Ex-Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell was a dope.
For those of you unfamiliar with Colorado politics or the Washington Redskins controversy over trying to build a new football stadium, Campbell was the Colorado junior senator whose former claim to notoriety was that he is 1/8-1/2 Native American/North American Indian, he flaunted riding his motorcycle without a helmet and he was trying to force the Washington Redskins to change their team name.
He also claimed to be the only Native American/North American Indian then sitting in the U.S. Senate.
Remember when you could be classified a non-Native American Black/North American Negro if you had only 1/16 nNAB/NAN blood in you? It is time to get rid of, or at least ignore, race classifications. They serve no purpose other than to perpetuate prejudice.
I'll bet you beads to wampum that based on such a strict classification, Senator "Nighthorse" was NOT the only NA/NAI in the Senate. Do you know anything at all about your eight great-great grandfathers and grandmothers?
However, he was the first senator to make a national fool of himself over such a silly, misguided issue as sporting-team nicknames.
Consider the facts: Senator Ben said the word "redskin" is a racial slur and introduced a bill prohibiting a new stadium on land used by "any person or organization ... using nomenclature that includes a reference to real or alleged physical characteristics of Native American or other groups of human beings."
He also said, "Simply put, the name 'Redskin' is offensive to Indian people. Whether it is considered offensive by non-Indians is not the issue."
Well, if it is so "offensive to Indian people," why did an Indian high school on a reservation in Red Lake, Ariz., use "Redskins" for its team name?
People forget that mascot names are chosen for their anthropological totemism, not their condescending tokenism. The names are chosen with pride to strike fear in their opponents' hearts, not laughter and chuckles in their throats. No team is called the New York Ninnies, Dallas Dumbbells or San Francisco Sissies. Names of pride are chosen like Giants, Cowboys and 49ers.
As for a term being offensive, the offense comes from context, not from the term itself. No one should be able to take offense at "mother," right? Well, how about "That no-good mother went crazy and he shot 14 people"?
A word is only a symbol for something so that communication and understanding can occur. Otherwise, why would Senator Campbell take pride in calling himself a word also used to mean "beast," "gelding," "heroin," "large or coarse," "old-fashioned" and "nonsense" when used alone or with other words?
Would the senator have been offended if the Washington Redskins chose to call themselves the Washington Nighthorses? I think not. So, was he being selective in choosing what to take offense at? I think so.
Calling attention to a perceived racial slur only perpetuates racism, and the only race we should be concerned about is the human race--especially the finish of it. Back in the Embarrassing Sixties, we thought we could solve problems by drawing attention to them, bringing them out into the open and rubbing everybody's noses in them.
Maybe we were wrong. Maybe drawing attention to problems only perpetuates the problems, because people will be offended at anything if it suits them, whether the problem is solved or not.
Perhaps problems can best solve themselves. When humans try to solve problems, they create new problems, and I hate to think that the purpose of humanity is to solve problems. I choose to believe that the purpose of humanity--if we have a purpose--is to live and be happy. If we can help others be happy, too, then all the better.
So, why don't we all try to live with a philosophy of trying not to create any problems? If we don't have any problems, then we don't have to solve any problems.
If you are offended by a silly mascot name, then take pride in being unique. Ask yourself how many additional problems you would cause by broadcasting the fact you are offended. Ask yourself how many people are not offended. Forget the silly slogan of "If one person has a problem, then we all have a problem."
Remember that Ben "Founding Father" Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird instead of the eagle.
How would you feel today if your favorite team was the Philadelphia Turkeys?
I rest my case.