“Redskins: Insult and Brand” by C. Richard King
Football (American), professional, Redskins, race, politics
March 1, 2016
5 of 5 stars (Outstanding)
For decades, the nickname of the team that represents Washington DC in the National Football League has been a source of controversy. The name is considered offensive by many people. They consider the term “Redskins” a racial slur against Native Americans. The team and the league continually defend the use of the name, citing history and tradition as well as claiming that the term and logo depicting a Native American honors those people.
These arguments are debunked in this excellent book by C. Richard King, a professor of comparative ethnic studies at Washington State University. He explores the use of the name by the team, the history behind it and the various protests over it through the years.
The book is not one that presents both sides of the issue and lets the reader draw his or her own conclusions. It is a scholarly work that decries the use of the nickname, exposes the flaws in the usual statements defending the history and honor of the name, and explains why it should be considered a racial insult to Native Americans. King makes compelling arguments on each point he makes and will leave the reader feeling angry, bewildered and disgusted at the callousness of those who believe the name should still be used by the team.
It is also not an easy or quick read. The reader will have to carefully review each anecdote from Native Americans and also those of the defenders of the name, such as George Marshall and current owner Daniel Snyder. The stories they share, while they don’t realize it, actually make King’s argument to abolish the name stronger. King does an excellent job of breaking down the hidden racism and condescending nature of these arguments.
This book is one that should be read by anyone who cares about the use of this name by the team, no matter on what side of the issue the reader currently sits. It is compelling, persuasive and will certainly make the reader think about what is truly meant by the name “Redskins.”
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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