Comments about ‘Amy Donaldson: Sister's subtle racism experience provides convincing case for eschewing ethnic sports mascots’

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Published: Sunday, June 29 2014 6:15 p.m. MDT

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Michael L Mulcady
Prattville, AL

Is it possible that we can choose not to be offended,and not look for reasons to be offended, and certainly not write about it? Enough, please.

Go Big Blue!!!
Bountiful, UT

I respectfully disagree. Polls show that a vast majority of Native Americans have no problem with the Washington Redskins. I strongly disagree with those in the government using a heavy hand to terminate the redskin trademark. It seems that many who preach tolerance are very intolerant to those who believe differently than they do.


I am part Chippewa and like the overwhelming majority of those of Native American decent, I find no offense in the use of the word Redskins. In fact, like most, I take pride in it. As I read your story, I can only recommend that there may be a better approach than the one you chose. With the grocery clerk's inquiry, why would you hate such a question instead of choosing to use it as an opportunity to express your complete love and support for your sister who is different? What a great opportunity missed to demonstrate that love is not based on these differences. I find it puzzling that you would find it difficult to express that and instead impugn your father's reputation. Nevertheless, what is it about the name of Redskins that you find so "hurtful or insulting?" I certainly never had any reason to question or hate myself and my heritage because of the use of this term and I find it even bizarre that you do. I find this whole situation with the Redskins name as little more than the Grievance Industry's necessity to validate their existence with yet another non-existent wrong.

Provo, UT

Just because SOME Native Americans have no problem with the use of "Redskins" does NOT make it o.k. to use. Words like "vast majority" attempt to exaggerate the number of agreeing Native Americans as if ALL of them were polled. Yeah, right!

The fact of the matter is that those who haven't experienced racism, and then on a very large scale - do not know how powerful of an affect derogatory words can demean a group of people. The word "Redskins" has now become one of them. The "N" word was used without care until we became a more conscientious society. This matter is the same. We know better therefore we need to behave accordingly.

Taylorsville, UT

If we ought to defer to those to whom it refers, then we have to take a poll of every living Native American and determine how many of them are truly offended by it. If that's the criteria under which action must be decided, then you can't take action until you have the data. If the argument is going to be made that even one person offended is cause to change the name, then I'm going to start demanding that everything that I find offensive to me which I am the only person who feels that way be changed.

Pleasant Grove, UT

An integral part of being an adult is refusing to take offense when none is intended. Quite frankly, it's one of the main factors that separates a temperate grown-up from the children.

As a red-haired male, I have been the subject of plenty of mean-spirited, "racial" teasing. I've been the butt of many jokes, stereotyped as hot-tempered; I've been mocked for nothing other than my hair and freckled skin - physical, racial characteristics that are beyond my control. Historically, signs such as "No Irish Need Apply" in the US and "No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish" at English boarding houses underscore the discrimination that my ancestors suffered.

I could choose to be offended by the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" (a mascot that caricatures the racial characteristics of the Irish and their tendency toward drunken hotheadedness). But I'm not. It's not offensive, nor was it intended to be so. It's quite literally a badge of honor to have an organization choose to use me, and others like me, to identify themselves.

North Ogden, UT

My ancestors came from Scandinavia does that mean I should be offended by those teams that use Viking mascots? Utah and several other states are Indian derived names does that mean we should change the name of all these states? States or mascots with Indian names is not an insult, on the contrary, it is an honor! When we name our child we are deliberate, thoughtful and considerate; that child is part of us. Likewise, to name a place or choose a mascot to identify and represent our team or institution shows extreme respect and places it in high honor; it too becomes part of us. Mascots are team symbols of strength, toughness, and other winning traits.

Some criticize our government for trying to eradicate their culture; is it not ironic that they now want to obviate them even further into obscurity by removing them from the public eye? If anything tribes should be promoting themselves as mascots.

It seems to me the only ones taking advantage of anyone here, are lawyers who twist things around and stir people up just to make a quite buck. I hope tribes are not duped by this and sell themselves short.


@ Wazzup??
I didn't do the polling and this is not a new issue. I'll leave the Google search to you but it is not hard to find that of the numerous pols that have been done over the years, 90% of Native American's do not find the term offensive and many Native American High Schools use the term Redskins as their mascot. (find the recent CBS report on the issue and Google the Red Mesa Redskins for example.) Comparing the term Redskins to the N word is laughable and dismissive of the harm and history that the N word is. You stated that the term Redskins has "now" become one of them. What do you mean by "now?" It is only now because a group of grievance hucksters want to make it so to further entrench the culture of grievance. There has always been something racist to the N word. Redskins is not a racist term. It is not used as a racist term. It is not derogatory or insulting to me and yes, the vast majority of Native Americans in any way.

Spanish Fork, UT

I agree with the majority of the previous posts. The use of the name is not a put-down of Native Americans. I lived in Washington DC, and the fans of their football team are extremely proud of their mascot.

I am a fan of Amy's. I love her columns--they are usually the first I read. But she is off the mark here. But I still love her.

Bountiful, UT

I read the article carefully and can't find the offensive negative stereotype Ms Donaldson is complaining about. My nephew, a Navajo, was adopted by my brother, who didn't have an affair with a Navajo woman. I'm offended by Ms Donaldson getting so bent out of shape as to explain her sister's complexion by disparaging falsehoods about her father.

Brigham Young said that if you take offense where none is intended, you're a fool. He went on to say that if you take offense when offense is intended, you're probably still a fool. When I introduce my beloved Navajo nephew, we are not offended by curiosity over the difference in our complexion. We explain it proudly!

Bluffdale, UT

That ridiculous looking Irish mascot that Notre Dame uses sure does impugn us Irish. The Irish were the much hated immigrants in the 1800's and of course the British hated the Irish when so many of them fought against Britain in the American Revolution so our ancestors know of this hatred. I guess if we make everything politically correct then someday we won't be able to annoy anyone and therefor end up being a docile people.

Sioux City, IA

If people are going to be offended by sports mascots and nicknames insisting that they be changed we should eliminate all of those that could be offensive now.
Browns could be offensive to people with darker skin. Yankees is a slur against Northerners and Rebels is a slur against Southerners. Fighting Irish, Vikings, Pirates, Buccaneers, Saints, Blue Devils, etc. There is a long list of names and mascots that could be offensive to someone so they all must be put under the microscope and examined very thoroughly to determine which ones need to be changed immediately.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I've noticed that the majority of letters here are from people who presume to decide what should or should not be offensive to other people. I'm sorry, but we don't get to decide what offends other people. We can only take note of their feelings and act accordingly.

From a business standpoint, why would anyone choose a team mascot that is going to offend part of the potential fan base? If I had a sports team, I would want as many people as possible cheering my team on, buying tickets, attending the games and purchasing team-related items. While in this case, there may be people buying Redskins stuff out of spite, it's gotta be hurting the bottom line in the long run.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Nothing better than a bunch of white people talking about how Native Americans should feel about this, that, or the other. White guilt is alive and well.

If we learned anything from the Utah Man fiasco, it's that the majority telling the minority what is and isn't acceptable is more offensive than the mascot (or language) in question.

Santa Monica, CA

Two points. 1. Why, when anyone and I mean anyone, looks to justify this disgusting term--do they always say "many native Americans have no problem---blah blah blah." Why is it that you don't use the term "Redskin" there? Native Americans love the term, right? Go ahead and sub it in for Native American. Nobody hurt, right? Let's not be so easily offended.

2. Would you honestly walk up to a Native American child and tell them they are the cutest little redskin you've ever met? If not, why? What would be wrong with that? If you would do it, would you do it while their large and tough looking father was standing next to them. If not, why? The polling says they love the term so why your hesitation?

I submit in both cases, that the reasons are exactly the same as the reasons you don't use the N word in similar situations. Let's start talking to each other like adults. The sooner the better. This argument is going one way and fast.

Jeff in NC

I think it's a no-brainer. The name is overtly racist. Non-natives did enough damage by violently stealing land from the native americans and nearly whiping them out entirely. What historical context is there for sport teams to use native americans as mascots other than some twisted sense of entertainment? I am no friend to anyone who insists on continuing the humiliation just because they think the name sounds cool and/or because the team makes money off of it. And I don't care how many part-native-americans tell me they are not offended. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so carelessly disinterested in the integrity of your ancestry.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

The Utes seem to be ok with it and don't see it as racism - and mind you that many American Indians SELF identify as redskins.

So it usually comes down to $ as to whether a group is "offended" or not

I'm sure if the Washington Redskins brought out the checkbook the American indian redskins would find a way to not be offended, as the Utes have done

Mapleton, UT

"The Redskins suck" may be a common refrain from the opposing team...is this okay? I suggest it is not. I agree with xert on this one. It appears to me that many comments above are truly ethnocentric and one sided, despite the effort to tell someone not to take offense at innocent and even attempts at positive connotations.

Washington, DC

Re: xert "2. Would you honestly walk up to a Native American child and tell them they are the cutest little redskin you've ever met? If not, why?"

It depends. Is s/he wearing a Redskins jersey? Context matters, and as much as we would like things to be simple, sometimes they are not. I could call someone a "Cougar" and the person might be honored (BYU grad), offended (woman dating or married to a younger man) or REALLY offended (U of U grad). Even in a football context, it's not so simple. Native Americans might feel differently about the Redskins name and logo than they would about the dopey, drunk-looking Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians. Even use of the "N" word (sadly in my view) is contextual (black rapper vs. white guy).

I understand Amy's concern in the situation she described, but I don't think it easily equates to the issue of the Redskins' name. The polling data suggests it does not. We ought to be sensitive to possible insensitivity, but we should be wary too of being too presumptious in telling Native Americans how they ought to feel.

Ogden, UT

I'm surprised the author has never been on the end of racist comments and/or jokes. I'm white and I've certainly been on the end of racist comments. I am very white, in that I have freckles and I burn more easily than just about anyone you'll ever meet. I get made fun of all the time about how "white" I am and how I should keep my shirt on as to not blind people. I have been called a Cracker several times and have also been called "whitey".

As I child I hated my freckles, white skin, and red hair because it always brought unwanted jokes and attention. I literally wished my skin was darker or that I could tan. I've since grown up and have come to accept it and I don't mind it anymore. I still get comments and jokes but I just choose not to be offended. If there were a team called the Whities or Red-headed Freckle Faces I think I'd actually cheer for the team.

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