The Washington Redskins’ team name has been in the news this week after the U.S. government took away the team’s trademark protection, and yesterday, CNN’s Don Lemon penned a piece asking if that team’s name is the new N-word for Native Americans.
An offensive word that many people hate and think should be banned.Others say not so fast, there’s nothing wrong with using the word, especially when we’re talking about a group of people we hold dear, like, even love. Sounds like I’m talking about the n-word, which has been debated, discussed and reported countless times, but I’m not. This time it’s the dreaded r-word, Redskins, as in the Washington football team. Redskins, Red man and Red Indian were all used by Brits and Americans to distinguish between Indians from India and so-called Indians or Native Americans. It is very similar to the way Negro became the pejorative N-I-G-G-E-R to distinguish Africans living in Africa from Africans living in the United States. Either way you cut it, no matter the origin a word, if over time it has become a slur, a dig or an insult, should you use it, even if it is the name of your favorite team? My personal opinion is no, but you decide.
Earlier this month, Lemon wrote more specifically about the N-word, suggesting that if people want pop-star Justin Bieber to stop using the word, they should do the same.