The Redskin Word
"All We Wanted Was To Be Left Alone..."
It was, as they say, a defining moment when award-winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden stalked out of our show.
Why had our budding conversation floored him so devastatingly? Yes, we do pose very direct questions here on LAD. But why would that make a grown man take all his marbles and go home?
In subsequent comments, some folk said we’d been “racially insensitive” to our guest. Sinister little phrase, that. It allows you to taint someone as racist – without quite saying so.
The fact is, we wanted to know about our guest’s experience of being Native American. And he sure as hell wasn’t going to tell us.
So how does that make us racially insensitive?
Let’s look at this another way. On a scale of racial offensiveness, were we more – or less – offensive than…
- The Washington Redskins…
- Chief Wahoo, the gurning mascot of the Cleveland Indians… or
- Johnny Depp as Tonto in the latest Lone Ranger reboot.
Can’t decide? Neither could we. So we asked Dr. Leo Killsback, professor of American Indian Studies and citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, to help.
Turns out, where North America’s 562 tribal nations are concerned (as opposed to the 900 odd American Indian sports mascots) we all have a lot to learn.
For instance, why have African Americans succeeded and integrated where American Indians haven’t?
And why is it apparently perfectly fine for a white man to smear on war paint and plant a burning spear in the middle of a college football field while the crowd does crazy tomahawk chops?
Some broadcasters won’t go near this topic, for fear of offending racial sensibilities.
Like a minotaur in a crockery emporium: we ask the stupid questions so you don’t have to.
Let’s be clear. These issues are well overdue for frank and honest discussion. Not swept under the carpet, as they have been historically. Nor concealed under the guise of political correctness as today’s Thought Police seem keen to do.
So we make no apology for returning to the subject – and we do hope you enjoy this show!