Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Okay I have been thinking about this for a day now and I am finally going to post about it. Before I do this, I should mention this view is specifically the thoughts of BlueVikingDevil and is no way associated with Pacifist Viking who I am sure will give his thoughts on my post and the issue in response.

If any of you are readers of the website www.profootballtalk.com, then I am sure you have noticed they like to make sarcastic and humorous comments about athletes, sports commentators, etc who make news stories. This is part of their schtick and it can be pretty amusing. They have documented well the issues of Sean Salisbury and Michael Irvin and their questionable comments about race and often mock those at the center of the story. But alas something that was contained in their one-liners monday morning disturbed me (the author is either their intern or them, but they have a post that states they shall be held accountable for any comments etc as they often edit them). So on to the comment.

"Saint Reggie is holding a free football camp for kids. (The agenda includes "Advanced Taunting Techniques" and "How To Get Paid By Injuns.")"

Now I have to lay out a few things to begin with. The paranthetical remarks are obviously made to be jokes. The taunting obviously refers to the NFC Championship game and taunting of Urlacher and the second quote obviously is in reference to the whole New ERA agency scandal of paying his family etc. The issue I have is with the use of the word "Injuns". Why use this word to describe Native Americans. Yes Michael Michaels one of the agents is a Native American, but why use the derogatory comment about a group of people? Does it add to the joke? I would argue it doesn't and here is why.

1. The use of that particular term would only add to the joke and bite of the joke if Reggie Bush had used that term in the midst of the fiasco or had called Native Americans "Injuns" at some time.
2. They are obviously making up ficticious names of agenda items, but why do it in a way that uses a word that has such historical racist connotations to it? The only reason I could see is that it is rhythmically and phonetically more punchy that "How to Get Paid by Native Americans".

But still the use of the term is used in the midst of the joke so people might think I am making a big deal out of nothing, but yet am I. Say the agent was instead African American, would they ever say "How to get paid by __the N word__"? I don't think so because in the predominant discussion of race that word is never to be used, but "Injuns" which is just as derogatory towards Native Americans slips by because it is not as predominant in the discussion of race and anyone who thinks "Injuns" isn't a deragoatory word is off the mark. I for one think PFT shoudl be ashamed for using the word and Reggie Bush should be mad that they connotate that he would ever use the word.

1 comment:

  1. As you know, I don't agree with you entirely on this. However, I think you make a good argument. Particularly, why is a slur against Native Americans allowed as a joke, when it is more than obvious a slur against African Americans in the same spot wouldn't be used?

    This reflects something about real racism in America. We are aware enough, and uncomfortable enough, about racism against certain groups, that in many contexts a slur would be found unacceptable. Perhaps using a slur in a joke is acceptable ("The Aristocrats!"), but to associate a particular person with that slur would not be. If it were a slur against, say, Jews, Reggie Bush might be upset to be associated with anti-semitism--or at the very least, would PFT feel uncomfortable about associating Bush with anti-semitism? But racism against Native Americans is so ingrained, and so little part of American discourse on race, that a slur against Native Americans slides.

    When we have a professional football team called the "Redskins," and the courts of the government that has marginalized and oppressed Native Americans for centuries find that this is not a derogatory term, I have serious concerns about racism against Native Americans in this country.

    For those interested in the internalized history of racism against Native Americans, see Richard Drinnon's "Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building." It's a remarkably well researched, well documented book. You won't think about things the same way again.