redskins, to be honest, as that moniker does seem to cross the line in crudity. But then, I'm not saying that all's fair either. Do we really think that a group of citizens are so thin skinned that they can't appreciate a powerful or even playful nod towards their culture? If they are, I humbly suggest, then, that that's their problem.

In short, don't insult or use overtly racist slurs in naming teams and institutions. But don't be a stick in the mud either. It's supposed to be fun, remember?

Or does our increasingly politically correct society wish to ban that too?

No comments: