August 12, 2005

Friday Must Read

Your must read assignment today is this excellent Rolling Stone story:

Four Amendments & a Funeral

It is a great inside look at Congress at work. In short:

"Nobody knows how this place is run," says Rep. Bernie Sanders. "If they did, they'd go nuts."


Tyler said...


Ok.....I'm going to have to break my own rule about posting a comment under an unrelated post. I can't in good conscious make a "Post" a response to Laura on my friend's blog just to defend my position. So I'll do it in the comment section:

1. I never said that people shouldn't find references to Indians in sports teams names/mascots offensive. What I said was that its debatable whether or not a tribe name is "racist" or not.

2. I never said anything about "Redskins". That is offensive to some. But you compared team names like "Redskins" to racist and derogatory terms like faggot and n****r. Read your comment again, that's what you said. That's inappropriate because the name "Redskin" was chosen to associate that football team with the brave/proud Native American tradition (though society has changed and the term may not be appropriate now) while the N-word and F-word are just slurs meant to degrade groups of people.

You never said anything about "Seminole", "Ute", "Illini", etc. Ok, ban "Redskins" but a simple tribe name?

3. The Chippewa tribe of Michigan, the Ute tribe of Utah and the Seminole tribe of Florida all endorse the local universities representation of their people. And just yesterday the Oklahoma Seminole Tribe issued a statementcondeming the NCAA's decision

You see, using tribe names and references is not necessarily bad. Where as racial slurs certainly are.

4. I told you exactly how the Highlanders and Zulus would be depicted:Zulus:weird looking black man with a spear and reed shield dancing around his sideline.Highlander:weird looking half naked painted Scotsman with a sword dancing around his sideline.

I know there were no Zulus or Highlanders in America. That is exactly my point. Chris called "Bullshit" on my tongue-and-cheek post about changing the names of schools with victimized
darker skinned people to names of victimized white European tribes because of geography (Native Americans still live in the US, ancient European tribes don't). So I see'd his bullshit and raised him a little more bullshit and gave examples of savages, one white the other black, not native to the Americas as mascots. Both of the mascots would be hooting, hollering and acting like a crazy person (because that's what mascots do). My implied point is that the black Zulu would most likely be deemed "racist" while the white Highlander would not be even though they were not native to the US and they were essentially acting the same. And in war this is similar to how these people did act.

5. "self-righteous...poor, abused, middle-class white man"???

You forgot charming and good looking!

Laura said...

Geez this is turning into a rather long debate. But, since I am physiologically unable to just let things go and admit that we clearly are just going to see things differently, I must respond.

First of all, I said that it's not necessarily the name that is offensive, it is the way that the mascots are portrayed. And yes, I did compare Redskin to faggot and that other word neither of us is willing to type out. It is racist, it has been used historically in the same way that "Boy" and the N-word were used to indicate adult black men in the south. The fact that we don't all use it that way any more doesn't make it less offensive. It's like the word queer, for some people the word alone is offensive and for some the offense comes in the connotation in which it is used. You may think that when you say Redskin you are making reference to a brave and proud Native American tradition, but those of a brave and proud Native American heritage may disagree. And as for individual tribe names, no, they are not offensive, unless the image is some idiot making a mockery of that heritage.

And I concede that a black savage would undoubtedly offend more people. Why this is the case is self-explanatory, I think. Though, I personally think it would be a better to stick to using animals as mascots. I mean, who's going to be offended by a giant dancing Oriole?

Now, do I think that it's right to ban something just because some people find it offensive? No, I don't. Freedom of speech trumps the right to go through life unoffended.

However, the NCAA has the right to not support speech or mascots or anything that they deem offensive. It's comparable to how you can call the President of the United States an asshole to his face with no consequences, but doing the same thing to your boss will land you in the unemployment line.

Hmmm....and as for charming and good-looking, I will concede to charming and add amusing, and while it's sort of a moot point for me, I will even go so far as to admit you could, in some circles, be found quite attracive.