Polling Empathy and the Power to Call Other People Names


“Washington Redskins name: Washington Post poll finds most D.C. fans support it”

“We’ll never change the name,” owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today last month. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use all caps.”


The comments made by citizens in the article sound eerily similar to those made by some of those hard-core fans of the disgraced and discredited (tried, fried and failed) Paula Deen: “You see, the use of the “N” word is just a part of our endearing (enduring?) culture and heritage; we don’t mean no harm or insult to anyone”. The question is: Who gets to decide if a derogatory insult is just a “term of endearment”; the insulted, or the ‘insulter’? Well, it boils down to power (to call names, or to not be called names.) But after 5 years here (DC), how could I be surprised by the results of this poll? (Now are you going to believe your eyes or a poll?) This place is an odd mixture of pretend “northern liberal” progressive sensitivity, mixed with a corrupt urban neo-colonialism. The truth is that the bold disregard for the dignity and humanity of Native Americans is powered by something greater (although, this poll will surely be utilized as a tool of justification) than this poll. The bottom line is that Native Americans don’t represent a formidable voting block; a sizable product purchasing market; and the majority of Black people in this town who would be the best at understanding the pain of serving as a target of an offensive racial slur, are not interested. The one positive note in this poll: There seems to be a correlation between the level of educational attainment, and empathy towards the degradation of people who are not you. I have always said: The lack of education is the problem; Education is the solution; and I am sticking with that story…. It’s all about, (using all caps Mr. Snyder) EDUCATION!


“Washington Redskins name: Washington Post poll finds most D.C. fans support it”… http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/washington-redskins-name-washington-post-poll-finds-most-dc-area-fans-support-it/2013/06/24/84bc2d0e-dd03-11e2-a484-7b7f79cd66a1_story.html