Author: Rudra Chakraborty (Gorton Fishman)
The Washington (and Lancaster!) Redskins debate rages on, and so does the battle between storied tradition and contemporary sensitivity. One side says things should stay as they are since no one seemed to have a problem before now, the other urges compassion for old wounds in a world that is changing and more open-minded than it used to be. Squaw Island has even had its name changed in light of a recent campaign which strived to inform the general public about the offensive etymology of the word “squaw”. The new name is Deyowenoguhdoh (the original Seneca name for the island). The potential merits or drawbacks aside of this newfound collective sensitivity, there are undeniably many people who are extremely passionate about political correctness on both sides of the argument. To capitalize on this debate, the following petition was started:
Upon being shared on WGRZ a week ago (when it at the time had 20 signatures, it has since grown to about 230), it received syndication on national newsfeeds, such as the The Daily Caller. It subsequently spawned tons of opinions, some supporting, some outrage, and some just plain confused. One person told a joke:
“A Native American man walks into a hotel in Las Vegas. The receptionist asks, ‘Do you have a reservation?’”
The petitioner is an enigmatic member of the Navajo Nation known as Mark Beasley. Attempting to find out his identity points leads to the webpage “Redskins Facts” (where a man of the same name and a member of the Navajo Nation is on video saying the Washington Redskins “is a powerful name, a warrior name.” (author appears at 0:18) Given that the updates to the petition thanking people for support are pretty sarcastic (most people seem to be signing the petition to verbally abuse and cuss at the petitioner, though there does appear to be some that took the petition seriously and signed it for its supposed purpose), we can reasonably assume that the petition is a joke.
But perhaps the petition isn’t important or interesting because it was serious or sarcastic; maybe it should be evaluated as a reaction to the political correctness debate that’s gripping us here at home in Buffalo, in the nation’s capital, and all over the country. Is this a conversation that needs to be had in a modern, evolving society? Or are we all trying too hard to please too many sensibilities? Does the answer lie somewhere in between?
About the Author:
Rudra is a graduate of the University at Buffalo and a software developer at a local company. He relocated to Buffalo after working in DC for a year. He enjoys blogging about beer, politics, current events, and urban issues in a non-partisan way.