The Washington Redskins are seriously considering changing their name. This has a been a topic for quite a few years that I can recall, but now, they seem much more serious about it, especially since FedEx, Nike and federal officials have put some pressure on them to do so. Nike has reportedly removed all merchandise containing the Redskins name and logo from their website.
As for Aunt Jemima, Quaker Oats decided to remove the logo and change the name based on its racist roots.
Both instances have received a very predictable response, especially from white Conservatives. They are all along the same lines: Complaining about how these changes will “ruin America,” how the offended people are “whiny little bitches,” “PC culture,” yada yada yada. Been there and done that. Nothing original. They all read from the same playbook.
Here is what I, as a black man, find so humorous about the white folks who tell on themselves like this. I’ll start with the Redskins.
The Redskins are an all-time .500 team, as of today. That means they have won the same number of games they have lost (603-603), and in their history, they have finished games in ties 28 times. As of late, the Redskins have not been a consistently good team. This means that with the exception of those who live in Washington, D.C., those who grew up there, or those who live in Baltimore (about 40 miles away) and flocked to the Redskins during the years Baltimore did not have a team (1984-1996), there are not a mess of Redskins fans out there. That means basic math should dictate that many of those complaining about this change are likely not Redskins fans at all.
In regard to Aunt Jemima, she was based on the common enslaved “mammy” archetype, which was a plump black woman with a headscarf and was a submissive servant. The company decided on their own to begin the process of changing the logo and name.
That’s right. Black people did not even request for them to do this. In fact, descendants of the woman Aunt Jemima was based on specifically said they did not agree with the change. A lot of black people echoed this, stating that changing things like this are merely gestures, but do little in the ways of fixing the ongoing issue in this country, and that is police brutality.
So, what is exactly is wrong with a team choosing to change a name and logo out of respect for what it represents? As a white person, what are you specifically losing by them changing the name? As a black man and football fan, even if I were a fan of the team, my empathy for someone other than myself makes this an easy thing not to get bent out of shape over. The only reason I would want this to remain is because I would not want for them to show respect to those who are offended.
Oh…right. I used a foreign word to many of you…empathy.
For Aunt Jemima…a company says that their logo and name has racist roots, so they decide to change it. Even if you absolutely love the product, at worst, you will have to keep tabs on what they change it to and remember that when you go to shop. That’s it. The product itself is not changing at all. And again…black people did not ask for this change.
So what in the world are you so bent out of shape about? You mean you’re allowed to be offended, but no one else is? How exactly does that work?
The only reason I would be angry about a company changing something from racist roots would be if I liked the idea of those racist roots remaining there.
What are you so afraid of?
I grew up in Baltimore, so I am a Ravens fan. That means if other teams choose to change their names for one reason or another, it’s not a big deal to me. Especially if it has to do with a negative Native American stereotype. I do not have to personally be offended for it to be offensive.
Do you all understand that? You do not have to personally be offended for something to be considered as offensive.
I’m not sure who told you otherwise, but the world does not revolve around you. America sure as hell doesn’t. Not anymore. Maybe that is the problem.
If the pancake mix and syrup themselves are not changing, who the hell cares what it’s called? Again, just let me know what you’re changing it to and I will make sure to look for that in the stores. But to be mad because the company chose to change it? That doesn’t even make sense.
That would be like an abandoned warehouse that has a small area inside that is on fire. Let’s say that fire were to never reach anywhere other than the space it is located. Would you be upset that the fire department chose to put the fire out, even knowing that it would never reach anyone? It would be silly to be mad at that, right? The only thing that would make sense would be if you wanted the fire to remain for some sick, twisted reason.
Every white person in the world will claim not to be racist. Been there and done that. I get it.
So if that’s not it…what are you so afraid of?
Oh, the country is “going to hell” because of people being offended?
Nah. We have police murdering innocent black people. We have a “president” who lies several times a day even while on camera and tries his best to ignore than 130,000+ people who have died of a virus and rather than to actually do something about it, his answer is to test less so that there will be less positive results. That’s the same as telling a woman that if she does not take a pregnancy test, that means she won’t be pregnant. People getting mad at something isn’t even close. People getting mad at something has never directly killed a single person.
Oh, it’s because America is changing?
Yes. It is. That is a good thing. America is not just for white people. That’s the way it was before. Not anymore.
Oh, so “true” Americans and patriots would not be offended at this stuff?
Nah, it’s these “true” Americans that you refer to who were okay with blacks not being able to drink from the same water fountains and using the same bathrooms. Those are the ones who consider themselves as the “experts” on what it means to be an American. In their world, at least. Not in the real one. Not today’s world. True Americans today understand that America is not what it once was where whites ran everything, and those of us who are of color were seen and not heard.
Nope. Not happening today, no matter what Fox News tells you.
You are not Native American and did not care that the team was called the Redskins. So it should not matter if they change the name to something else. Hell, I figure it would be better with you not being Native American. I mean, this way, it can have more of an “American” sound to it, right? It wasn’t a problem to come to this country that was already occupied by Native Americans and murder them, along with kicking them off their own land. But all of a sudden you draw the line at a football team name and logo?
Hell, I would be more surprised that all the teams were not named after Native Americans. I mean, that would only be fair. Imagine if not only did the Redskins keep their name, but every other team took on a Native American name of some kind as a new team name. That would be something.
And other than that, the Redskins team is not changing. The same players will be put on the field. They have the same owner and coaching staff. They will be in the same location. And no matter how much you kick your feet, you are NOT “boycotting” anything.
You are also going to continue eat the pancakes that replace the “Aunt Jemima” name. Sales will likely go up. You’re not fooling anyone with the “boycott” nonsense. You know that you’ll just post it online, get some likes, shares and retweets, but then you’ll head right to the store and pick it up. After all, most who see it don’t know who you are and won’t know that you did that. So you can spare us the theatrics.
When people were claiming that they would “boycott” Nike after they came to Colin Kaepernick’s defense and you swore that Nike would lose sales, they ended up seeing a major increase in their stock value. It dipped for a second and then rose. A Facebook friend unfriended me because she posted and bragged about the drop. I posted the increase on her page, she muttered something about me needing to “go back to Africa” or whatever is popular these days, and that was it.
The bottom line is this. You want the racist roots behind Aunt Jemima to stay with the name. You want the offensiveness that comes with the football team you barely care about to remain as well. There is something about each of these aspects that you enjoy, and being “American” has nothing to do with it.
I can tell you what you’re afraid of. You are afraid of people of color having a voice that you learned from your relatives that we did not deserve to have. You’re afraid of losing your stranglehold on America that you and your ancestors have maintained for so long. You’re afraid of losing the benefits to the privilege you have enjoyed for all these years. You are afraid of that being tampered with and threatened. This is why a police officer murdering an innocent black man doesn’t bother you that much, but changing the outside of a box of pancakes does. This is why you raise more hell about protesting and rioting than you do about someone losing his or her life.
If all those are not true, then tell me…
…what are you so afraid of?