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Junco Canché, the Chicano Punk Rock Artesano, was born in the US and raised in Mexico. His influences include cartoons, punk rock, manga, and Mayan codexes . Before SDFP, Junco drew cartoons for El Coyote Online, La Prensa News, and the Southwestern College Sun. He's received awards from the JACC and the local Society of Professional Journalists. Currently following the path of the artisan and working towards his B.A. in graphic design. Email him at: email@example.com
Latest posts by Junco Canché (see all)
- ¡Que Viva Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez! - October 29, 2016
- The Chargerfication of the Barrios - September 14, 2016
- Defenders of the Water - September 8, 2016
I presume this is in response to the current flap over the name Washington Redskins. As long as San Diego has it’s own team that uses an aboriginal name (Aztecs) I wouldn’t throw stones.
But really, what’s in a name? I think it’s OK in both cases.
Brent E. Beltrán says
What’s in a name? Redskins is a pejorative term created by white settlers who scalped native heads. Aztecs is the name of a former indigenous empire. There’s a big difference between the two. One pays homage to a people whereas the other was used to commit genocide. Native Americans across the US have asked for owner Dan Snyder to change the name. Indigenous people of Mexico have not asked the same of SDSU.
African-Americans call themselves by their skin color, as do we Anglos. What makes one usage OK and another one not? Black man, white man, yellow man, red man — what’s in a name?
It’s easy to take offense at something whether or not any is intended.
And wasn’t there a fuss over the SDSU ‘mascot’ Aztec Warrior a few years ago?
Brent Beltran says
Native people don’t call each other redskin. And calling someone red man or yellow man is insulting to Natives and Asians.
And a white man dressed up as an Aztec warrior is just as offensive as someone in black face.
Beau Grosscup says
What team is named “The Whiteskins’? Blackskins?, Yellowskins? I must have missed the memo. The answer is 0 and there is a reason of it.
So again I ask: if it’s OK for one, WHY is it not for another one?
Because offense is in the mind of the offended. And one causes as much hurt when one takes offense as when one gives offense. It is not necessary to be insulted when no insult is intended.
Remember when cops started calling themselves pigs to lessen the insult they felt? Remember when Lenny Bruce stood on a stage and repeated ‘nigger’ over and over until the word no longer meant anything?
I am Jewish and I often call myself a Yid. And, btw, SOME native Americans DO call themselves redman or redskin among themselves, just as some African-Americans call each other nigger.
My point again: it is just a word; a name. Get over it.
No, Michael, it’s not “just” a word; a name. It is indeed a word, but if your position is that, as a word, for the purposes of social discourse it is just the same as any and all other words, that is serious disrespect for the whole notion of language and discourse. And if by “OK for one [and] not for another one” you’re suggesting that the terms “black man”, “white man”, “yellow man”, “red man” (but note that “red man” is not the term at issue regarding the sports team) are somehow entirely equivalent in all contexts, again, you’re mistaken. They may be equivalent in significant ways, but in discourse and impact, each one comes with its own particular baggage of connotations and denotations.
I sense (especially with your reference to Lenny Bruce) that you believe the world should be a place where racial epithets, slurs and terms such as the one at the core of the controversy regarding the Washington sports team would not have the impact that they do, and I certainly share that desire. But to believe that somehow by simply repeating these words aloud over and over (not to dismiss the genius of Lenny Bruce), or just denying that they have the impact that they do, that this goal will be achieved, is to be sadly mistaken; ours is not that ideal world. Regrettably we are not Humpty-Dumpty and cannot make words mean (or not mean) what we wish, just because we say so. Michael-Leonard may be able to decide what is offensive to him personally, but he does not get to decide for others. So I do not see your question — why is it OK for some, and not for others? — as rhetorical, but as one that can be answered by study and research. Short answer, though, is: because that’s how it’s turned out. Should it be this way? Wrong question.
But more to the point, the key issue is not: if someone uses a slur or epithet with regard to me (intentionally or not), whether I should take offense, or rather instead exercise some sort of agency and decide not to be offended (and possibly pity the poor soul). But that appears to me to be the position you are embracing: just don’t be offended, and poof! the problem vanishes. The key issue, as I see it, is: as a community, as a society, as a culture, what should our response be when confronted with public situations where demeaning and degrading language is used. The issue of whether or not it’s intentional is subsidiary. The more relevant question is: is this language offensive?
I take the position that to determine whether something is or isn’t offensive to a particular community, we should ask that community. I realize that this is much simpler in theory than in practice, but I believe that this is the necessary principled approach. In regard to the Washington sports team’s name, I believe the Native American community’s position has been made clear (notwithstanding that the position of a community may not be entirely uniform nor homogenous) — the name has got to go.
The appropriate response to this kind of language should not be for us to “get over it”, but for the team (and society) to “deal with it”.