The Redskins are changing their name. For some, the move is far too late. For others, it is not even warranted.
The stark polarization surrounding the Washington Redskins name debate is emblematic of a toxic modern political environment, in which unreasonable absolutes are pedestaled, veiled as stances of strength, and not the avenues to ignorance which they are.
Some feel that the term “Redskins” does not slander Native Americans, but instead honors them and upholds their representation as they attempt to rebuild. Others feel that the term has always had a pejorative connotation as a slur, and mobilizes a sports franchise to profit off of the exploitation of a dwindling, desecrated nation.
Corporations have moved past this discussion on the origins and meanings of the term. They have already levied the judgement that the name is no longer fit to accompany a professional sports franchise, and they have made their position known to Dan Snyder. Several business partners, such as FedEx and Pepsi, have requested a name change, and Nike has pulled all of its Redskins gear off of its site.
Members of one extreme applaud the stand taken by these companies, and question the morality of those who still support the name due to their emotional ties to the franchise. Members of the opposite extreme dismiss the movement to change as correction gone too far, and disregard the possibility of offense toward Native Americans.
The truth, as is almost always the case, lies somewhere in the middle, at the center of a suffocating crossfire exchange. In this article, we will try to reach it objectively, and help both sides understand the complexity of the issue, and foster empathy for opposing viewpoints.