What’s in a Name?

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The conversation (or debate) about cultural insensitivity regarding the name of our Washington football team is not a new one. However, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introducing congressional legislation to force a name change is new. According to the Washington Times, The Non-Disparagement of American Indians in Trademark Registration Act of 2013, introduced Wednesday, March 20, 2013, would prevent the term “Redskins” from being trademarked and would eat away at team profits by allowing other businesses to sell apparel and goods featuring the name. So, is it about money or is it about a culturally derogatory name? Should a name change take place or should they leave well enough alone? As I scroll through social media sites, reaction from the most die-hard home team fans range from casual dismissal at the thought of changing a long-standing institution’s name to anger at a legislature that can’t agree on a budget and save jobs but will entertain a seemingly frivolous issue. But is it frivolous? As Del. Norton stated, “Nobody would let a comparable name to blacks stand.” Should we?  

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