Is this strictly "No Politics" for NPF?

No. But since it is ostensibly about football and you were deprived of a real post on Thursday I feel it is appropriate to bring you the great philosopher of race Thomas Sowell, currently serving a lifetime appointment as the Token Black Guy of the C- and D-list right-wing columnists who populate Intellectual Chernobyl, as he takes on the hubbub over the name "Washington Redskins." Remember the key right wing rule: If we pay a black person to say it, it can't be racist! Without further delay…here we go.

Bob Costas is one of the premier sportscasters and a very smart guy, so it was somewhat surprising to see him join the chorus of those decrying the fact that the owner of the Washington Redskins is resisting the pressures to change the name of his football team.

If he is a very smart guy then it is the opposite of surprising that he would conclude that the name "Redskins" – you know, an actual explicit reference to labeling a group of people by skin color – is offensive. It fits in well with some of the other major sports franchises like the Arizona Wetbacks, New York Heebs, Chicago Darkies, and Boston Impotent Drunks, except that none of those are real and Washington Redskins is.

The argument is that American Indians are offended by the name, though there is no compelling evidence that most American Indians are worked up about it.

Nor is there any evidence that anyone intended the name to be insulting, either by this team or any number of other sports teams that have called themselves some variation of the name "Indians."

You guys know Thomas Sowell, right? The coon who writes for Town Hall?

Oh come on, I had no intention of insulting anyone there. I was just using a neutral, descriptive adjective. There's no evidence that this was offensive.

After all, neither individuals nor teams give themselves names that they consider insulting, whether they are calling themselves Indians, Vikings or The Fighting Irish.

Well, Notre Dame was a bunch of Irish priests deciding to call themselves the Fighting Irish. "Vikings" is the actual name of a group of people. So as long as there is an Indian tribe called "Redskins" or the team is owned by Indians, this analogy makes sense.


Nevertheless, Dartmouth, Stanford and other colleges that once called their teams Indians succumbed to the politically correct pressures and changed their names. But that is no reason why the Washington Redskins should succumb to those pressures.

Well colleges are a bit different, as many are full of people who like to think about things.

Among the reasons why they should not is the fact that being offended is one of the tactics of a race hustling industry that is doing more harm to Indians and other minorities than any name is likely to do. Some people are in the business of being offended, just as Campbell is in the business of making soup.

That kind of analogy is what separates the real Pro Writers from the rank amateurs. I will overlook the grammatical error and bask in the delicious irony of someone who makes a living writing right-wing opinion columns accusing someone else of making a career out of being offended. This is on Town Hall for chrissakes, the website that raised phony histrionics to an art form. Is there an example of any of these hack ass-clowns doing anything other than working themselves into a disingenuous lather over something that isn't even true?

No. No there is not. That's why Town Hall uses the overly-literal motto, "Hack Ass-Clowns Working Ourselves into a Lather Over Shit We Fabricate." Clunky, but it gets the point across.

Shelby Steele's best-selling book "White Guilt" provides sharp insights into the many counterproductive consequences of white guilt that can be exploited by race hustlers, to the detriment of blacks and whites alike. The sports team gambit is just one of many.

So…someone who writes a book called "White Guilt" and sells a million copies to angry white people is…not?…a "race hustler"?

So long as the race industry — the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons, and their counterparts in various minorities — can get political or financial mileage out of being offended, they are going to be offended.

Don't forget the Shelby Steeles and Thomas Sowells! Unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of "race hustler", which would seem to encompass someone who writes a book for right-wing America about how "various minorities" are engaged in a devious plot to manufacture racism.

The only thing that will put a stop to this racket is refusing to be taken in by it or intimidated by it.

How brave! How noble!

I've got an idea, Thomas. Go up to an Indian and say "Hey, redskin!" To his face. Try it with several different people, or maybe even shout it at a group of people. Report back.

Looked at in isolation, Bob Costas' opinion about the names of sports teams is one that reasonable people might agree or disagree with.

And as soon as we can find some "reasonable people" in the Right Wing Media Daisy Chain for Satantm I bet we'll have one hell of a productive conversation. Until then it's just more THE COLORED PEOPLE ARE TAKING OVER AND THE WORLD YOU'VE KNOWN FOR 75 YEARS IS CHANGING!!!111!! nonsense. Same flimsy product, same audience.

But, unfortunately, this issue is not something that exists in isolation.

No, Thomas, it sure doesn't. Taken in isolation, this single sentence could be interpreted as evidence that you understand things. But let's take that sliver of hope out behind the barn and put a bullet in its brain, shall we?

It is part of a whole grievance-generating campaign that poisons race relations. That campaign is conducted not only by the race industry but also by all too many in the media and in the education system, from elementary schools to the universities.

Minorities poison race relations, not the Town Hall audience. Not Michelle Malkin. Not Trent Lott. Not Rush Limbaugh.

Got it. Makes perfect sense. Let's applaud the group of people who are upset that they can't paint their faces and dress like "indians" or shout "fag" in public anymore without getting dirty looks. They're the reasonable people here. Not those nasty minorities.

Young blacks are especially susceptible to the message that all their problems are caused by white people — and that white society is never going to give them a chance. In short, they are primed to resent and hate individuals they have never seen before and who have never done a thing to them.

Well let's go ahead and redact this since it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at all.

Thomas Sowell, professional journalist.

Social dynamite can accumulate among whites as well as among blacks. White extremist hate groups already exist, though they are a fringe, as the Nazis were once a disdained fringe in Germany. It was the people's loss of confidence in the respectable institutions of society that gave the Nazis their chance for power.

We're back. He's about to compare "political correctness" to Nazism. As all good writers know, nothing shouts CREDIBLE quite like comparing people to the Nazis.

Especially when comparing racial minorities to Nazis.

The blind and dishonest political correctness of our media and educational institutions on racial issues today can eventually forfeit the confidence of Americans and give similar extremist groups their chance to ignite a race war in the United States. And once a race war starts, it can be virtually impossible to stop.

Shorter Thomas Sowell: If we change the name of the Washington Redskins, it will start a race war. Because there's this race hustler industry of minorities so I guess they would be the ones starting it? Not the spitting-mad, elderly white shut-ins that form the Other Side of this issue?

Well, I sure don't like race wars, so…we'd better continue to allow white football fans and NFL owners to call themselves "Redskins." The logic is pretty flawless. Will that be enough to avert the race war, or do I also have to lobby Liberal Academia to let students go on White Power rants in class and claim academic freedom?

I wish there were an easier way. But so be it, Thomas. So be it.


  • I normally find FJMs to be enormously enjoyable–they're certainly the columns that I re-read more than any other–but not this one. Not because Ed is anything other than his usual pithy, sensible, self, but because–and maybe this is just my Easily Manipulated White Guilt talking–this subject just isn't funny. White racists, I get. I truly do. I don't approve, or condone, but I think that any large group of people, given the opportunity to be thoughtless bullies without fear of consequence, will find themselves drawn into that kind of behavior, and will quickly justify said behavior with an elaborate ideology of specious bullshit about how the bullied in some way deserve it. White racism is, no question, worse than any other kind, because it has the most far-reaching, serious, life-ruining consequences for the most people. So if there's any kind of racism that has to be addressed vigorously, relentlessly, and cruel-to-be-kind mercilessly, it's white racism.


    There is a special place in hell for the minority apologist. For the enabler. For the Judenrat.* For Phyllis Schlafly. For the one who knows what it is to be despised for who s/he is–not what s/he's done, or said, but who s/he is–and to say, "Hey, let's all try to see it from the Big Guy's perspective." My only–slight–hesitation in consigning this shitheel to the firey pit is maybe, just maybe, there's some kind of horrific Stockholm-syndrome going on–I could almost believe that. Because growing up black in America SUCKS. Not always, not always intensely–but compared to growing up white, it SUCKS. And it sucks because white people really don't see any problem with things like "Redskins." "Because hey, if we're not literally killing them, we're not racists." There's this thing we're all entitled to, Mr. Sowell–perhaps you've heard of it: Dignity. And despite what the feel-goods will tell you, it IS something that other people can deprive you of. "Redskins" does that. But you know that. You absolutely fucking KNOW that. So does Clarence Thomas. So does Ben Carson.

    And the fact that none of you gives a shit–the fact that you have the one advantage that your white racist colleagues lack–genuine empathy based on experience–means that I can't laugh at you. Plain ol' white racism, for all of its considerable evil, is quite funny at times–state legislators who say with straight faces that people who object to the Confederate Flag flying over the state capital are just "ignorant of history"–come on, that's fucking FUNNY. But you? You are not funny. You're a monster. And a coward. And a traitor to the pain suffered by people who are punished for a condition you yourself have: being something other than what brutal, evil idiots consider "normal."

    I've got my own problems–I've got a mote in my own eye, I don't deny it. Like most children of privilege, I am what I call "a recovering racist"–mine takes the form of frequently forgetting that others who have suffered don't see this world the same way I do. But I work at it. I listen to what I say, and accept the criticism when I fail, and resolve to do better. I'm not, then, in any position to judge.

    Except that even I get–with immediate, "well of course" recognition of its self-evidence, that "Redskins" is a racist label that could easily be changed without costing the fans of the Washington team anything of what they truly love about the game and their local players. It is an easy, painless correction to make. Even I see that.

    Which means that you do, too–you have to. And we both know why–because you've been treated with racism your whole damned life, and you know it when you see it.

    And that you would argue…what you've argued here…Well. All I can say is: It's not funny. And it's not sad. It's the small, low horror of the hollow man. That's all.

    * I, too, can make a Nazi-era comparison. Only mine is, you see, Mr. Sowell, appropriate.

  • So let me see if I've got this correct:

    If you're smart and reasonable, you will accept a background level of racism which really isn't racism. By doing so, confidence in the social structures will be maintained. Otherwise we (the Right) will unleash our fringe elements who will go all, "invade Poland and fire up the ovens on yo' ass!"

    Did I miss anything?

  • I noticed that he omitted the greatest race baiter of all time, Obama. Seriously dude. How can you overlook his race baiting with the Trayvon Martin thing. Consider your licence as a right wing columnist formally revoked, please surrender your laptop.

  • "How brave! How noble!

    I've got an idea, Thomas. Go up to an Indian and say "Hey, redskin!" To his face. Try it with several different people, or maybe even shout it at a group of people. Report back."

    I've got an idea, Ed. Go up to a Pole and say "Hey, Polack!" To his face. Try it with several different people, or maybe even shout it at a group of people. Report back.

    See how mirrors work?

  • middle seaman says:

    Since English is my 4th language, I make no promises of perfect grammar. "Our" Black/Jew/Indian/Arab/Roma etc. is a fact of life. Uncle Sewell (Tom among his friends I presume) is the right's bullet proof vest. They have, as mentioned above, quite a few vests. Antisemitic Jews are plenty. Human Right Watch is a Jewish top heavy organization dedicated to violating the rights of Israeli Jews. frequently, you'll hear an Arab spewing bile about Arabs or the Korean. And so on.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    J. Dryden,
    You said it better than I could!
    AND using less word-turds!!!!!
    Thanks for the day off.

    Great post, Ed.
    I see two nit/dim/half/f*ck-wit trolls (but I repeat repeat repeat repeat myself) have chimed in.
    Ignore them.

  • The Onion (doing what only The Onion can do) addressed this issue with an article entitled "Redskins' Kike Owner Refuses to Change Team's Offensive Name.",34292/

    I am Jewish yet I found the irony pretty hysterical. Because I am not that easily offended and I get it. But I linked the article to a FB sports discussion group one guy (who happens to be Black) thought it was over the top and another was called Hitler when he shared it to another group.

    As far as I was concerned, the only low hanging fruit the Onion missed was suggesting that the team name be changed to the Washington Foreskins.

  • @c u n d gulag
    Pointing out hypocrisy makes me a troll?
    Being offended by ethnic slurs makes me a troll?

    Then a troll I shall be.

  • From where most thinking people sit, head's free from their cavernous asses, the idea that a particular ethnic or cultural group might reclaim the slurs that were/are used against them isn't so disturbing as to cause them to go troll blog comment sections.

  • I will will only refer to them as the Washington Foreskins from now on. Problem solved.

    Thanks to Rosie's Dad!

  • @Upeople

    WTF are you talking about? Hypocrisy? Does Ed own a major sports franchise called The Polacks or something?

    Seriously, I have no idea what you're trying to say.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    Sowell has also reported that there are "innumerable" organized black gang attacks on whites all the time, but of course the weaselly MSM ignores them, which I guess is why they cannot be enumerated. Those gangs are organized! And nobody is paying attention!

    He is scared that when the Race War gets started nobody will show up.

  • A handful of commentators cleverer than myself have suggested that the team be allowed to keep the "Redskins" name, but change their logo to a potato.

  • @Major Kong: The Fighting Polacks are actually a Pittsburgh franchise in the American Roller Derby League.

  • I'm not sure I've understood the equivalency Upeople is trying to make. But as a Polack, I would point out that Polacks really don't think of "Polack" as a pejorative term. (I mean, it even sounds friendly.)
    But "Redskin" is and always has been a pejorative term. It's meant to be insulting, to label someone as less than human. That's the critical difference.

  • I don't know why you're all worked up about Sowell's column – the Darkie makes a good point or two. Incidentally, it would be most amusing if his acquaintances began referring to him publicly as "the Darkie", but of course that's probably too much to ask. However, I ought to point out that Sowell's stupidity is a pretty common one. Skin color, like any other group-identification factor, is commonly used as shorthand, often with a complete blindness to any sort of self-awareness. My (Chinese-American) wife, for instance, uses "white" and "black" as ID labels all the time, but when I talked about one of her friends as "yellow", she was rather offended. It simply never occurred to her that she was using a double standard. Human nature – it's only racism if my group is the target.

  • I think Ed's point is that if "Redskin" really isn't a pejorative term, as Mr. Sowell claims, it shouldn't be a problem calling someone one to their face.

    It's certainly not a term I'd go casually throwing around in a place with a large Native American population.

  • I also really don't understand why this is controversial. Why would anyone care what a professional sports team is called? A bunch of people not from the region they supposedly play for, owned by one or more remote mill/billionaires, extorting tax breaks and free stadiums from the taxpayers.
    A more accurate name for the team would be the "Washington NFL Franchise Investment Trust and Tax Shelter". Yaaaay! Goooo, Investments!

    Seriously. What difference could it possibly make to change the team name? Why would anyone give a shit? I really don't understand sports fandom.

  • Major Kong –

    Yeah! With a band in pinstripes playing "The March of the Briefcase Pimps!"

    Am thinking of framing today's essay, having encountered various local newspaper blog twits who think Thomas Sowell is The Spokesman For The Black Race and that Townhall is serious intellectual discussion.

  • Tasty FJM.

    J. Dryden, do you have a blog? I'd read it. Your comment made me want to start a huge reply (identification with the oppressor, Clarence Thomas, the empowerment of Libertarian fantasies, how some people think Only My Oppression Counts, etc.,) so think twice before you answer.

    As for people who say Native Americans shouldn't mind being stereotyped with a racial pejorative, or that name-calling a member of a privileged class is equivalent to name-calling a member of an oppressed minority, go home, read a book (Unlearning Racism is a good start,) and come back tomorrow.

    While I understand that as a non-Native American I don't get to decide whether they should be offended by the term "redskin", I know that I don't like it. Skin color as difference is not a cool nickname. A term used to mark a group for harassment and killing is not a cool nickname. Using a racial group as human mascots is dehumanizing in a sinister way.

    And please don't mention the white mascot teams. "Viking" is a job description, not a racial epithet, and the Fightin' Irish have a leprechaun, for crying out loud. It's not the same.

  • I'll admit, the thought that an ethnic-derived team name might be considered more offensive than football itself didn't occur to me, I try not to think about football at all, but I suppose it's reasonable that someone would be offended by an involuntary association with the autumnal concussion-fest. BTW, it seems more sporting to use team names likely to offend folks in a better position to, uh, demonstrate how offended they are.

  • Who gives a shit what the Washington Whitedogs call themselves. Ohh, right, I do. Which is why this year whenever I encounter "football", I refer to them as the Washington Whitedogs. Polite company, impolite company, watching "football" at The Pub, talking about it with those who now call me elder. The Washington Whitedogs.

    No fear.

  • Tom Sowell is a honkin' bozo. Not only is he a sophist idiot, I've never read anything by him that remotely approached cleverness. Shoot, even Jonah Goldberg can fart out something that reeks of amusement once in a blue moon. Sowell is dim, dull, boring, and wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • And another thing: He's been pimping this "blacks are gonna engage in race war!" schtick for years now. It's revolting.

  • Just for myself? I kind of wonder why corporations get to keep making money off using Amerindian names….like the Jeep Cherokee, and a brand name of clothing somewhere out there?

    I'm a bit sick of being told to just be good and quiet because we can't roil the waters or rock the boat.

  • @Ladiesbane: What about the UNColo (intramural) "Fighting Whites"? Admittedly not all that professional, despite their impeccable credentials, but I like their logo.
    Their online store ( ) seems to be still active if you want to be a Fightin' Whites athletic supporter!

  • Shelby Steele is black, FYI. He lives in a palace over-looking Monterey Bay. Uncle Tom-ism pays very, very well. He also has a white wife, which means he totally isn't racist, or something. And he and Sowell are buddies at the Hoover Insitute.

  • Wait, what? Nazi's were a disdained fringe in Germany? When, exactly, was that? The Nazi party and its forerunners might have been small and not very powerful, but disdained? Not really.

  • The rteam in doc is so clearly wrong hat there can be no sane defense. However I also think that some of these arguments do go to far. The braves are no more insulting as a team name than the Vikings, both are references tonthe warrior class of a particular group.

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    "…as the Nazis were once a disdained fringe in Germany."

    A disdained fringe?
    A disdained FRINGE?

    They ran the country. They killed six million Jews. THEY STARTED A FUCKING WORLD WAR THAT KILLED UPWARDS OF 60 MILLION PEOPLE.

    Quite a fringe, that.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    ladiesbane, I agree with you about j Dryden. I wonder if he is a relative of Kenny, hero goaltender of the Montreal Frogs.

  • Well, thanks, J Dryden.

    I had all this piss and vinegar and your opus just took the starch right out (to mix metaphors….and make a terrible, gawd-awful salad dressing).

    LOL. I guess I have a few extra moments to catch up with the family.

    Well done, sir.

  • Given that I studied this and actually interviewed Charlene Teters for a college paper, some of these comments are… sigh.

    Where to begin.

    1. Native American mascots and any similar imagery promotes a stereotype/message that American Indians are something from the past and not real, live, and often extemely disadvantaged people.
    2. 'Fighting Irish' was chosen by Irish people, 'Vikings' was chosen by Scandanavians, 'Packers' referred to employees at a meat packing plant, and so on and so forth, until you get to 'Braves', 'Indians', and of course, the racial slur that plays in our nation's capitol. Those names were not cosen by Indians, but by the people who looked at them as something from the past because their ancestors killed them all. (So not directly, but anyone not Native has benefitted from everything bad that happened to Native Americans) Salt in the wound at best.
    3. The whole sacred aspect – feathers on a head signify something sacred/important and to put it on the floor and run around on it is offensive.
    4. I can't remember other reasons right now, so I'll sum up with my own hypothesis, which is that if American Indians weren't in such horrible poverty, if their rights to self determination were actually respected, then maybe (just maybe) they wouldn't give two shits about anything other than the Washington football team and Cleveland's Red Sambo mascot. Of course, 1, 2, and 3 would still (mostly) apply.

    Sorry to be the asshole, but if you aren't Native and haven't, you know, listened to Native Americans, don't assume you know what shouldn't offend them.

  • @TenBears: unfortunately "Whitedog" doesn't elicit the same reaction in whites. Calling them the Washington Trailer Trash might work. Or the Washington Meth Cookers. If we could get them to "relocate" to Virginia we could call them the Virginia Sounders (that has a silent ultra- btw).

  • As they admits, them rowdy Micks took "Fighting Irish" on themselves:

    "Notre Dame competed under the nickname "Catholics" during the 1800s and became more widely known as the "Ramblers" during the early 1920s in the days of the Four Horsemen.

    "The term [Fighting Irish] likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution. Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized it in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s….

    "University president Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C., officially adopted "Fighting Irish" as the Notre Dame nickname in 1927. "

    — from Notre Dame's web history of "Fighting Irish."t

  • Another thing is: Vikings no longer exist. And there was no brutal genocide committed against them. And they aren't being named the "Vikings" by the same nation that stomped on them.

    For the most part, I think it's OK to have a team named after an "extinct" culture. Like Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Vikings, Visigoths. Provided that they're not in the same unique position as Native Americans. There are no Ancient Egyptians around to be offended by the Washington Pharaohs. And modern Egyptians are so unlike them in so many ways that they'd really have no legitimate reason to be offended by them. AND our country/people who settled our continent didn't kill millions of Ancient Egyptians and otherwise dick over Ancient Egyptians for the last couple hundred years. AND there are no Ancient Egyptians around living in crushing poverty for a bunch of systemic reasons. AND there are no Ancient Egyptians around to suffer from caricatures of mummies or Pharaohs.

  • "…as the Nazis were once a disdained fringe in Germany."

    A disdained fringe?
    A disdained FRINGE?

    They ran the country. They killed six million Jews. THEY STARTED A FUCKING WORLD WAR THAT KILLED UPWARDS OF 60 MILLION PEOPLE.

    Quite a fringe, that.

    I think what Sowell's saying here is that all the disenfranchised minorities who are running around demanding to be treated like human beings and equal citizens before the law are pissing off the privileged white dudes, who are going to turn around and go all Anders Breivik on us lee-bruhls. Therefore we non-whites (I am one) should stop acting so uppity and be grateful for the crumbs that get thrown our way. Kind of like in a domestic violence situation, wherein a dude beats the shit out of his wife once in a while–but at least he doesn't do it every night; some college and NFL teams are using racial slurs and appropriating Native culture for their team rituals (Florida State Seminoles are notorious for this; a friend who is an alum from there was pushing me to go there, and I'm glad I didn't), and modern Natives are living with crushing poverty after having had their lands stolen, but, um, at least there's no more fighting, so, um, that's something?

  • @ ladiesbane: Only very, very, very, very technically do I have a blog. Ed's been kind enough to keep the link up–Notes From The Midwest–in the roster of the Coalition of the Willing, but alert readers will note that my last entry was…some time ago. Like, back when Ann Coulter was relevant to the national discourse. So, while I've given thought to returning to it, I mostly confine myself to latching, remora-like, to Ed's great white shark of a blog. (The great white shark being, without exception, the most bad-ass animal in the history of ever, as my 6th-grade-science-report-delivering-self will confirm.) Sorry to digress from the topic at hand–direct question, impolite not to give a direct answer, that kind of thing. (Oh, and no, I don't know or share traceable kinship with Kenneth, though I'd clearly be honored to do so.)

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