With the NBA cracking down on internal racism with the lifetime ban on Donald Sterling, the issue of the Washington Redskins' name has come up once again - this time with even more support from the US gov't. And I think it's time we stopped holding yet another double-standard and do the morally correct thing.
I'm not a Native American, nor do I personally know anyone who is a Native American - partially because they've been eradicated and/or expelled from just about every home in North America that they've ever had. In my opinion, this in no small part prevents the majority of Americans from empathizing with the pain that the name invokes - the voice of the Native Americans just isn't big enough for people to understand the offensiveness.
The term "Redskin" is, as many have noted, a dictionary defined racial slur for Native Americans. George Preston Mashall, the founder and original owner of the Redskins who came up with the name was an avowed racist who hated Native Americans and just about any non-white (and refused to sign any African-Americans to his team until he was forced to by President Kennedy in 1962), so I think we can safely assume he didn't care whether or not the name was offensive to Native Americans.
Unlike the many people who were offended with Sterling's remarks about African-Americans, and Magic Johnson in particular, I get the feeling that people in America are desensitized to Native American pain because they don't know many to be offended for. Unless you travel to the Midwest, Southwest, Canada, Alaska or Northwest you may go your entire life having met fewer than a handful of Native Americans.
But it's time for a change. The name needs to be changed now, while we still have that impetus to clean up the last vestiges of internal bigotry in sports. As someone who knows the power of words and how it can influence people to turn against others at the drop of a hat, we owe it to those who have suffered so much with terms like "Redskin" and a variety of other slanderous terms to erase it from our everyday language and acknowledge that we respect them as much as any other group.
Vote below if you think the name needs to be changed. And if you agree/disagree please explain how you feel on the matter.