Two decades ago the WaPo condemned the use of “Redskins.” A generation later, by god they’re doing something about it. Sorta.
Way back in 1992 the Washington Post concluded that “the time-hallowed name bestowed upon the local National Football League champions — the Redskins — is really pretty offensive.” (Emphasis mine.)
A rough estimate based on occurrences of “redskin” in a WaPo site search going back to 2005 suggests that they have since deployed the offensive term ~83,000 times.
Today they announced they will no longer use the term. By “they,” I mean the editorial board. The news and sports divisions will carry on being pretty offensive.
Small victories are better than none at all, huh?
On the one hand, it’s nice to see someone as influential as the Post ed board doing the right thing. On the other hand, well, how many of you take 22 years – more than a goddamned generation – to stop doing something once you conclude that it’s wrong? They wrote that piece when George Bush – the Elder – was still president.
There may once have been a golden age of journalism where we could count on our iconic newspapers to promote thoughtful reflection and act as voices for justice in our communities, but if there was those days are long past. Today we can count on our media institutions, those shiny engines of marketing and corporate profit, to do the right thing if, and only if, it’s clear that doing so won’t “negatively impact” the bottom line.
Way to crawl out on a limb, ed board. I know, I know, there are still a lot of Washington fans out there who are clinging to their beloved brand, but if you’ve been paying attention you know we’ve passed the tipping point. It’s not a question of if the name is going to change, only when (and to what). In this respect, it’s like marriage equality. There are still holdouts fighting for the lost cause, but in court after court after court, including some in deep red states, it has been concluded that preventing gays from marrying is unconstitutional and even a slew of GOP leaders have waved the white flag.
When you wait until the tipping point is clearly past, you’re merely hopping a bandwagon.
So today let’s not praise the Insider Inquirer for bravely taking a stand on a controversial issue. Let’s ask what took them so fucking long.
But if they do get a lot of compliments for their courage and leadership, expect the Post to come out forcefully against rape, slavery and the Alien and Sedition Acts any day now.
Meanwhile, at least five stories posted today use the pretty offensive term….