Snyder and the Redskins: An American dilemma in the 21st century


The Washington football club has been named the “Redskins” since 1933.  That is 81 years of Redskins football.  Recently, the Redskins have been facing an out lash over the name and mascot.  People have been debating whether the name is racist or if the team name should be changed.

So should the name be changed?  Yes, yes it should.  The term “Redskin” is a racial epithet.  No matter how long the name has been in use or how commonplace the word has become, it is racist.

The Redskin mascot is a stereotype and should be frowned upon.  Stereotypes are a hindrance to a society of peoples and we are taught from a young age to avoid stereotypes and treat people as equals.  However, every Sunday, these rules and teachings are thrown away so we can watch a football game without thinking about the impact of a people we do not focus on.

Members of the Oneida Indian Tribe have been vocal over the name.  They have even rallied the support of Congresspeople and even President Obama.  Indian people are offended by the word.  Yes, there are schools on Indian reservations with the “Redskin” mascot and not every Native American is offended by the “Redskins” name.  But is every African American offended by the “n-word”?  No, but most are offended and we need to treat every race with the same with the same respect towards abuse of their past.  The U.S. Patent Office even took away trademarks on the “Redskins” name because it was deemed to be racist.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been defensive of the team’s name and his refusal to change it.  Snyder claims the name was created to honor American-Indian coach William Henry Dietz.  What Snyder does not reveal is that Dietz was most likely not an Indian and lied to avoid the draft in World War I.  All evidence also points to Dietz being white with German parents.  Interviews with executives in the 1930’s even stated the name change to “Redskins” was solely to save money.

Snyder also believes the name should stay because many Indians he gives charity to are in support.  Reservations are some of the poorest places in America.  When Snyder rolls in to “give aid”, of course these people will not speak out against him.  Would you speak against him if you were in need and he came to you?  I wouldn’t.  Yes it is good to give aid, but Snyder is paying these poor Indians off so he can keep the “Redskins” name.

Should the name be changed?  Yes.  Should he be forced to change the name?  No.  Daniel Snyder, not only as a business owner, but as a human being with a conscience towards the people he so-called “honors” should change the name on his own.  There is no honor in racism, and until Snyder realizes what the team name does to the Indian community, the Washington Redskins will live on.  For better or for worse.