An offensive word that many people hate and think should be banned.
Others say not so fast, there’s nothing wrong with using the word, especially when we’re talking about a group of people we hold dear, like, even love.
Sounds like I’m talking about the n-word, which has been debated, discussed and reported countless times, but I’m not.
This time it’s the dreaded r-word, Redskins, as in the Washington football team.
For years now there’s been a push to force the team to change its name.
Some fans, and of course Native Americans find the term racially offensive.
Others say it’s just the name of a team, lighten up, it’s a tradition.
But, just this week the United States Patent and Trademark office stripped the team of its trademark protection, calling the team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
That means the team’s profits from the word will probably shrink because others can now legally use it to sell products and/or merchandise.
Small victory for those who wanted the name outright banned because it doesn’t mean the team has to relinquish the name; the owner has vowed he wouldn’t’.
Last summer when I when I researched and then hosted an hour long special on CNN about the n-word, for historical context, I started by reporting on the history and origin of the word.
Let’s do the same now for Redskin.
According to the Oxford Dictionary the first recorded use of the word was in the late 17th century in reference to Algonquian people, one of the largest Native American groups who lived in Southern New York State, New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania.
Originally the term was not a reference to their skin color, but to the color of the face and body paint they used in ritual traditions.
But according to Oxford, “through a process that in linguistics is called pejoration, by which a neutral term acquires an unfavorable connotation or denotation, Redskin lost its neutral, accurate descriptive sense and became a term of disparagement.”
Redskins, Red man and Red Indian were all used by Brits and Americans to distinguish between Indians from India and so-called Indians or Native Americans.
It is very similar to the way Negro became the pejorative N-I-G-G-E-R to distinguish Africans living in Africa from Africans living in the United States.
Either way you cut it, no matter the origin a word, if over time it has become a slur, a dig or an insult, should you use it, even if it is the name of your favorite team?
My personal opinion is no, but you decide.
At the very least though, before you defend using it, you should probably know where it came from and what it means.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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