Bleacher Report has a nice long essay by Mike Freeman, an African-American sports writer and Marylander, on how he stopped using “Redskins” to describe the Washington NFL team. See highlights below but make time for the thoughtful and compassionate essay, which explores team owner Dan Snyder’s motivation, as well as what it means to be an African-American fan and embrace a team name widely accepted as a slur.
I was part of a racially conscious family in a racially tolerant community with racially diverse friends and family, yet we never discussed that Redskin is a Webster-defined racial slur. None of my black friends and I did either. Ever….
But everything changed for me when my mother began tracing our roots and officially documented what was generally known in our family: that we had American Indian ancestry. That’s when I began to rethink my support of the Redskin nickname…
I was related to the people that were being caricatured. The moment was instructive in many ways. It showed, to me, the hypocrisy of a black man ignoring a slur his entire life because a football team meant so much to him.
It showed something else. I looked around at the diversity in my life, which was extensive, and noticed something: Long into my adulthood, there were few American Indians in my life. There was no one to express their displeasure.
(h/t Bleacher Report)