So, what is in a name?

Jun 19, 2014
Tagged with: So, what is in a name?

Over the last few days the issues of derogative names and language have been part of an interesting discussion in our sport world. As a matter of fact it has been going on over the past few months if you include a certain west coast owner of a basketball team and an apologetic horse owner. Today, we are dealing with another professional sport team that is dealing with a similar issue.

The Washington Redskins are part of the billion dollar industry of the NFL . Now, the Redskin word may not have the same sting as what was said by the owner of the Clippers basketball team, however, this issue is in close proximity. A group of Americans have expressed that the use of this word Redskin has the same derogative connotation.

The word Redskin has even led a federal agency to cancel the patent on the Redskin trade mark registration. The jury is still out on what will become of this action. Social media has been buzzing with resolving this issue.

I am not Native American or African American, but I am still an American with a disability. No doubt any name, language and attitude can become so pervasive in our society that we can become desensitize to its true meaning. That seems to be the case here. Thus, it is very important to discuss such issues with the hopes of resolution.

Now, does changing the name of the Redskins erase all the years of pain brought to Native Americans. No. Erasing the N word from our dictionary would not change the past for African Americans.

However, in the case for people with disabilities eliminating derogative words and educating Americans with person first language could help shed light on a past filled with accessibility issues, failed employment and academic opportunities. Not to mention the secondary health conditions brought on by obesity due to lack of fitness opportunities. How these are issues in which there are resources available to make changes. The embracing of person first language is one of the resources that could very much change the misguided perception and mindset that people in our society may still hold. This whole issue with the Redskins, the horse owner, and the basketball owner is an opportunity to address language and attitude issues in our country. Not to mention of having the hopes of everyone realizing that people with disabilities are people first and foremost. Gone are the days when we use offensive remarks to categorize disability and refer to people with disabilities by their disability.

However, before we even get to this point it must be recognized that as a society we must not become oblivious that language and attitude are vital in shaping our society. It is only through recognizing the importance of language that we gain knowledge. It is imperative that we must continue to educate, discuss, and bring awareness in order to change the mindset of our culture. This demonstrates progress and opportunity. Isn’t this what being part of America is all about?

So, what’s in a name? Could it possibly mean a more educated society and a better tomorrow?

What are your thoughts on the whole Redskin issue is it offensive and should it be removed from the team?


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Author: Bob Lujano