Column: Redskins owner should know better by now
"I had a rather enlightening conversation with a friend who is on the board of UNITY, the organization of journalists of color. We spoke of our childhoods and I mentioned that while I was growing up I noticed that youngsters who watched John Wayne movies innocently played the game of cowboys and Indians. He is Native American, and his response was simply "Now they should know better."

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times chastised NFL owner Daniel Snyder for ignoring the pleas of Native Americans to drop the team name Washington Redskins. The commentary made this point: "A football team called the Crackers or the Darkies probably wouldn't be tolerated for long, yet the Washington Redskins have been using their offensive moniker since moving from Boston in 1937."

What do you expect from a franchise that was the last in the league to integrate, and whose fight song used to end with "fight for ol' Dixie"? It took years for the song's ending to be changed to "fight for ol' D.C."

Native American plaintiffs initiated legal action in 1992, challenging the use of the Redskins name in Harjo v. Pro-Football Inc. It took 17 years for the case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but last month the high court declined to consider the merits of the lawsuit. It also took a while — more than a century of verbal abuse post slavery — for African-American civil rights leaders to take action against the use of the N-word. The national debate reached its peak on July 9, 2007, when delegates at the 98th annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People buried the N-word at a symbolic funeral.

I wonder if there is a compromise that will satisfy tribal leaders and not cost the NFL team millions of dollars it's invested in marketing its name."

Get the Story:
Barbara Ciara: Is racial sensitivity a learned behavior? (The Newport News Daily Press 12/7)

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