The government was shut down and we had spent up to the limit of what we could legally borrow. But the country was not focused on the fact that our new health care law was beginning as a dismal failure. Or that our tax collectors are running rampant with no promised Presidential butt-kicking. Record numbers of people are on food stamps, even as our economy has supposedly grown for four years and the employment rate has supposedly shrunk. None of these constitute the second most important issue in America. That would be the name of Washington D.C.’s professional football team.
My commenting on this issue has no personal interest. I could not give a rat’s behind about the NFL. I am a Saturday football guy when teams like the Buckeyes, Bruins, Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish play. But watching the spectacle that has occurred over the name of a team that has existed for 81 years has been quite astonishing.
I am aware of some disruption that has occurred across America over teams named after groups now called “Native Americans.” Well, they were not actually Native Americans because they came from elsewhere also.It is just that they came here before the Europeans. We have to call them Native Americans because someone decided that at some point, and it made some people happy.
It did not exactly make the newly-named Native Americans happy. They are still being segregated on mostly worthless tribal lands. They are still living under the protection of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (who still call them Indians) on supposedly sovereign lands. They have not been mainstreamed into this society and suffer every cultural malady that could possibly occur when you are being helped by our federal government. The only thing that has advanced since they were moved around the country over a century ago is that they now own casinos. Yes, folks, we gave them the right to operate gambling parlors because they live on fictionalized sovereign land. And, of course, we changed their name to Native Americans.
Now we have this fight over the name of the football team. I don’t know what the Native Americans think because I hear conflicting reports. I do know, as a Jew, how I might feel if there were teams named the New Jersey Yids or the Florida Hebs. But those were always derogatory terms. The name of this football team is not. The team name was once honored and used by Native Americans. I don’t think the team took a name because they were dishonoring it. They thought it was a sign of strength. That is why we Jews never had a team named after us. Someone could have named their team the Maccabees. Now that the Israelis have proven to be such effective fighters maybe someone will name their team the Israelis. I think I would be proud.
When I grew up there were derogatory terms for many groups of people, but two that were not were Colored and Negro. "Colored” is obviously what the “C” stands for in NAACP. There is also the United Negro College Fund. Both of these organizations are still thriving with their names intact; but, if you use either of those terms, someone would look at you as if you had a few screws loose. We were then told we had to use the term Black. Then Jesse Jackson comes up with the term African-American and now what we use has to change again.
Yet with all the name changing, where have the Black people gotten? Yes, there have been some advancements with newly-elected officials, but the pace of improvement has been slow.Youth unemployment for Blacks reached a 25-year high in September at 49 percent. The rate of out-of-wedlock births is at 70 percent which is perceived as the prime road to poverty.
This is all about one issue and one issue only: White Liberal Guilt (WLG). That is why these subjects keep on being brought up and this is why these issues move forward.Sometimes WLG spreads beyond the liberals; for example, when we elected our current President who has proven in five years that he is not up to the job in so many ways. It manifests itself when the Stanford Indians became the Stanford Cardinals and adopt the silliest mascot in sports – a tree.
The problem with WLG is it never deals with the underlying problems.It only assuages the feelings of the liberals who get back to their cozy homes in their nice cars where they might write a check to further assuage their feelings.Or they will hold a fundraiser and bemoan the plight of whatever group they currently are focused upon.
A few Native Americans may feel better about themselves if the Washington football team becomes the Senators or the Wildcats. But for most they will still go back to their reservations and the pallid lives aided by a government worker. Now at least they can count their chips.