The Washington Redskins may be forced to change names. The topic has been highly debated. Recently, it has been brought to the forefront. On Thursday, Fed Ex, who owns the naming rights to the football stadium in DC, requested that the Washington Redskins change their name. Nike removed all Redskins merchandize from nike.com. Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, has his back against the wall. Snyder has been unwilling to change names when the issue was brought up in the past.
Do Native Americans Find the Name “Redskins” Offensive?
The most debated question surrounding this issue is, Are Native Americans offended by the name “Redskins”? There is conflicting data. In a poll conducted by the Washington Post from 2016, Native Americans were asked if they found the team name offensive. 90% answered with “does not bother”. Daniel Snyder has used the results from this poll in the past to justify not changing the name of his team. However, a similar and more recent study done by UC Berkley resulted in around 49% of Native Americans finding the use of the name offensive. I find the timing and motivation of companies recently making name changes, including the Redskins debate, to be questionable and quite frankly silly.
What are the Real Motivations Behind Name Changes?
A great deal of time and effort has been going into companies changing their names lately. First it was Aunt Jemima, the famous pancake and syrup company. Uncle Ben’s Rice followed soon after. Close to home, Dixie Beer decided now was the right time to remove the word “Dixie” from their brand.
The timing along with the motivation of these name changes is questionable. Were these names not considered to be offensive before racial unrest was publicized by the mainstream media? Does a black man have to be killed by a police officer for us to realize that these names should be changed? We live in a time where moral codes do not justify our actions. Instead, trends and profitability do. If this were not true, then the companies who recently decided to change names would have done so before it was “cool”. Morality is not something that should be dictated by trends. Morality is timeless. The likelihood of the situation is that these companies care more about sales than they do about progress.
Fed Ex does not care about offending Native Americans, Fed Ex cares about shipping more shit. Fed Ex has owned the naming rights to the Washington Redskins’ stadium since 1998. Did they not think the name was offensive 22 years ago?
Name Changes are Distractions
Not only is the timing of these name changes questionable, but in some cases they are silly. TMZ reported, “Texas Realtors Will Stop Using ‘Master’ to Describe Bedrooms, Bathrooms”. Hall of Fame Tight End, Shannon Sharp clearly thought this was dumb.
These name changes have nothing to do with police brutality or prison reform. Nor do they aid in the advancement of black people or Native Americans in any way. Right now, name changes are distractions from real issues.