Proponents of changing the Washington Redskins’ name say a new poll showing overwhelming Native American supporter for keeping the team as is simply shows American Indians are “resilient” to derogatory nicknames.
The Washington Post nationwide survey found that just 9 percent found the team name offensive while 90 percent said they weren’t offended.
Twenty percent of those polled said the issue was important to them.
In general, 21 percent said they thought the term “redskin” was disrespectful of Native Americans while 73 percent said it was not.
Asked if a non-Native called them a “redskin,” 17 percent said they would be offended while 80 percent said they would not.
Just 51 percent of those polled considered themselves football fans.
The Change the Mascot campaign, which has been pressuring Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s name, said the results of the poll “confirm a reality that is encouraging but hardly surprising: Native Americans are resilient and have not allowed the NFL’s decades-long denigration of us to define our own self-image.”
“However, that proud resilience does not give the NFL a license to continue marketing, promoting, and profiting off of a dictionary-defined racial slur — one that tells people outside of our community to view us as mascots,” said Change the Mascot leaders National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter in a joint statement.
“Social science research and first hand experience has told us that this kind of denigration has both visible and unseen consequences for Native Americans in this country,” they added. “This is especially the case for children, who were not polled and who are in a particularly vulnerable position to be bullied by the NFL.”
“It is the 21st century — it is long overdue for Native Americans to be treated not as mascots or targets of slurs, but instead as equals.”