Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Redskins argument: who is involved in this discussion?


Since we recently discussed a similar topic, I thought I would post this article. However, it wasn't the argument that I found interesting here. Instead, I found it interesting who had a voice, especially in this article. You'll note that nothing referring to race occurs in the article until towards the end, and then it is through a quote. The quote is from John Banzhaf, the George Washington law professor, who filed the petition with FCC, claiming that the name Redskins violates federal rules that disallows "indecent content"--whatever that really means, the article doesn't define it for us. John Banzhaf is not really new to media attention apparently. I did some brief research, and apparently he is a big anti-smoking activist, as well as activism towards healthier eating (e.g., attacking fast food corporations). As far as I can tell he has not had a great interest in Native American activism before, nor does he seem to be a Native American. However, he is the predominant voice that is speaking for Native Americans in this situation.

The other players are the FCC, who are currently "reviewing the filing," and the Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who refuses to changes the name of the team.

The FCC seems to be playing a weird mediator, with Banzhaf and Synder on both sides of the argument. So where are the voices of the Native Americans that are being oppressed? This is all that the article says, "American Indians argue that the term is an ethnic slur and is deeply offensive." We aren't given any more information about who this group of American Indians are or what they think of Banzhaf's petition.

In other words, I find it very strange that there is only one sentence in this whole article that tells us what Native Americans supposedly think. Shouldn't they have more of a voice in this debate since they are the ones being oppressed by the name?

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