This November brings two important 50th anniversaries. One of those anniversaries commemorates an event that went unnoticed in the US at the time, the debut of the British science-fiction program Doctor Who. I’ll talk about that anniversary another time. The program wouldn’t make a big splash over here until the late 1970’s, but even if it had been scheduled to debut in the US at the same time as in the UK, it wouldn’t have. Its debut would have been postponed because of the news coverage of the other big event from November 1963. I am referring, of course, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
After having seen the Detroit Tigers stave off elimination in game 4 of their American League Divisional Series and send the series back to Oakland for a decisive game 5, I feel like talking about — the Washington Redskins. And not about their not-very-good season, either: I want to talk about the name “Redskins.”
There has been a growing clamor for the team to retire the name “Redskins” on the grounds that it’s an ethnic slur and is disrespectful and/or derogatory to Native Americans. That is a compelling argument, but I also have heard claims that some Native Americans don’t see it that way. That’s also a good argument. Still, if there is a deep division in the community over the matter, I think that’s justification enough for the name change. That may be the Baha’i in me talking, trying to encourage unity.
The Redskins could always change their logo to a redskin potato….