Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Washington Redskins and the founding principles

The whole issue with the name Washington Redskins has me in quandary. The defenders of the name really have to be ignorant of history. The claim that the owner named the team to honor a native American coach is both ludicrous and sad. Even if truth, which is a stretch, the owner was a product of his age and was very racist in a time it was the norm to be racist. The fact that he named his team a racist name only adds an exclamation point to his racism. Today it is norm to hold racist views but deny the term. "I am not racists, I just point to the fact that blacks are drug dealers and lazy, Mexicans are dirty and lazy, and Indians are drunks and lazy."

Lazy has become the new moniker for racist views.

Lazy an individual trait is suddenly transmuted to a whole people group to whitewash a history of oppression and domination. Those who see nothing wrong with the name would likely know more about Custer's last stand than about the Trail of Tears or Wounded Knee. They most likely would not know about the rapes and wholesale genocide committed by the invading European, and justified by the belief that the native Americans where sub-human. That is the true history of the name redskins, a way of degrading a set of humans as to make it easier to abuse them. That is where the name came from, Europeans downgrading another group of humans to justify what can't by any normal human morality.

The problem is that is also seen as a social justice issue. It is not. If tomorrow, or when ever the team changes its name, it will be hailed as a win for the oppressed people by liberals. "See, we force the change of the name. Aren't we so enlightened." While the name change would be a victory, it would be victory only for common decency and no more. It will not change our shameful past of genocide, and it will not help the social condition that many Native Americans find themselves today. The problems they face as a people well not be met by a name change. Many Native American see this. Okay you changed the offensive name of a football team, but our community is still facing the effects of a long and sad history, which you are again ignoring.

It only when start to come to grips with the truth of history and do the hard work and the real work of reconciliation can heal this nation. Jesus sowed a way through forgiveness and reconciliation and it is up to us to follow. America has done some great things, and it has a dark side of genocide, slavery and oppression. But like the Bible says the truth sets us free. Only when we look at our sins and confess them can we transcend them.

Like Martin Luther demanded. It is time to cash the check on the founding principles of this country. For if we are to live up to them, they we must start from the core idea that all men are created equal. If you do not, we fail the promise of America.