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.
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31
Continue reading Don Lemon Asks: Is Redskins The New N-Word For Native Americans? + Kevin Hart Weighs In