Charles Krauthammer is a conservative columnist with a permanent sourpuss etched into his self-impressed face. He is not a sports columnist, okay? Yet he has managed, quite impressively, to come up with the single most inane solution yet for the "Washington Redskins" name controversy.
The term "Redskins" is a flat-out racial slur. For decades, many people, noting this fact, have suggested that the Washington Redskins should change their name. Just about anything would be better, you see. Recently, this movement has picked up some serious steam, and now it's even reached the august and decidedly non-sporting ears of Charles Krauthammer. Today, Krauthammer comes out in favor of changing the Redskins' name. Surprising and heartening! But first, he has a few things to get off his chest:
I don’t like being lectured by sportscasters about ethnic sensitivity.
Or advised by the president of the United States about changing team names.
Or blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card.
Uh... "blackmail" seems like a harsh synonym for "people asking you not to use a racial slur in reference to them," but uh... anything else?
I don’t like the language police ensuring that no one anywhere gives offense to anyone about anything. And I fully credit the claim of Redskins owner Dan Snyder and many passionate fans that they intend no malice or prejudice and that “Redskins” has a proud 80-year history they wish to maintain.
Before Charles Krauthammer gets to the part of his column where he acknowledges that the Redskins' name should be changed, he has to first establish that he loathes anyone who would advocate changing the Redskins' name. Got it.
So what is his reason for wanting to change the name? Because words "evolve," you see. Fifty years ago, people said "Negro." Now people do not say "Negro." Charles Krauthammer sees this as a perfect parallel for the word "Redskin."
Similarly, regarding the further racial breakdown of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “And by my count, there are two redskins.” It’s inconceivable, because no matter how the word was used 80 years ago, it carries invidious connotations today.
Charles Krauthammer here fails to realize the key difference between "Negro" and "Redskin," which is: 80 years ago, "Redskin" was still a racial slur! There was never a time when "redskin" was the polite and accepted term for Native Americans, in wide usage among Native Americans themselves. It's a slur! Its "invidious connotations" did not just arise this year out of nowhere.
Ah, well. You can't ask for everything. The mere fact that a craggy old dick like Krauthammer has come around to the idea of changing the name should be considered a victory in itself. So, Charles, any ideas for a new name?
How about Skins, a contraction already applied to the Washington football team? And that carries a sports connotation, as in skins vs. shirts in pickup basketball.
Skins. It carries a sports connotation, see? Like in pickup basketball.
Or how about the Washington Balls?