An Open Letter To Rick Reilly About His Recent Defense Of The ‘Redskins’ Title
Via Rick Reilly's column on ESPN: "And even though an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the Redskins name, and even though linguists say the "redskins" word was first used by Native Americans themselves, and even though nobody on the Blackfeet side of my wife's family has ever had someone insult them with the word "redskin," it doesn't matter. There's no stopping a wave of PC-ness when it gets rolling."
Dear Rick Reilly,
I recently read your article defending the "Redskins" nickname and thought, gee, for once a journalist has gotten off of his elitist, preachy soap box, and thrown a little common sense into the national discussion on identity politics. You make a great point, if this in fact is what you're trying to say. Let me do my best to sum up your thesis:
If a group of historically oppressed peoples isn't offended when they're identified by a cartoonish, inaccurate, antiquated racial description, the practice of identifying historically oppressed peoples by cartoonish, inaccurate, antiquated racial descriptions should continue on, in a case by case basis.
Couldn't agree more. This actually reminds me of my second marriage, funny enough. You see, my first wife was a real party animal. A good time girl. Her name was Elise Devareau, but I called her "Wide Head," because she had an abnormally wide head. She liked it. I think she had a stepdad who used to call her "Wide Head," so she found it affectionate and familiar. We had a great time, me and Wide Head, until she died in a horrific home laboratory explosion. Tragic -- I loved that woman.
My next wife wasn't so much fun. Her name was Denise. A Beautiful, sweet woman, but one of those "intellectual" types, who preferred to be called her real name, and not the nickname I'd made up for her that described how she looked -- which was "Gorilla Arms," because she had the hairiest forearms of any woman I've ever known. One day, seemingly out of the blue, I called her Gorilla Arms and she packed up all her things and left.
When I finally got in touch with her, Gorilla Arms told me she thought it was insensitive to identify her by a hyperbolic description of her appearance. I don't see what's wrong with it, because my first wife was ok with it.
The point is, I'm gonna keep on calling women names that affectionately refer to an aspect of their physical appearance, because someone, somewhere, wasn't offended by it -- and I don't care if every other woman on the face of the Earth disagrees. BECAUSE THERE'S NOTHING INTRINSICALLY WRONG WITH IDENTIFYING SOMEONE BY HOW THEY LOOK.
So I know what you're saying Rick. It doesn't matter if a practice is generally condemned across the board because most people find it objectionable. If the Chicasaw and the Choctaw tribes aren't offended by being labeled by the color of their skin, we should allow the practice to continue, in the hopes that some child, somewhere far off in the future, has the right to be identified by the color of his or her skin -- and not just the content of his character.
Because who's going to tell him why that's not right? I sure as hell won't...
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