Among the dumbest arguments against changing the Washington team’s mascot has been that that would mean Oklahoma would have to change its name. Idiots. But a simple epiphany revealed on a Harrisonburg radio talk show captures the kind of lightbulb moments that will lead to the inevitable outcome.
One morning a fellow on WSVA 550 who had been on the fence about the controversy announced he had changed his opinion about the team name. The conversion came while watching a rerun of an old Daniel Boone television series episode. The story centered on a Native American child that was being enrolled in the frontier school. The telling scene was when the youth approached and was peppered by his classmates with clearly derogatorily intended pejoratives including the “R” word. In context and told by a series that originally aired in an era when we were much more embarrassed by our prejudices, the true message and meanness of the term rang out.
“…it has ties to a time when bounties were paid for the scalps of American Indians…it is a racial slur like any other racial slur that we wouldn’t print in the pages of a family newspaper.” – The Oklahoman Online
At about the same time, those “insensitive” Oklahomans in one school district were deciding to remove that nickname from the teams at Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City despite “tradition.” You see Oklahomans, in a state named for the red people, can distinguish the difference.
The Oklahoma City School Board, after listening to the impassioned pleas from students, teachers and a district official who characterized the 88-year-old nickname as offensive and harmful – particularly to American Indian students – voted 8-0 to make the change. – The Oklahoman Online
There were many alumni that opposed the change in the name of tradition. And unlike the team in DC, the Oklahoma City school’s teams and alumni have a consistent history of accomplishment. But part of that tradition includes exclusion originating in the years when the name was adopted. You know, when the high school was lilywhite.
“I was actually surprised about how well-received it was. I thought that I would have to do more education on our end to let them learn about the word,” said Star Yellowfish, the district’s administrator for American Indian student services. “But they get it. They got it, and they care about our kids…It is important to know the powerful image that is brought to mind when our people hear this word,” she said.
Snyder ought to get this over, fire his General Manager, and get on with letting someone build a team that Washington can be proud of instead of being an international embarrassment.