Good Morning, Broncos fans! The ongoing debate over the racist name of Washington's football team has turned up a lot of amateur historians claiming the origin of the name had no racist intent.
Of course, the history shouldn't even factor in that sense, because the name is undoubtedly racist today. But it does matter in terms of setting the record straight. From Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast:
Marshall had made a fortune in the commercial laundry business when he purchased the Boston Braves football team in 1932. His second coach was a man whose mother was thought to be part Sioux. Not known to be—thought to be. And on that flimsy basis, Marshall changed the name, in this coach’s “honor” (even though Marshall fired him after two seasons), from Braves to Redskins. It seems telling that “Braves” was somehow not authentic enough for Marshall.
So that's where the team got its name. But where does redskin come from, since defenders of the slur say it's the equivalent to calling a white person white? Tomasky also goes into the etymology:
They don’t know that it refers to the scalps (and skulls and corpses) of Native Americans, butchered by bounty hunters and delivered by the wagon-full to collect their payments from local authorities who’d authorized the kills. This recent poll that 79 percent of Americans aren’t bothered by the team’s name doesn’t impress me. All it means is that 79 percent of Americans need a history lesson.
History lesson, indeed. (via Deadspin)
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