“To say that the use of the term ‘Redskins’ is well-intentioned or that it is not meant to be objectionable sidesteps the real issue. This is not a term fashioned by American Indians.
“The nickname was assigned to them, just as the pejorative designation ‘darkies’ was once imposed on African American slaves. That was wrong then; this is wrong now. That the usage is common and innocently repeated out of habit makes it no less of an insensitive or insulting remark to those who are on the receiving end. We can do better.”
That is what we wrote in March 1992 when we endorsed an effort by the District of Columbia Council to convince Washington’s football franchise to change its name. Jack Kent Cooke, then owner of the team, didn’t even deign to consider the matter. His successor, Daniel Snyder, dug in even further. “We’ll never change the name,” he said in 2013.
But the issue — as so often with matters of principle — never went away.
Now, finally, belatedly, there are grounds for wary optimism that we all may soon be able to call the team by its name — a new one that is devoid of hurt and insult, that all Washingtonians will be able to proudly embrace. Snyder announced that the team will undertake a “thorough review” of the team’s name. That sounds like a recognition that the nation’s sensibilities about what is acceptable, desirable or tolerable have been unalterably changed by the debate about racial and social equality sparked by the death of George Floyd.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WASHINGTON POST