Target: Editors of the Washington City Paper, Buffalo News, Philadelphia Daily News, Slate, The New Republic, Mother Jones, and other papers
Goal: Thank these individuals for refusing the publish the offensive name of Washington’s NFL team
Many Americans support or at least know of the District of Columbia’s famous football team, the Washington Redskins, and are aware of the recent campaigns reviving a call by American Indians and other activists for the team’s owner to change its name. Slate editor David Plotz wrote that although when the team’s first owner, noted racist George Preston Marshall, “chose the name in the 1930s, he was almost certainly trying to invoke Indian bravery and toughness, not to impugn Indians,” the name is nonetheless at this point in history widely considered a racial slur, and no modern team would choose a similar name.
Despite these facts, the current owner of the team, Dan Snyder, has vowed that he will “never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.” He and his supporters gesture toward “tradition” without any respect or concern for the traditions of American Indians, or for the traditions of oppression which they continue to endure at the hands of white colonialist stereotypes like the team’s name. For this reason, the response of journalists and editors—to withdraw their complicity in this oppression by refusing to publish the name if not included in a direct quote—is entirely appropriate and should be applauded.
By signing this petition, you will show these writers and editors that you value their dedication to ending the use of this and other stereotypical names and slurs for sports teams and advertising. You will demonstrate to the team’s owners and players that to continue to use these socially destructive, defamatory, and insulting names is to be complicit in the oppression of entire groups of people. In this day and age, we are beyond excusing these kinds of oppressions as benign or part of tradition.
Dear fellow concerned Americans,
I was very happy to read that you will no longer be publishing the name of the Washington NFL team in your articles and or publications. The discontinuation of racial slurs and stereotypical names such as these is long overdue, considering the immense oppression which American Indians and other minorities have already suffered at the hands of white colonizers.
I applaud you for refusing to be complicit any longer in the use and reproduction of oppressive names, and for acknowledging the damage caused by them. I sincerely hope that other publications and writers will follow your example, until such names and stereotypes are recognized as offensive and destructive, so that they might be extinguished from our national vocabulary and especially from that of the glorified sports entertainment industry. Thank you for your commitment to combating the oppression of indigenous peoples in the media.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr