Opinion: Racism plays on with Washington 'Redskins' mascot

"As many have pointed out, we’d never allow, for example, a Washington Blackskins or a Washington Yellowskins, nor should we. Nor would we allow a baseball team to be called the Cleveland Jews. Yet, we somehow justify keeping Native Americans at the bottom of societal barrel, treating them in ways that we’d never tolerate for another race or religion.

This irony is apparent at Redskins football games, where even African Americans — who still struggle to see some semblance of economic equality and social mobility in our society — don fake feathered headdresses, paint non-native faces and mimic war cries.

In a mascot moment, the weight of centuries of discrimination is passed down and passed on. Call it trickle-down discrimination, or last-place aversion; we always want someone below us. It makes life a little easier. The freedom once found by African Americans in Anacostia, now appropriating a voice less economically equal and less socially mobile, may well stem from this systematic and societal failure. To heal the former wrong requires healing the latter, something this country has yet to fully countenance."

Get the Story:
Michael Shank: Anacostia totem pole belies Washington’s devotion to Redskins (The Washington Post 2/22)

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