We Are All Dan Snyder Now

Washington-Redskins

…and isn’t that a revolting development?

Few things infuriate me more than when unethical conduct by an individual or organization force me to side with the supporters of a position or a cause that I oppose myself. Last year, to cite the most egregious example, I found myself in the same camp with the National Rifle Association, Ted Nugent and worse when anti-gun zealots, uncritically backed by the news media, used dishonest, misleading, irrational and emotional appeals to try to pass more stringent gun ownership regulations on the wave of national horror over the Sandy Hook shooting. Indeed, the more fake statistics and shameless slippery slope arguments (“If we can save the life of only one child…”) that were aimed at guns and  law-abiding gun owners, the more I saw the wisdom of Second Amendment absolutism.

Thanks to the exorbitant and irresponsible rhetoric by the likes of Diane Feinstein, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, Piers Morgan, Jim Carrey and others—Don’t tell ME what I “need” to protect my family and home; there’s a possible serial killer on the loose in my Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood at this very moment who has been randomly knocking on doors and shooting people—I no longer trust the government to make rational decisions that affect my options as a potential gun owner. Good work, guys. Before you started using kids as props, lying about the number of shootings, and sounding for all the world like a nation trying to make sure only the government could own legal weapons, I was a supporter of more stringent firearms regulations. You lost me. I am officially convinced that we may need  guns to protect ourselves against power-abusing people like you.

Now members of  Congress are trying to strong-arm Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder into changing the name of his football team, using the power of the government to pressure him, through the National Football League, into bending to their will on a matter that is absolutely none of their business. Great. Now I have to stand shoulder to shoulder with Snyder, whom we in the Washington area know as a spoiled rich kid, a bully, an egomaniac and a meddling fool who has progressively reduced the region’s beloved football team to tragic joke.

And you should stand with him too, if you think our Bill of Rights is worth preserving.

In a copy of a letter released over the weekend, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell (D) and Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and, more to the point, a member of the Native American Caucus, obliquely threatened the National Football League with loss of their educational foundation’s tax exempt status unless it forces Snyder into calling his team, that he owns, and he paid and pays for, something Cantwell and Cole find acceptable. “We believe that the fact that this term does not honor — but rather disparages — Indian people and tribes is what will and should guide federal policymakers,” they wrote, which also accuses the NFL of being “on the wrong side of history” to “perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

Government  may not do this sort of thing, and representatives of the government who try to use the threat of government interference to dictate what is appropriate speech, thought, or product names should be condemned, rejected, and shunned by everyone regardless of political affiliation. While the letter was crafted with an eye to plausible deniability when the First Amendment is raised, as it is certain to be—“Oh no! We would never try to force anyone to do that! We were just expressing our opinions, as representatives of our constituencies!”—Cantwell, who, like Cole, has a large Native American contingent in her state, was less careful in her statements to the news media.

The Chairwoman of the Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee said in an interview  that lawmakers would “definitely” examine the N.F.L.’s tax-exempt status and other ways to pressure the league. “You’re getting a tax break for educational purposes, but you’re still embracing a name that people see as a slur and encouraging it.”  Oh, well, if “people” “see” someone’s exercise of their rights as an American as a “slur,” then by all means let’s have Congress force them to be politically correct. This is arrogant. This is presumptuous. This is an abuse of power and an assault on free speech. Anyone, including any Native American, who does not reject the attempt by Sen. Cantwell, Cole and others, in their grandstanding move to appeal to the nation’s thought-police, is foolishly setting up the mechanism for the next target to be…them. And me. All of us.

Cantwell also took issue with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement, prior to the Super Bowl, that Snyder’s team has presented his team’s name in a way that has honored Native Americans. Cantwell is being willfully dense, is dense, or is simply mouthing a moldy and illogical argument that has been a favorite among Redskins-bashers for as long as I have followed the controversy. Of course the name honors Native Americans. Communities, colleges and sports franchises don’t name teams that people love and cheer for and care about and wear their logos on their windbreakers, caps and jackets after people, institutions, concepts, historical events and figures that they are trying to insult. The Boston Celtics honors the Irish. The Minnesota Vikings honors the warrior ancestors of the many Scandinavian residents of that state. All the Native American team names are intended to evoke the traditions, courage and nobility of our continent’s native people. Yes, of all of these, the Redskins name does the worst job of it, and some Native Americans object, as is their right. They have a right to keep objecting, and Dan Snyder, who, if he had any sense, really should have changed the name when he took over the team, has an absolute right to tell them to go do a rain dance someplace else.

Characteristically, Snyder apparently hired an unqualified goof as his spokesperson on the matter.“With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don’t they have more important issues to worry about than a football team’s name?” the spokesman, Tony Wyllie, wrote in an email. “And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘red people’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.” The last part is a nice factoid, but the first section is pure rationalization, and the worst one on the list, #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse, “There are worst things.” Actually, it is a special variation on #22 that I need to add, “The Speeder’s Exemption”: “Officer, don’t you have thieves to catch and murders  to solve? Shouldn’t you be doing your job rather than flagging me down for going a lousy 8 miles over the limit?

I find this a bit frightening. Are we all so inured to government intrusions on our core rights that a blatant attempt at using the threat of government action to control speech doesn’t instantly set off an ethics alarm? Why wasn’t Wylie’s immediate response, “Mr. Snyder has the right to call his football team whatever he chooses, and Congress has no right to impose the views of others regarding what is an appropriate name on him through threats of government action”?

I don’t like Dan Snyder, I don’t like the Redskins name, I don’t root for the team, I think the NFL is an unethical sports league and that pro football is an unethical sport. As of now, however, I am pledged to stand with all of them as they fight–and they have an obligation to fight— to avoid joining the rapidly growing number of victims of government abuse of power, attacks on individual freedom, and political correctness.

CORRECTION NOTE: In the first version of the post, Cantwell was mistakenly referred to as a representative. She is, of course, a U.S. Senator. Thanks to my friend Dave Elias for the correction. Then again, he said that he first thought the post was about TOM Snyder…

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Sources: Politico, New York Times

74 thoughts on “We Are All Dan Snyder Now

  1. Hooray for you. I too am uncomfortable standing alongside Dan Snyder.

    The Redskins should have changed their name to the Potomacs (or Patawomecks) long ago. I think the fan base is slipping away from “Redskins.” Dan will follow in time.

  2. xactly right—that’s how it will happen, and that’s how it should happen. When the Redskins were winning and super-popular, the “the team is an insult” argument fell flat. When the team is widely seen as losers, chnaging the name is smart way to turn the page—just good business. If Snyder changes the name because he thinks it is now in bad taste, great. If he changes it as a business decision, great. But I think he’s obligated NOT to cahnge it as long as it might appear that he’s letting the U.S. government tell him what to call his own team. If he’s smart, and he isn’t, he’ll actually say this.

  3. Issues of trademark are within the purview of elected members of Congress. I’m not sure that the Redskin name should be trademarked, as it has been turned down for other companies before as being “disparaging.”

    Though as a side note, why in the world does the NFL have tax-exempt status in the first place? What exactly are they teaching that is worth the hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue that we have been missing out on over the decades? Are all professional sports tax-exempt? If not, why the NFL?

    • Ah, I’ve read more about it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-frederick/nfl-tax-exempt_b_1321635.html

      It’s obviously notable that only professional football leagues are included here, as opposed to all sporting leagues. The exemption for football stems from lobbying efforts by Pete Rozelle in the 1960s to earn an antitrust exemption for the merger of the NFL and AFL. The antitrust and tax exemptions were cleverly attached to an uncontroversial 1966 bill to “suspend the investment credit and the allowance of accelerated depreciation in the case of certain real property.” The NFL-AFL merger language was included at the end of the bill that had nothing else to do with football.

      • Why, that almost makes it sound like Congress has never fully read bills.

        I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

        Just like I was when I discovered that there was gambling in this establishment.

    • 1. Yes, but this isn’t a trademark issue. This is a change your untrademarked name issue because we are Offended by it issue.
      2. The intellectual property law question is interesting but irrelevant. I assume that it is being appealed.
      3. The NFL, but not its members, has tax exempt status to educate the public about football. I agree…it’s a dumb exemption.

    • Deery, I would think that other firms would be turned down for a Trademark protection not because it is disparaging but because it is already a Trademark of an existing organization with a national market presence. Any other reference to it could lead someone to believe that it is associated with the NFL football franchise.

      The point is that Congress can not exercise its legislative powers to deprive an individual of property without due process or without compensation. This is a Constitutional issue. When elected officials swear to uphold and defend the Constitution and then engage in actions that force people to give up their property without compensation they have fundamentally violated their oath of office.

      If the critics want the team to change its name they can raise funds and make an offer to Snyder for the name rights. If the government wants to retire the name for social benefit it can use its power of eminent domain and pay fair market value to Snyder for the property taken. That’s how it can be done. The mob cannot just take it.

  4. Ah, that ol’ bipartisan spirit. We can’t agree on a budget, no, but we sure can reach across the aisle when it comes to telling a private businessman that his name sure is hurtful, and if he doesn’t change it something untoward might just have to happen from the government…

    On a side note, I didn’t realize the NFL was tax exempt and am vaguely astonished to hear that. I guess they do enough charity donations and PSA’s to buy that status? But even if it were to get taken away it shouldn’t be in retaliation for constitutionally protected speech.

    I do think that the generic term “Redskins” is due for a change, but on its own. I’m from Michigan and there was a to-do a while back when one of our colleges changed its nickname from the “Hurons” to the “Eagles” under pressure (not from the actual Native groups, mind you). The actual Michigan Chippewa then went officially on-record as saying they are pleased with their relationship with another University and would be very insulted if PC pressure made them stop going by “Chippewa.” The great thing is that there are STILL people agitating for a change, even after the tribe said that. Those poor stupid natives, they just aren’t smart enough to know when they should be insulted I guess.

    • All sad but true. The bipartisan bullying efforts is especially annoying. No cooperation on legitimate efforts, just bruising individual rights to grandstand for the Native Americans back home who couldn’t care less about DC’s football team.

    • We can’t agree on a budget, no, but we sure can reach across the aisle when it comes to telling a private businessman that his name sure is hurtful, and if he doesn’t change it something untoward might just have to happen from the government…

      “It’s a nice team you have there, Mr. Snyder; it’d sure be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

  5. BAH! The psycho-petty left has once again worn me down, and I am long past through with them and their bastardly* grinding ways. Change the name, shut ’em up for awhile, and then let’s just wait and see what words and names they deem offensive and whine about next. “Guns,” anyone?

    *That’s for “dastardly bastards’.”

  6. Now I’m a fan of them changing their name for ONE game next year. Home opener, they should be the “Washington Oklahomans”.

    I’m sort of partial to “Washington Natives”, but I don’t agree with ever changing a name of a sports team by force. If this gets changed, then “Redskin” can only become a more derogatory word with less basis in regular vernacular. I think our language has enough taboo words already. Let’s not add another one.

    • I had always understood “Oklahoma” to mean “red earth,” “red land,” or “red dirt.” This is the first time I have seen “Oklahoma” stated to mean “red people.”

      For the Washington football team, perhaps the best possible new names would be the Correct (or Correctors), or the Inclusives, or the Offensive-Only-For-Scoring-Purposes.

        • NO: I am NOT going to let this go. I want one of our commenters from beyond the reaches of the U.S. correcto-indoctrination complex to go to a library in their country, look up books about Oklahoma printed before 2000, and report to this blog what the books there say the term means.

          I just asked my wife what she understands the term means; we have committed to memory the same answer for decades: “Red dirt.” And we were educated (well) in quite dissimilar locales. You might even say we “speak Choctaw.”

          I will also be visiting several libraries, to verify this revisionism. But I won’t forget to scour the used bookstores and garage sales, either.

          And you know what? If THAT is how the psycho-petty left wants to play this game, then they had better tighten the bindings of their stinking, lame e-strap-ons. Because if they keep it up, then I am going to initiate a re-naming campaign, a language “correction” movement, that will make them hate themselves (even more!) for ever having used, and wish they never had used, the words “a,” “an,” “and,” “you,” “your,” “our,” and “the.”

            • Yeah well if any Chickasaw starts spouting off in here, just remember he’s a separatist loon who followed his anscestor’s leader Chiksa away from the elder group (the Choctaw) during a storm.

              Idiot fringe group.

              They should have stuck by the sovereign leader Chata, after he made the wise decision to follow the Sacred Leaning Pole’s guidance and continue their eastward journey.

              Splinter group…

          • My dad, for all his virtues and wisdom, suffered one flaw, that of being born and raised in Oklahoma. Much to his Texan son’s insistence that Oklahoma was a Choktaw compound word for “Nothing Here”, Dad taught me it meant “Red Man” or “Red People”.

          • I met my wife in 2006 and her family is born and bred Oklahoman. They’ve always told me that the state name means “Red Earth” or “Red Dirt” and on the trips to Oklahoma, when we inevitably see the red mud and sand and dirt, I am told that again and again. So, I agree there’s probably a discrepancy somewhere, I just don’t know where it is and the story behind it.

            • I would be surprised if t meant “Red People.” Did the Choctaw see themselves as red until white people came and they had something to compare it against? Or was it named so after white people came? I lean towards “People of the (red) Earth”, which some shorten to “Red People.”

            • Thanks Tim; the correcto-indoctrination complex has its tentacles rather tightly around the necks of e-readers. I appreciate your and Tex’s sharing of family memories; I expect to find lots of evidence of revisionism.

              Most likely, a sanitization of sorts – a kind, constructive revisionism – evolved over several English-speaking generations, starting at some point in the 1800s and capitalizing on the convenient coincidence that the color of the dirt in vast parts of Oklahoma territory was (to “white” people) similar to that of the skin color of the “different” countrymen of earlier natives’ descent who were forced from elsewhere to reside there. Such sanitization is not all bad; it can be quite liberating, as with the current freedom which did not exist 50 years ago to discuss openly certain kinds of “periods.”

              I do not dispute the Choctaw origins of “Oklahoma.” However, linguistically, “people” and “territory” (“land” or “dirt”) could be considered conceptually indistinguishable, that is, virtual synonyms, among the vocabularies of certain non-nomadic populations. (I am thinking of the noun “Southerner,” but there are probably better examples that I cannot think of at the moment.) I do resent the Frankensteinian resurrection of the excuse (for taking offense) from the grave which sanitization dug and filled. You can bet your bottom bitcoin that the end of “Redskins” for a team name will be only a warm-up for the end of “Oklahoma” for a state’s name.

              “Redskins” of course I do not dispute as to original racial connotation. But, the psycho-petty left’s self-defeat via unintended consequences is secured in their strivings for linguistic tyranny, which have motivated me plus more people than they can control to call out their relentlessly divisive revisionism for what it is: the fabrication of a speech-controlling toolbox, intended to control debate on all manner of issues.

  7. Jack, I’m with you 100%: I only wish this were an isolated example, instead of merely the latest example of a trend sweeping America, particularly its colleges and high schools (the NCAA’s pressuring of the University of North Dakota to drop its “Fighting Sioux” nickname being just one of many).

    I’ve got to wonder: How many young adults think pressuring the Redskins to change its name is “OK” because, back when they were students, so many high schools and colleges were “persuaded” to change THEIR team names, and THAT was somehow “OK”?

    • Here in Fort Worth, Southwest High School used to the “Rebels”, so named originally almost as a joke, because my high school, Paschal, comprised almost all of southwest Fort Worth, and population pressured compelled the area to split. So Southwest, the derivative high school, ‘rebelled’.

      Well, in the 90s a huge stink was raised by insufferable busy bodies and then you’d wouldnt believe the number of students *who otherwise didn’t give a damn, except they got to be part of raising the stink* got on board an forced the change to the “Raiders”.

      Which of course, if we really wanted to be super sensitive about mascot names, I think Raider has even worse connotations that Rebel… But who cares? Rebel, South, Civil War, Slavery, Race Race Race Race!!!!!

      • Ironically, my old highschool was “The Raiders” and had an idian as the mascot. The asshole busybodies raised a fuss, and they got rid of the mascot.

        So they decided to hold a vote of the students as to what should replace it. To the credit of the kids, the winning vote was for “none” – they opted to have no mascot as opposed to anything else that wasn’t the Raider.

        Only time I was ever proud of that place.

        • I’m proud of my High School. We had a Marksmanship team. That’s right… GUNS AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL.

          Right after Columbine, the busy bodies wanted that ended. It didn’t. Score one for anti-knee-jerkmanship.

          • We had no official club, but I fondly remember my pre-panic days. A guy showed up halfway through the day, soaked in blood, because he’d been deer hunting but hadn’t had time to go home and change, he had to make it in by a certain time to be eligible to play football that night.

            “Jimmy, did you come straight here?”
            “Mmhmm, I see. And is there still a dead deer and a shotgun in your truck, at school?”
            “Yeah… you go ahead and swing home to take care of that. Hurry back, don’t worry, we’ll let you play.”

  8. Jack: Whether they call themselves the Washington Redskins or the Washington Spendthrifts is irrelevant to me. Why not require they drop the term Washington as well – they don’t play or practice in the District.

    What concerns me the most is the fundamental point that you were making; the use of federal or other governmental power to blackmail, coerce or otherwise force a private citizen to change its thoughts, behaviors or actions for the benefit of a small but vocal minority.

    I also do not like the concept of being told I am on the “wrong side of history”. Who decides who is on the wrong side of history? I bet George the Third may have felt the same way in 1776. Such a suggestion implies that whatever the government wants is a fait accompli’ and that no one should object or face retaliation. There are many things that offend me as well but I avoid and ignore them. What I cannot avoid is an offensive government.

    • The “you’re on the wrong side of history” argument drives me bananas. It is surpassed only by the smug retort, to a “you are showing bias” argument, that “Reality shows a Democrat/Republican/Liberal/Conservative bias.” Makes me want to just headbutt the smirk right off that mug…

    • “Being on the Wrong Side of History” is (at a minimum, as I’m still dissecting it:

      1) appeal to popularity fallacy
      2) appeal to force (albeit subtle) fallacy
      3) Everybody Does It rationalization

      Probably why it is so popular among statists and collectivists.

      • Should that be a separate rationalization on the list, or is it just another variation on 3)? It is a particularly sinister variation, if that’s what it is. It strikes me as akin to what the pod people kept telling Kevin McCarthy in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.” “Don’t fight it; resistance is futile; you’ll be happy once you give in; it’s all for the best…”

        • Quite frankly I already think the list has too many separate entries that are applications of the same principle- “Wrong side of history” is a solid #3. The only difference is that, rather than “everybody does it” it’s “everybody WILL do it” with the insinuation “and they’ll wonder why you didn’t do it, and maybe judge you for not doing it”

          • It does…I need to spend a day and sub-categorize them. The problem is that there is a description, then a variation turns up that the description doesn’t cover. I still think “your side lost/is losing/will lose” may be materially different from “Everybody does it.”

            The original idea of the list was to be a handy reference. Now it’s being reproduced everywhere, and more precision is called for. Rationalization: “I never claimed it was perfect!”

        • The more I think about it, I shouldn’t have listed #3 as a characteristic of “You’re on the Wrong Side of History”.

          The Rationalizations, as I’ve come to understand them, are all various species of the genus of Special Pleading fallacies. Meaning they are fallacies designed to win the argument “Your Conduct Was Wrong”. They describe past behavior.

          Whereas, “You’re on the Wrong Side of History” doesn’t make a special case for my past conduct, as much as it makes a fallacious argument for a specific idea or policy, in the vein of #1 and #2: Appeal to popularity and Appeal to Force.

          • Well, many of them work forwards as justifications as well as backwards…”Everybody’s doing It (so you should too); “It’s for a good cause,” (so ignore the fact that it will cause a lot of harm to others) “It’s legal” (so forget that its wrong), “Tit for Tat” (they have it coming, rather than “they got what they deserved”), etc. “The ends justify the means” is just the forward application of Consequentialism. Rationalization simply means a dishonest or logically flawed argument for doing something that shouldn’t be done, or is wrong to do. Some rationalizations like #9 (“What they don’t know won’t hurt them”) are more forward than backward looking (since in that case, once everyone knows about past action the excuse no longer applies.)

      • It’s a valid concept for the past, though- specifically when we look at historical villains. To grab an example from the aether (because I just watched the movie), we see the Persians as the villains fighting the Greeks, but that’s just because the Greek system gave rise to modern democracy. The Persians weren’t “evil” as such, they’re just on the wrong side of history.

        When used to describe something in the present, though, it’s just a fallacious debating tactic designed to make someone worry about their legacy.

        • But that’s just it, I don’t believe in a “Wrong Side” or “Right Side” of History.

          The Persians weren’t on the wrong side of history, they were just on the wrong side of a solid Bronze Shield Wall and on the wrong side of superior unit tactics and a superior Civic Virtue in regards to citizen-soldiery.

          If we “Classical Liberals” are currently on the “wrong side of history” as we oppose the gross collectivist and statist culture being foisted on us and inculcated by Big Education and Big Media, then that means the Founders of our movement dating back to the 1600s (Locke, Montesquieu, Paine, Rousseau, Bruke, etc and including the Founding Fathers) were all on the Wrong Side of History as well when they opposed the big state minds and collectivist minds.

          “Wrong Side”/”Right Side” of history is simply fallacious in my opinion.

          • I don’t mean “wrong” as in “they shouldn’t have done what they did, because they were wrong.” I mean “many people see them as having been in the wrong, because they lost, and we like the way things turned out.”

            The inherent logical gap is in thinking that the people/ideas that are now considered (by many) to be on the wrong side of history were actually in some way flawed or wrong, rather than just having lost. Your average person watches 300 and maybe reads “Gates of Fire” if they’re literary-minded, and comes away with the vague understanding that the Persians were bad guys and the Greeks made the world safe for today. The Persians may not have been wrong, but they ended up on the wrong side of history.

          • But that’s just it, I don’t believe in a “Wrong Side” or “Right Side” of History.

            “Right side of history” is equivalent to “appeal to tradition”.

  9. Here in So. California we have a High School Football team called the Indians. Nobody seems to have a problem with it. Indians imho are “brave and fearless, and I still have my collection of Buffalo Nickels with an American Indian on the other side. Is some liberal twit organization going to demand that they all have to be confiscated as ‘offensive’?

  10. Jack. Your intellectual acuity remains as sharp as ever. This is an honest and well reasoned opinion. Your trademark still. When the government controls our speech

    • And our ability to protect ourselves and love ones only strong citizens will stand up. Some remain in the comfort of blind obedience to a greater power. Others hold fast to an even greater cause…..FREEDOM. You can find much if it in the Constitution. As you have done.

  11. The first group of links that come up when you google “meaning of the word Oklahoma” are…

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_name_Oklahoma_mean?#slide=1
    http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/ok_intro.htm
    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/states/oklahoma/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma
    http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Oklahoma/Oklahomanameorigin.html

    Not to be conspiratorial-minded, but this would suggest that the “red earth” stuff was a clever bit of politically correct Choctaw-fiddling. Kind of like the Bastogne “Nuts!” story, which used to drive my father wild. “No soldier I ever net would have said “Nuts!’ in that situation! If he didn’t say “Fuck off!.” it was something pretty close.

    Or the common whitewash (literally) of the real meaning of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”…,

    • People question the real meaning of “yellow rose of Texas”?

      What’s wrong with commemorating the extremely important tactical consideration of removing an enemy army’s commander from ability to make decisions on the battlefield, ultimately aiding the friendly forces victory?

      Of course this 19th century drone strike was mythical, and San Jacinto was won by surprise an shock which the Mexican Army never could overcome….

    • There’s a “real meaning?” Granted I don’t think I’ve heard that song in well over a decade… but can someone enlighten me as to what it is about beyond being a generic love song? Tex, you seem to know…

      • In case that came off as a snarky “WHAT other meaning,” no, I really don’t know and don’t think I’ve heard… must be a southern thing. Please do tell, I love salacious details. I do like how cheesy old folk songs can teach you about history, though- without folk songs I wouldn’t know about Dan Seavy, the majestic pirate of the Great Lakes, who once killed a man with a barroom piano.

      • A story was passed around that Santa Anna was *detained* in his tent by a black servant girl at the outset of Sam Houston’s surprise attack on his camp at San Jacinto, thereby disrupting the Mexican Army’s command and control and Unity of Command at the decisive point.

        I don’t think it happened, I think it was just another line to pile on some anti-Santa Anna propaganda, that he was some sort of man-whore (which he was, just not at San Jacinto). Santa Anna’s army was defeated because Sam Houston’s army was on top of them before they barely had a chance to stand-to. Even though their lines were formed, each individual Mexican Soldier had it in his mind that, although their portion of the line was formed, the rest of the line hadn’t formed, so defense was futile and most broke and ran. Exceptions granted at certain points in the Mexican line where quicker thinking Officers and Sergeants, and most notably, General Castrillon, kept the men disciplined and were able to put up some resistance before being overwhelmed.

        • Huh… I’d assume “Yellow Rose” is a reference to “high yellow” for light-skinned black people then? I looked up the lyrics and they are NOT what I learned growing up, not the original ones at least. Huh… neat story. So yes, people “question” the “real meaning,” but I think it’s because a lot of us never knew it existed… The more you know [the dirtier old songs become], huh?

        • Who knows? If she did “detain” Santa Anna or if it was the other way around, Sam Houston should have given her a medal. From my research on him, Santa Anna was a psychopathic nasty character whose execution of every man that fought against him at the Alamo and at Goliad lead to his ignoble defeat by Houston.

    • Which points up what has always been wrong with the anti-Redskins argument. Redskins wasn’t a slur when the tribes used it to describe themselves (in contrast to whites.) It was a slur when the whites used it as one. But when the name is attached to something honored and loved, like a football team, no slur is intended (obviously), and if no slur is obviously intended, it’s no slur. It is particularly strange when the name is claimed to be a slur on behalf of the very group that used the exact same term as a non-slur.

      That’s why the idiotic argument that I still hear—“You wouldn’t accept a team called the Washington Niggers,” would you?”—makes me crazy. No, you idiot, because that would 1) be intended as a slur and 2) nobody names their team after a group they want to slur!

      • I think it’s a bit like how jokes told with the Jester’s Privelige eventually fade off the spectrum of what is accepted to be told to power and disappear. Like I said in the whole “thug” debate, I consider it a tragedy when a word is so completely subsumed that it can’t be used normally any more, but I think it may be happening to Redskin and it’s coming up time for a change- but one that the owner makes because fans tell him to, not at gunpoint.

        Oh, and I think the “Washington Negroes” would be a more apt comparison. A word that was once used as the normal term, and only a slur if you said it as such, but just not one you’d expect to hear used for a sports team any more.

        • Black people don’t really use the word “Negro” very much. It isn’t even really considered an insult, just very archaic. Like the Washington Mulattoes or something equally as ridiculous. But Negro used to the descriptive word, replaced with black sometime in the 70’s.

          Would the Washington Blacks be an offensive team name? Or would it depend on the mascot? (represses shudder)

          • Well there IS a rugby team called the All-Blacks, but all I know about them is every time I see them mentioned in a US-Centric article it has to have a giant disclaimer about how it’s not racist.

            • That would be the New Zealand international rugby union team, one of the best in the sport. Black is their official color when it comes to international sports, followed by white and silver.

          • +1 on “Washington Blacks” (or any other variation) if for no other reason than to make George Preston Marshall, longtime owner of the Redskins and the last NFL owner to sign a black player, roll in his grave.

    • I question the “wiki answers” link. It’s right except for one detail:

      The Choctaw didn’t live in the area we call Oklahoma until AFTER the Indian Removals. Coronado explored those lands 300 years prior (if he even explored Oklahoma) and would NOT have encountered the Choctaw, unless by random chance it was before the combined Choctaw/Chickasaw migration to the East from some unknown Western origin (which even at best dates puts that migration long before Coronado – since they were encountered in the East by de Soto in the same time frame as Coronado’s exploration in the Southwest).

      But all other research and appeal to Authority (Dad) indicate it means “Red Man” or “Red People”.

      • The story that “Oklahoma” is a missionary’s contrivance is at least plausible. I do not know of any instance of Choctaw using the term “Oklahoma” before their history intersected with that of “white” people. If they ever did use the term, it was only after being “re-settled” (again, as I mentioned earlier, in a virtually synonymous manner), either referring to themselves as “Oklahomans,” and/or to the “red dirt territory” upon which they were “re-settled.”

        Meanwhile, American English also evolved. It evolved in a natural, voluntary, multi-generational “game of telephone” – not of necessity like the displaced Choctaw faced, but of a mix of misunderstanding, laziness and true ignorance – such that “Oklahoma,” whatever its origin, became associated primarily and moreso with the territory and the color of dirt there, than with the skin color of the “re-settled” Choctaw et al living there.

        So I probably just said, in a wordy way, that what happened with “Oklahoma” is what Jack called earlier “a clever bit of politically correct Choctaw-fiddling.”

        I am a native of northeast Texas (where there is also a good amount of red earth or clay). So yes, I also knew, as far back as I can remember, the “Red Man” term, spoken of persons “up yonder” (north of the Red River). Few “white” boys in northeast Texas in the mid-twentieth century who received any kind of quality education did NOT learn about Geronimo and Fort Sill, and other “Indians” of the region, native and otherwise (along with Alamo and San Jacinto stories). I have vivid memories of us boys tromping through the Piney Woods and finding arrowheads. We would have prowled more diligently for unknown “Indian mounds,” but we felt true, spiritual (or spiritualized) guilt and dread – not superstition, just a child-like, Golden Rule reverence, an irrepressible incentive not to “trespass” against people (even people long gone) and “their places” – so we did not dare to disturb certain places.

        So Tex, your Dad’s word is good to me, up to a point. But, I maintain that the majority “white” population, for my generation and at least a couple of generations preceding mine, did NOT use “Oklahoma” primarily to refer to or associate with “red *people*,” but to associate with the red dirt in that region. That fact, of course, will be forgotten in a future psycho-petty rush of language-niggardliness, to obliterate use of a “racist” term for a state.

  12. Well, after the name “Oklahoma” is changed, I guess the next to go will be Virginia–after all, we did have the sexual revolution,didn’t we? Can’t promote abstinence, lest someone be offended.

    • I actually have an old book of fake “name meanings” that lists under Virginia “Virginia was once the name of a state, but when the country’s last virgin was deflowered in 1972 there was no longer a need for a state of that name. The state is now known as ‘Julia.'”

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