PC Police ~ VS ~ Washington Redskins
Logo Redesign by Osprey Dawn
Recently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has cancelled the Washington Redskins trademark registration because they found the name to be 'disparaging.' Based on this ruling, could we see other sports teams' names change in the future for being politically incorrect?
According to Texas Fred, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" He believes that 'Political Correctness will KILL America.' Most of you will find that statement to be a bit extreme, but his satirical post does offer up a few cheeky, yet presumably valid reasons why many other sports teams must change their name because of the USPTO ruling.
He begins his rant by stating,
"Sports Team Names Now To be perfectly politically correct…
One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans (Washington Redskins) would exalt them as warriors, but nay."
For the same reason the Redskins' name was deemed offensive, he argues,
"Let’s ditch The Kansas City Chiefs, The Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians." It would be an injustice not to add the Chicago Blackhawks here.
What about reference to skin color?
"If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns, too.
The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of the militant Blacks from the 60′s alive. Gone. Offensive to us white folk."
Surely, America's most popular baseball team doesn't offend anyone, right?
"The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No!"
Huh, religion too?
"So, what if I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our football team names?
Is it totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres?
The fact that there are birds on their shirts does not protect either the Arizona or the St. Louis Cardinals!"
(Let's throw Texas Fred a curve ball.) How about...ummm...barbarians?
"Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged as their way of life. We are talking the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!"
Okay. Okay. What about the children?
"Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children — and it is all about the children.
The Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis Rams — promote gay men. That is the wrong message for our children."
Texas Fred, we'd call you a homophobe but that would be politically incorrect!
"The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible spending habits. The wrong message for our children."
Isn't debt the only way to get ahead? Besides, what about the reward points?
"The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity — a growing childhood epidemic, again, the wrong message to our children."
Does this include the Jolly Green Giant?
"The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates. That too is the wrong message to our children."
Drugs are bad, mmmkay...
"The Milwaukee Brewers — well, that goes without saying. The wrong message to our children as well and we must remember, it’s ALL for the children."
Undoubtedly, the U.S. will never try to abolish brewers again...
Read Texas Fred's full post.
You may be wondering why this subject is posted on Man's Marbles. Well, 'Political Correctness' (PC) is defined as conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. Put another way, PC creates new rules for what society cannot say because it is offensive to a certain group. Much can be learned about how these new codes of conduct affect the way in which we interact in public, particularly when it comes to stereotyping groups of individuals, and how those groups should be treated.
On paper, these ideals sound fine and dandy, but the reality may tell us a different story. Not many folks would disagree that the PC movement began with good intentions, but it seems to have grown into a bigger issue than it was meant to address. In her Huffington Post article, 'The Problem With Political Correctness,' BJ Gallagher eloquently points out how the PC Police have "gone way too far in (their) efforts to protect everyone's feelings" and that they are "effectively throwing a wet blanket over public (and private) discussions of vitally important issues." Seeing as many Native Americans sided with the Redskins' efforts to keep the name they've used since 1933, it wouldn't be a stretch to agree that she is on to something.
Additionally, Robikan states on Debate.org that PC "actually breeds more intolerance than it prevents." The labels applied to people by the PC Police should be deemed equally intolerable by political correctness' own definition. Why is it acceptable to call someone names such as "homophobe," "racist," "sexist," "bigot," and the like; are they not also considered politically incorrect? What message does that double-standard send? It's like telling your children that it's wrong to steal, unless they steal from the rich to give to the poor (sorry Robin Hood).
In politically correct robot voice, "We will not tolerate your intolerance of the PC Police you insensitive bastard."
Another pitfall is that no matter what anyone says or does, someone, somewhere will be offended by it for some reason. A utopia will never exist where people are free of being insulted. Anyone who believes otherwise doesn't know the definition of utopia.
And now, a word from our sponsor...
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Or, should it be considered a crime to act defensive after being offended?
Should society avoid touchy subjects to be on the safe side?
If you said 'yes' to any of these questions, you may be an idiot and we can't help you.
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Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you!
Now, back to our program...
During a skit on Saturday Night Live, Chris Rock states, "Washington Redskins, that's not nice! That's a racial slur! That's kind of like having the New York Niggers, okay?" It's refreshing to see that comedians aren't afraid to keep certain topics "off limits," but would you agree with this analogy? The 'n-word' is probably the most offensive word in English. Will the 'r-word' find itself at an equal status?
Racial discrimination has been an issue of controversy for a long time, and, except for those that are racist, it is doubtful that anyone believes it is acceptable. Herein lies the problem, isn't 'Everyone a little bit racist, sometimes?' But, that is not what this article is about. What is being called into question; Is using the term "Redskins" the equivalent of referring to an African-American as "Black," or the "N-word?"
For many of us, it probably never crossed our mind that the name "Redskins" is a racial slur. As it does for the Redskins' owner, Daniel Snyder, — who vehemently defends the teams' name — for many people the symbol stands for bravery, courage and the warrior spirit. In fact, in a 2004 opinion poll, "Most Indians say name of Washington “Redskins” is acceptable while 9% call it offensive." So, who are the people offended by the name?
To answer that, maybe we need a little perspective from the field of Psychology.
From a psychoanalytic standpoint, symbols have complex meanings beyond the literal which incorporates the interpretation of the observer. For example, the Rorschach inkblot test is used to evaluate and examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of patients, by asking them what an image means to them. When the patient describes what the image symbolizes, in reality they are revealing their innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.
Thus, when someone describes what a sports teams' logo (a symbol) means to them in an abstract way, their statements may also subconsciously reveal how they perceive the world or themselves. If someone believes the world is full of racism, then the Washington Redskins' logo may be an example of racism; Or, if the Redskins logo is racist, then the person with this belief may also be.
Another phenomenon may be that of the psychological defense mechanism called projection. If an individual is harboring guilty feelings of being a racist, he may look outwardly to accuse other people, places, or things of being racist to conceal his own racism from the world.
Okay, okay. I'll stop beating around the bush and just say it!
When someone is offended by (blank) or is quick to point out (blank) in others, it may be because they are (blank) themselves.
Considering the psychological aspect, being offended by things is part of an individuals' growing process. Growth is achieved by asking oneself why they feel a certain way, addressing it, and then working towards not being negatively affected by it. One could argue, for the most part, changing external forces simply address the symptoms of a greater problem, not necessarily heal the individual. Similarly, forcing the Redskins to change their name won't end racism; it quietly puts a band-aid on a gaping wound. All things considered, we at least have another opportunity to bring these issues to light.
So, at the end of the day, we should all treat each other with respect, and strive to avoid hurting one another intentionally. When we happen to offend someone, and we will, attempt to gain a greater understanding of where that person is coming from by asking questions. Even if we don't agree with their point of view, maybe we will approach that individual and that specific topic with tact and sensitivity. Until then, say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't say it mean.