The Redskins and Liberal Logic

As noted in another piece on AT, the Washington Post on Friday published a poll that categorically demonstrates that Native Americans by a huge majority do not consider the moniker of Washington, D.C.’s football team – Redskins -- offensive. This should deal a substantial blow to the movement to force the team to change its name, which is now conclusively revealed to be made up of nothing more than a tiny minority of Native American activists supported by mainstream leftists Democrat politicians anxious to find yet another way to balkanize and divide the public.  But don’t count on the mere fact that that the poll demonstrates that this is a non-issue stopping them. 

The poll was commissioned by the Post, and came after years of agitation by activists, public declarations of Democrat politicians against the moniker (including President Obama), and action by the Patent and Trademark Office against the team. This suggests that the results actually understate the support and/or indifference of Native Americans for the team name. The Post, which editorially has also opposed the name, and whose reporters carefully avoid using it, clearly hoped that the new poll would reverse the findings of a 2003 poll which demonstrated the same lack of concern among Native Americans towards the name, but it clearly did not. 

The Post deserves some credit for publishing what must have been disappointing results for its editors above the fold in this Friday’s edition. The newspaper is deeply invested in the “controversy” and has done much to stir it up, a fact evident in that no less than six articles were devoted to the poll in Friday’s paper (three in the main news section, one in Metro, two in Sports.) 

These pieces are largely an interesting read for the rearguard actions of the columnists and reporters who wrote them, trying their best to minimize the damage this poll should do to the name change movement, or gnashing their teeth over those lumpen-proletariat Native Americans. Sports columnist Dan Steinberg, in true liberal fashion tries to poo-poo the unattractive result with a kind of dialectic, suggesting that although the poll reveals that the name is not offensive and really a non-issue, on the other hand it really doesn’t do that, and so both sides still have a lot to ponder. Um… no, Mr. Steinberg, there is no “other hand” in this case, something at least one colleague in the Metro section appears to realize. 

In Metro, Robert McCartney, a white, liberal columnist and Redskins fan who tossed his all his Redskins gear years ago, has written repeatedly on the subject and refuses to use the name in radio and television appearances, lets out a cry of anguish and then gives up.  But not before he repeats all the reasons Native Americans should be offended by the team name. Baffled by their ethic imperturbability, McCartney, at least for now, has surrendered the good liberal fight over the name.

The sports section news report quotes former Redskins greats Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann, who support the name and view the poll results favorably. But predictably, it also digs up a Redskin who doesn’t; former pretty good (though not great) offensive lineman Tre Johnson. Johnson, we are told attended, Temple University, and weighs in with a convoluted analysis of the situation that only proves he didn’t take logic there: 

“It all comes down to whether this is a majority-wins issue.  Do we care about everybody?  Or do we care about most people?” 

To which one can only answer “Huh?” Don’t worry about Tre though, he made millions playing ball so making sense isn’t very important. 

But if I can parse Johnson’s meaning, having read several other Johnson quotes (so you don’t have to) Tre means that even though only a tiny minority of a tiny minority is offended by the term Redskins, that is enough to invalidate its use by everybody else, including the vast majority of the tiny minority that isn’t offended or even likes it. Which come to think of it, logically at least, is similar in many ways to what the left is saying about bathrooms, which only proves that liberal logic belongs in the toilet. Nine out of ten Native Americans seem to agree.  

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