SURVEY: 80 Percent of Americans Wouldn’t Call a Native American ‘That Word’

Redskins FailWhile many Americans now enjoy the sights, sounds and PR crises of the 21st century, the entire board of directors and ownership of the NFL team in Washington refuses to remove their collective nose from another, older time.

ICYMI: The “Washington Redskins” have a few PR hurdles to overcome if they want to stick with a name dripping in history (the racist kind). The latest nail in the coffin would be an enlightening survey that finds: “four in five Americans would be uncomfortable calling a Native American a ‘r*dskin.'”

Daniel Snyder (or even Mr. “No Means No“): please pick up the white courtesy phone.

While it may not land in Mr. Snyder’s firewall-protected inbox, this survey makes serious sense. Here’s a thought experiment: walk up to an NFL player who happens to be something other than white, call him a bigoted name, and watch what happens. The “watching” may be compromised by the fact that your eyes are swollen shut, but you get the idea.

Back to the survey:

This piece of research was brought to us by goodness Mfg. and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The two organizations got together with business intelligence firm ORC International to poll Americans about use of the word “r*dskin” when referring to Native Americans. The survey also examined whether their responses were influenced by their age and whether “they identified themselves as [fans] of the NFL.” From D’nae Kingsley, Head of Integrated Strategy, goodness Mfg.:

“Our study indicates how important context is to behavior. On one hand, group mentality makes people think using the r-word is okay. But on the other hand, when a person comes face to face with a Native American, it’s not. This dichotomy can be explained by several factors including fan blindness and lack of awareness of the definition of the r-word.”

In other words: No one likes a bigot. It’s just not classy. Here are some more findings that Keith Olbermann should snack on this evening:

There is a generational gap in terms of awareness and perception that “r*dskin” is an offensive name.

  • 50% of Americans 18-34 (also called millennials) found the term to be offensive compared to 34% of Americans 35 and older (This was prior to being informed that the leading dictionaries describe “r*dskin” as offensive)
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (64%) compared to Americans 35 and older (35%) are aware that the dictionary definition of “r*dskin” describes the term as offensive.

“Fan blindness” is a contributing factor to an NFL fan’s decision to favor the Washington team’s current mascot. Fans are clinging to the mascot because of blind loyalty even though they feel that “r*dskin” is an offensive term. This is evidenced by:

  • 72% of NFL fans who want to keep the mascot would not use “r*dskin” when speaking with a Native American.

Once respondents learned that leading dictionaries define “r*dskin” as offensive

  • 22% changed their mind and favored ending usage of the term in any context
  • 13% changed their opinion to favor a new mascot for the Washington team

If you want to help #ChangeTheMascothere’s another way: NCAI is launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this legal journey.

Snyder may not have common sense, but he CAN afford lots of legal counsel — and political advisors!