Native American activist: 'Washington Post' poll on Redskins name is 'immoral'
The poll, which found that 90 percent of Native Americans weren't offended by the team name, is not representative of Native American communities, the activist says
Last week, a Washington Post poll found that 9 of 10 Native Americans weren't offended by the "Redskins" name. Not surprisingly, the Washington football team lauded the findings, though that shouldn't be misinterpreted as everyone thinking that the name is acceptable.
Hours after the Post published its findings, the Change the Mascot campaign issued a statement that the Redskins shouldn't profit off a "dictionary-defined racial slur." And on Friday, a group of Native American leaders and activists held a conference call to further condemn the findings.
According to the Associated Press, California State San Bernardino sociology professor James Fenelon called the poll "immoral," saying it wasn't representative of Native American communities. And National Congress of American Indians executive director Jackie Pata said, "This issue is not about polling. This issue is about human rights."
Pata and Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter voiced similar concerns last week, too.
"The results of this 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," Pata and Halbritter said at the time, via Sports Bog. "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.
"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. 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."
Meanwhile, DC councilmember David Grosso, who first demanded a name change three years ago, reiterated to the AP that the government wouldn't support the team moving back into the District until "Redskins" was dropped. In light of the recent Post poll, and owner Dan Snyder's comments from May 2014 -- "We'll never change [the team's name]. It's that simple. NEVER. You can use caps." -- don't expect the team to budge anytime soon.
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