The debate about the Washington Redskin’s nickname – the Redskins – took an extremely ugly turn today when the New York Daily News published a cartoon showing a Nazi flag with a swastika, a Confederate flag, the and Redskins’ logo, and then put a caption underneath all three of them that stated “Archaic Symbols of Pride and Heritage.”
Actually, it’s not just an ugly turn. It also reveals the profound stupidity and deep racism behind the move to force the Redskins to change their name. To walk you through the embarrassing subtext behind the movement, begin by thinking of that old Sesame Street song about “one of these things is not like the other one. With that in mind, ask yourself which of the following three flags is different from the other two?
A. The swastika’s message was “Aryans are superior and all other races are slave races or should be exterminated.”
B. The Confederate flag’s message is understood by many, both those who wave it and those who oppose it, to mean that “Whites are superior to blacks, and blacks should be slaves in perpetuity.”
C. The Redskins’ team logo is “Native Americans are awesome warriors and we, an American football team, take inspiration from them.”
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Which could be different?
Well, if you’re a person of ordinary common sense and intelligence, you’ve figured out that the Washington Redskins’ logo is completely different from the swastika or the Confederate flag. Rather than denigrating another race, it pays another race homage. If you want to go all shaman-y on this one, the Indian warrior is kind of like the team’s totem (and totems are important to Native American culture), with the team hoping to take on the warrior’s attributes.
However, if you’re not a person of ordinary common sense and intelligence but are, instead, one of America’s “elite,” educated at Ivy League schools or keeping the seat warm in a telecasting booth at football games, this not-so-subtle distinction totally eludes you. As far as you’re concerned, if anyone other than a Native American references Native Americans, it must be an insult. Because if you’re an “elite,” you’re that dumb (and that racist).
Fortunately, the Redskins’ sponsors don’t seem to be in any hurry to ditch the team name — which is unsurprising given that the Redskins is is the second most profitable in the NFL. Nor do the fans seem to care. This is not a grassroots movement. This is not even an astroturf movement. This is an elite, silk-carpet-carefully-woven-to-look-like-grass movement. It’s a fake every step of the way, and real fans should ignore it completely.
(This post originally appeared in slightly different form at Mr. Conservative.)