News / USA

Native American Campaign Keeps Redskins Name Controversy Alive

Native American Campaign Keeps Redskins Name Controversy Alivei
X
November 14, 2013 7:35 PM
For decades, members of American Indian communities have called on the Washington Redskins football team to change its name. But as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, this year a campaign called Change the Mascot that has been organizing protests across the country is keeping the controversy alive.
Brian Padden
For decades, members of American Indian communities have called on the Washington Redskins football team to change its name, which they say is based on a racial slur.  But, this year a campaign called Change the Mascot that has been organizing protests across the country is keeping the controversy alive
   
Native American groups are escalating pressure on the Washington, D.C. professional football team to change its nickname - the Redskins - which is considered by many an offensive term used to insult American Indians.

“It is unacceptable that in this time in the 21st century a team would continue to use a racist slur over the objection by people, those people offended by it and victimized by it, especially when that team represents our nation’s capital,” said Ray Halbritter, a representative of the Oneida Nation of New York and one of the leaders of a campaign called Change the Mascot.  

The owner of the team, Dan Snyder, has repeatedly said he will not change the name, and that it is meant to honor, not disparage Native Americans.  Many diehard Washington football fans resent that support for the team is now being equated with racism.

“I feel that many Redskins fans, including myself, we feel like we are indirectly being called racist and bigoted and insensitive by supporting the team and supporting the nickname, and I don’t think that’s fair,” said Mike Richman, a reporter for the Voice of America, who has written two books on the history of the team.  

But opponents of the name are working to keep the issue alive by organizing protests in cities like Denver, Colorado when the Washington team comes to town. They have persuaded a number of sports journalists and news organizations like the San Francisco Chronicle to stop using the nickname.
 
“It is a racial slur and if we don't have to use it, we're not going to use it," said Audrey Cooper, the newspaper’s managing editor.

President Obama also has sided with Native Americans groups on this issue, saying if he owned the team he would consider changing the name.

"I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things," he said.

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has said that if one person is offended, the league has to listen, but that ultimately it is the team owner’s decision.  While Snyder says he will never change the name, Native American opponents say time and building political pressure is on their side.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs