By RazzaTazz 30 Comments
Generally speaking I try to keep this blog focused on comics, at least in spirit. This of course leaves a lot left unsaid in terms of my opinions on other subjects. Those who know me, even in passing, know that I consider myself to be somewhat left leaning in terms of my outlook on world affairs. Or call me a progressive or a liberal, it doesn't matter (even though I think judging someone's beliefs by labels is pretty narrow sighted.) One thing I am not is a sports fan, but despite this I am still exposed to sports, either when I forced to watch a game against my will due to social requirements, or when something creeps up in the news.
I can say that I am not a watcher of Fox News, only I get to hear the things from Fox News which are particularly incredulous. One of the things which I read recently was the debate over the use of the name Redskin for the Washington NFL team, with certain Native American groups thinking it is offensive, while others seeing no problem with the name. Without a firm backing in American history, it would still seem as though there are those who defend the name as it is some form of honour to Native American warriors (or at least so says Fox News co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck.) There also seems to be some Native Americans that think of it in the same way.
While I guess I can buy this seeing as many Native American do not find this name to be offensive, there is an interesting observation to be made (this is where the comics kind of comes in) and that is that the name is captured in pop culture from a previous generation as being something else:
In the history of warfare it is customary to address an enemy (even in this case if the Native is just an "enemy") as a term as something other than respectful. There are many examples of this, but most of them are racially offensive (I guess as a less racially offensive one, there is the term 'kraut' used to refer to a German soldier since the First World War.) In this case the white man is attacking or being attacked by a group of Natives, and the term that he uses is "Redskin", the specific term that is supposedly not offensive, at least in modern day. 60 years previous when racial sensitivity is not what it is now, the term was evidently used as slur or insult. I am not making the claim that one comic cover can explain the entire situation or what is deemed offensive, only that there was a time and place where this was offensive, and explicitly so.