There was a time when my alma mater was known as the Indians. It was a mascot based on the history of the college. Eleazar Wheelock founded Dartmouth to educate Native Americans.
Complaints at Dartmouth over the symbol led to its removal. Drunk students dressed in headdresses were considered offensive. The use of the term, "Scalp 'em" in a football song was considered insensitive. And the use of "Wah-Hoo-Wah" in the stands was downright racist. It was claimed that it denigrated Native Americans. Tadition was trumped.
The NCAA banned the use of Native American mascots in post season tournaments in 2005. It decided it did not have the authority to go further.
There has been controversy over the years in professional athletics. The Atlanta Braves came under fire for the "Tomahawk Chop" during their runs to the World Series. There have been complaints swirling around the Cleveland Indians for years. And then there is the case of the Washington Redskins.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has been after the Washington NFL franchise to drop the name for some time now. He gathered 50 Democrat senators, including his Alaska lackey Mark Begich (D-AK), to ask the NFL to change the name. The NFL responded that the team name was designed to put forth a, "strong, positive and respectful message."
Five Native Americans brought a suit to have the trademarks owned by the Washington franchise revoked. Yesterday, the suit was successful and six trademarks were cancelled by the US Trademark and Patent office. Harry Reid was ecstatic about the decision. The Redskins still have trademark protection while the decision is appealed.
This is not the first time a Washington sports franchise has been under pressure to change a name. The NBA's Washington Wizards use to be the Washington Bullets. That name was changed due to the negative connotation for a city with such a high murder rate from guns. It was considered offensive.
Taking offense is in the eye of the beholder. What if Catholics do not like a team playing a violent using Saints as a name? If you really want to get the dander of the left up just call a team the Mullahs. Imagine the outrage if you offended Islam. Death threats would surely follow.
Or maybe Irish Americans do not like the idea of how the Fighting Irish reflects on their heritage. And why is it okay to have goofy looking mascots for generally Caucasian groups like Cowboys or Wranglers. Maybe we need to get after the Patriots since all those evil Tea Party people like that term.
Perhaps People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) need to step in. Why should all of these poor animals be used as mascots? Oh wait, PETA has complained about the use of live mascots. Seems like a trademark suit waiting to happen. No one would have a live mascot if they cannot name their team after an animal.
How dare teams be named after natural phenomenon that cause death. We need to stop the use of terms like Hurricanes, Thunder, Lightning, and Heat as mascots. People have died from weather. The names are offensive.
And what about the children? How can we allow misspelled names like Red Sox to exist. The shame of how we hurt education.
Alaska is guilty as well. The Alaska Aces? We all know the term Ace came from cards. And cards are used for gambling. And gambling can ruin lives. How could we be so insensitive?
The Trademark and Patent office is setting a bad precedent. If a group comes forward and is offended we can rip a trademark from an organization? It could easy spread to all copyright law. Should you be allowed to copyright an offensive song? Or a movie? There had to be a reason Hollywood supports the left. It maintains their right to be offensive.
It is a bit of a slippery slope argument. The problem is reason is not present inside the government. It is hard to not believe that this kind of silliness could spread easily. The left is quickly moving the thought police concept into government.
If I was Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, I would change the name. Unlike a lot of other Native American mascots it is nearly impossible to convince people that a derogatory term could be considered, "strong, positive and respectful." I am not Daniel Snyder though and this is a country where you should be allowed to run your business as you see fit.
Convincing people they need to be offended and playing a race or other card in the process is the way Democrats play politics. At least to a point.
Certain people are not allowed to be offended in this new world. White males can be the butt of any joke you want to make. Ditto religious people. And if you like guns you are just begging to be harassed.
What's more if you act in a way inconsistent with the agenda you get a pass if you support the agenda. It is how Bill Clinton got away with abusing women in his personal life over the years. It is why Harry Reid survived comments he made about Barack Obama.
Political correctness has generally been limited to private organizations like the NCAA over the years. The government has steered clear of issues unless there is clear intent when looking at racism or other discrimination for the most part. This trademark decision changes all of that.
The Democrats have decided that they not only get to decide what they think but what everybody else is thinking as well. And if their imagination does not like what you are doing you better watch out.
50 U.S. senators urge NFL to push for Redskins name change
Brian F. Sweeney, Jr.
Anchorage Daily News Bloggers