Racist names still need changing

One has to be heartened by the public response to the over the top rantings of the racist buffoon who owns the San Diego Clippers. Both players and fans alike showcased their disdain and contempt to Mr. Sterling’s tirade in ways that will long endure. And the response from the NBA establishment was immediate, and supported outright the anger and rage felt by both players and fans. Before we get too euphoric about these demonstrations of civility and reason, however, we need to cast a critical eye on both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Consider that our nation’s capitol harbors a football team called the “Redskins”. I have had people tell me that the term is actually an endearment for Native American people. All the people who espouse this wisdom are of course non-Native American.

The term “Redskin” has a long and glorious history actually. It was developed and honed and widely used by European conquerors who in their exceptionalism eradicated roughly 97.2 percent of the Native American population-an extermination rate that rivals the worst genocides in human history. And now jump to our national pastime — and take a good hard look at the Cleveland Indians logo. One would have to have an I.Q. of room temperature to believe that the logo showcased by the Cleveland Indians is either complimentary or respectful.

So why isn’t there a larger hue and cry regarding these openly racist logos? The answer is sad and simple. Minority populations that have faced near eradication and extermination and forced relocation for hundreds of years simply do not have the needed collective voice or political power to challenge the mascots that make a mockery out of them. Change is possible though — and it is very much needed. Caring, concerned citizens of every ethnic background need to send a collective message to these organizations. The message is simple-mascots and logos and team identifiers should showcase the best and finest a region has to offer. They should never make light of, or trumpet the historic genocide that is both a tragic and integral part of our nation’s history.

Jim Sawyer