Archive for June, 2014

“Native Americans” a Much Worse Term than “Redskins”

June 28, 2014

The white hypocrites who complain about the term “redskins” use the term “native American” which when used in the way they are using it isn’t much better than the other n-word. The word “redskins” is a physically descriptive term that doesn’t have inherently negative characteristics. The word is one of the English translations of the Ottawa term “Oklahoma”. If we consider the characteristics of the people the term “redskins” was first applied to, it’s a positive term.

The word “native” has two different uses. In general use the term “native ” followed by a geographic region is used to indicate people who live in the area in which they are born. For example, a native New Yorker is someone who was born in New York and still lives there. In this context what counts is where the individual was born, not when his or her ancestors arrived from somewhere else. Those of us who were born in the United States are all native Americans even if we didn’t have ancestors who called themselves Cherokee, Cheyenne or Lakota. Except for the eleven months I spent in Vietnam I’ve lived all my life in the United States so I would be a native American even if I hadn’t had an ancestor who moved to the frontier shortly after the American Revolution and married a woman who was probably Shawnee or Kickapoo. Residents of Mexico and the other countries on the land mass called “America” are also natives of America.

The context in which whites have used the term “native” when referring to non-whites is highly negative. In movies made during the period European nations had colonies in Asia and Africa, when whites used the word “native” to refer to non-whites the implication was that the “natives” were inferior and possibly primitive, uncivilized or even “savages”. The best example of this practice is the old jungle movie cliche “the natives are restless tonight” which was used when the natives were beating on drums and making other sounds. The white characters never considered the possibility that the “natives” just wanted to listen to drum music. If the natives were making noises they must have been “restless ” about something. “Native” is used as a generic term for local residents whose identity isn’t considered important.

Whites have often used the word “savage” to describe non-whites who use violence even though whites at times have used the same type of violence. The most recent example of white savagery is the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

Those who criticize the term “redskin” ignore the characteristics of the people it referred to when it was used centuries ago. The original “redskins” lived on their own lands and provided for their own needs. They often lived alongside whites and sold land to them. They had their own medical knowledge, but much of it was lost because whites were too stupid to recognize its value. They had their own culture including music and the visual arts although they lacked an inexpensive permanent medium to record their literature. The Hopi even had an extended creation account which included mass extinction events involving fire and cold as well as a flood like Noah’s. In recent years scholars who study earth’s history have supported theories about mass extinctions caused by cold and fire.

The redskins sometimes lived at peace with each other and the white skins and at other times fought them. The white nations sometimes lived at peace with each other and sometimes fought each other. The white skins sometimes paid redskins to kill other white skins or paid for the scalps of redskins. Redskins were warriors who fought to protect their way of life. Captain French to Major Reno: “Too many blasted redskins with new Winchesters” defeated Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

The redskins were not defeated. They were inundated by a flood of Europeans.

Referring to the original inhabitants as “redskins” is consistent with calling Europeans “whites”. There is nothing inherently wrong with the color red. It is the color used in both the British and American flags. The British army during and after the colonial period wore red. Roman Catholic Cardinals wear red. In the Bible the words of Jesus Christ are sometimes printed in red. Various sports teams include the color red in their names: such as Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Texas Tech University Red Raiders.

The redskins term doesn’t have any inherently negative characteristics. Any negatives are based on the stereotyped view of the people it refers to.

“Redskins” is a much stronger name than “native American”. Try sounding tough while saying “I’m a native American” Now try it saying “I’m a redskin”. Redskins resisted being imprisoned on reservations. Native Americans live on them.

I don’t know if my limited North American ancestry is enough for anyone to claim me, but I would rather be called a “redskin” than a “native American”[except in the context in which everyone born in the U.S. is a native American.]

Many Republicans are trying to have President Ronald Reagan’s face placed on the $50 bill to replace President Ulysses S. Grant. A better choice would be to have Reagan replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Jackson’s mistreatment of the Cherokee should disqualify him from having his face on money.

Is the NBA Above the Law?

June 10, 2014

The NBA’s handling of the Donald Sterling controversy has a definite odor to it and it’s not from sweaty socks. In April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decided that the NBA was above the law and thus didn’t have to obey laws that interfered in the NBA’s decisions. In its haste to get rid of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling the NBA violated a California law that prohibits use of statements made in secret private recordings as a basis of punishment for an individual.

On April 25, TMZ released a secretly made illegal recordimng of an argument between Sterling and his girl friend V. Stiviano about her male companions. A controversy developed when some claimed Sterling’s comments were racist. Four days later after what was likely only a cursory investigation, Silver imposed a fine, banned Sterling from NBA events and ordered the sale of the team.

California law explicitly bans recording a person’s voice without his knowledge. The law further states that such secret recordings cannot be used against a person in a court of law. If government cannot use such evidence to take a person’s property, how can a private business do so? Is the NBA more powerful than the State of California? Is the NBA above the law?

Our system of justice is based on the philosophy that it is more important for government to obey the law than to punish lawbreakers. If a police officer fails to advise someone he arrests of the suspect’s constitutional rights and the individual confesses to murder, the confession must be thrown out because the law requires that those who are arrested be advised of their rights.

It Sterling had confessed to murder in a secret recording, the state would not have been able to use the recording to convict him. So where does the NBA get the authority to punish him for saying something unpopular during a lovers’ quarrel? When people quarrel with people they are emotionally involved with they often say things they don’t mean and wouldn’t normally say. For example, a little girl arguing with her mother might say “I hate you” under the effect of the emotions involved in an argument.

The fine and lifetime ban imposed on Sterling by NBA commissioner Adam Silver are illegal and should be rescinded. The order to sell the team is also illegal, but the incident created such a negative public attitude to the Sterlings association with the team that Shelley Sterling had no real choice but to sell.

The negative attitude means the new owner should seriously consider moving the team and changing its name. When people develop a negative attitude to an individual or organization the negative attitude may remain long after they have forgotten why they developed the negative attitude. Many people will remember the controversial statements as coming from the “owner of the Clippers” rather than someone named Donald Sterling. These individuals may ignore the change in ownership and think the new owner made the statements.

Some have suggested that Sterling has a “plantation owner’s attitude” to the team. I suspect many sports franchise owners have some degree of this attitude and it has nothing to do with the color of the athletes on the team. For example the decision by National Football League owners to ignore a concussion problem among NFL players might indicate a “plantation owner’s attitude”.

Adam Silver’s seems to have a “Godfather’s” attitude toward those in his organization. He feels he can ignore the law when dealing with those in his organization. Our system of laws is of little value if private organizations can ignore the laws of evidence and impose whatever punishments they want to impose. The word “vigilante” is used to describe those who convict individuals and impose penalties outside the law,