Monday, August 08, 2005

NCAA ban on use of Native American names: Good or Stupid?

Jeff Goldstein leans towards it being stupid.

The time to fight these irrational feints to “tolerance”—which have progressed to the point where we are now routinely airbrushing from our own history anything even remotely controversial, all for the benefit of minority self-identifiers vying for poltical control over a given identity group (a lucrative and quite powerful position to hold, as I’m sure Jesse Jackson can attest)—is now.

The slippery slope of politically correct linguistic accomodation has put us in the pathetic—and intellectually ridiculous—position of being afraid even now to identify our enemy in the “War on Terror”—which (as everyone knows but few will say publicly), is Islamic radicalism—particularly, the Wahhabist strain of Islam.

Words matter. And ceding control over language to special interest groups is a recipe for social disaster—particularly in a society supposedly designed around the rights of the individual. Edward Said and his academic ilk perfected this linguistic hijacking procedure, wherein political groups—under the guise of ethnic authenticity—laid claim to important terms of debate, then wielded control of those terms as a way to delegitimize critics. And the very same thing is happening here—a testament to how deeply rooted Said’s principles have become in the academy and on the policy level, and a running indictment on intellectual bankruptcy of our modern intelligensia.

And refers to the March 4, 2002 poll by Sports Illustrated

Here’s the most important finding: “Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81 percent of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83 percent of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters, and symbols.”

The poll also found that 75 percent of Native Americans don’t think the use of these team names and mascots “contributes to discrimination.” Opinion is divided about the tomahawk chop displayed at Atlanta Braves games: 48 percent “don’t care” about it; 51 percent do care, but more than half of them “like it.” The name “Redskins” isn’t especially controversial either; 69 percent of Native Americans don’t object to it. As a general rule, Indians on reservations were more sensitive about team names and mascots, but not to the point where a majority of them ever sided with the activists on these questions.

Kate 'disagrees'

As a Canadian, I know the pain it causes me to see the word "Canuck" mocking me from the jersies of Swedish-born hockey players.

My good friend Goldstein suffers from the insensitivity of one who has yet to walk a mile in our Sorels - it's not as though he is forced to endure indignities like "the New York Rangers pumelled the Charleston Chasidics in a game that was decidedly one sided", 8 foot plush foam Stars of David cavorting with cheerleaders on the basketball courts, or insensitive gentiles in the stands waving the "mighty Menorah" at opposing teams.

Consulting my sports library, I reread my copy of the leaflet, "A Century of Jewish Sports Legends" - yet could find no rabbinical equivalent of the "San Diego Padres". Could it be that Jews themselves recognize that the misappropriation of ones culture and faith by creators of sports logos is demeaning?

Say it isn't so, my intolerant friend. Say it isn't so.

She's wrong. I couldn't care less if the word Canuck is on the back of a Swedish hockey player or not, it has no real connection to me as a Canadian, doesn't demean me in any way, it's simply a nickname used by a sports team. I'd find it to be highly over-sensitive to find it to be 'painful', and in general, the same thing goes for most Native American names used by sports teams. They aren't really connected to Native Americans, and aren't demeaning, if anything they celebrate them.

To hell with edits