6 Comments

NOTABLE AND QUOTABLE


I guess this is where I’m supposed to fall in line and do what every other sports writer is doing. I’m supposed to swear I won’t ever write the words “Washington Redskins” anymore because it’s racist and offensive and a slap in the face to all Native Americans who ever lived. Maybe it is.

I just don’t quite know how to tell my father-in-law, a Blackfeet Indian. He owns a steak restaurant on the reservation near Browning, Montana. He has a hard time seeing the slap-in-the-face part.

“The whole issue is so silly to me,” says Bob Burns, my wife’s father and a bundle holder in the Blackfeet tribe. “The name just doesn’t bother me much. It’s an issue that shouldn’t be an issue, not with all the problems we’ve got in this country.”

And I definitely don’t know how I’ll tell the athletes at Wellpinit (Wash.) High School–the student body is 91.2 percent Native American–that the “Redskins” name they wear proudly across their chests is insulting them. Because they have no idea.

“I’ve talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it,” says Tim Ames, the superintendent of Willpinit schools. “Redskins is an honorable name we wear with pride….In fact, I’d like to see somebody come up here and try to change it.”

Boy, you try to help some people….

From Rick Reilly’s commentary for ESPN, Sept. 18
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As an aside to this quote, our good friend Emmett Oliver, a member of the Quinault tribe, was an outstanding footbal player throughout his high school and college days at Redlands University. Some years ago, when some people began to feel antsy about calling Native Americans “Indians” or referring to them as “Redskins”, I asked Emmett his feelings on the subject. He said he had always fell special when during his football days, people would refer to him as an “Indian”, because after all, he WAS an Indian.

Here at Stanford, the team was known for many years as the “Stanford Indians”, and the cheerleaders, the band, bumperstickers, and other items people used to show their team support, built upon the Indian motif.

Someone in their infinite wisdom, changed the name to the “Stanford Cardinal”. Not “Cardinals” the bird, but the color crimson red. The mascot is a tree. The tree parades around the field to rally the spirits of the crowd.

I’m sorry, but I think the whole thing is insulting to the California Redwood tree.

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6 comments on “NOTABLE AND QUOTABLE

  1. Honestly. We’ve “lost” so many perfectly good words to the “politically correct” crowd. Gay. Niggardly. Brown bag (as in, the paper sack you use to take your lunch to the office). And the nicknames are right behind. Personally, I’m waiting for the day some group decides that Port Lavaca’s Fighting Sand Crabs have to change their name because of a lack of delicacy regarding a certain affliction.

    Apparently some people have forgotten the little ditty from our childhood: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Certainly words can hurt, but hurtful words are chosen for their effect, not just used in daily conversation.

    All of this linguistic tinkering can have a slightly dark side, too. Remember that wonderful exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty?

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be the master - that’s all.”

    Personally, I tend to keep an eye on people who are intent on changing rather than celebrating our language. That urge to lord it over others can be pretty strong. 😉

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    • I love the Humpty Dumpty illustration.  I knew I had another word stored in the recesses of my memory from Latin, that said something similar.  “Polysemous”, or having multiple meanings.  I don’t think the Greeks knew about Humpty Dumpty yet!   Yes, I’m getting  fed up with somebody taking offense at whatever they choose.  To simply call people “racist” for whatever reason seems to get everybody steamed up to protest.    And I’m also tired of parents letting their kids use any language they feel like instead of insisting on good old English.  Of course, having said that, I’m often upset that people coming from other countries sometimes never get around to learning the language.  It doesn’t work the same way for those of us who live in their country.   Sorry for the rant this morning!  I’m personally fired up about a new printer I just bought and can’t figure out how to use.  I just sent Dr. Advice down to the print shop to make copies of a few things instead of doing it here.  I had to have a system restore done on my computer, and then the old printer/scanner was no longer compatible.  This one is supposed to do everything but talk, and it probably does, but I’m so stupid I haven’t been able to figure out its mystery.  I am nearly committed to returning it.  I’ll let you know.  Meanwhile I think I’ll do the dishes and then get a cuppa.

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  2. ohhhhhhhhh, you are SOOOO RIGHT..this is so reFRESHIng to hear..
    love you, know all is well with you
    Joyce

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    • How nice to hear from you! I think of you and of Lynn often. I hope you are all well. We’re doing fine and keeping busy. One grandson recently moved to S.F. We don’t see him any oftener, but it’s great to know he is closer than Chicago! Keep well good friend . Love you, Kayti

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  3. Seems to me it’s time to make some decisions about the phrase “Ethnic Group”/ American. e.g. African American, Mexican American, Danish American, etc. and make up our minds who we really are. I’m an American of Danish descent not a Dane and proud of it. So what are you people, Africans or Americans, Mexicans or Americans, Natives or Americans? After all we’re all in this together no matter what color we are, who are parents or ancestors were. We all bleed, get sick, get well and die. Some of us are crazy. Call me anything you want but I am an American. Just don’t call me late for dinner.

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    • Barry, you echoed my feeling exactly. It is especially annoying when one partner in a marriage, seems to adopt the heritage of his/her spouse, ie “We’re Danish”! The customs of other nationalities are interesting of course, but they don’t belong to everybody. And yes, we are American and damn well proud of it! When I was a kid, I spent St. Patrick’s Day dressed in green and singing Irish songs. My Grandmother flipped out every year screaming at me “You aren’t Irish”!Her divorced husband, my grandfather WAS more than a little Irish, and that could have had something to do with her ire. My heritage is mostly English, but didn’t we fight a big war to prove that we are American?

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