In a previous posting, I was scratching my head over the fact that the US Trade Commission had (retroactively) denied trademark protection to a sports team because "Redskins" was judged to be pejorative. The comments got so far off track that I closed them down - a first for me. So...let's talk about how insulting it is for Native Americans to have sports teams named after them, such as Chiefs, Redskins, Braves. Should those teams be required to change their names?
My personal opinion: I don't give a rat's ass. I'm not a sports fan and I don't care much what they call the teams. To me, we have a tempest in a teapot. In addition, I am prone to judging speech/labeling by intent and I fail to be a very sensitive person.
All of my life, strangers have been calling me "Red". While I didn't/don't like it, never once have I felt insulted. Intent is very important when it comes to that sort of thing. If someone called me a "dirty, rotten Redhead", I might feel differently. Well..even worse than being called "Red" is that Hunky Husband has called me by a shortened version of my real name (he uses the first syllable, for those blog friends who know my real name) for about 58 years, now - a name that I really, truly dislike. HH's whole family, and anyone to whom I have been introduced by HH, have always used the shorter version of my name. BUT...I know that he means/they mean no harm and that it is just easier for him/them to use one syllable instead of three, so I don't make an issue of it. And...one VP insisted upon calling me "Doll"! (I usually tell people once what I prefer and ignore whatever I'm called, thereafter.)
Moving along: one of my blog friends (in the previously mentioned comments) thought that I was excusing a practice without having a basis for judgment. Were I to have an opinion on the appropriateness of the name "Redskins", I would agree that I have little basis on which to form an opinion. Among my friends/acquaintances, there are a number of Native Americans - to varying degrees of inheritance. Since closing the comments to the previous posting I've had the opportunity to quiz two self-identified Native Americans on the whole thing. I asked if they thought the teams should be required to change their names.
Woman - Did not care one whit. She saw nothing insulting in the name "Redskins" and thought that people were getting upset over nothing. She volunteered that her husband (also Native American) didn't care a whole lot, but that he would be just as happy to have the name changed. BTW: She's a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
Man - Thought the whole thing silly. He's a sports fan. He didn't give a [obscenity omitted]. He felt that people were going out of their way to find insult where none was intended. (His wife is not a Native American so I won't include her thoughts.)
That's not a large sampling size, but it's a start.
Historical tales to give you a laugh: 1) In grade school, I was terribly jealous of Ruth Sunday (and several other classmates) because she was 100% Native American. I believe that one of my 3X great-grandmothers was Cherokee [not enough for me to have bragging rights!] 2) Our teams in high school were the Knights - never once did anyone think we were insulting knights. 3) Back in the late 1970s, Bogie and I were driving in Oklahoma. Stopping to get directions, the two of us were salivating over the gorgeous cop from whom we asked directions. He was obviously pretty much 100% Native American and, to this day, Bogie and I agree that he was the best-looking guy we'd ever seen! *pant, pant*