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Letter to the editor: 'Redskins' and the abuse of language

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 12:01 am

What is becoming the most overused, misguided buzzword in the English language today? Will this word become the “N” word of tomorrow? Will it become the “Yankee/Confederate” word of yesterday? What is the “R” word of today?

No it is not right, Republican, righteous, rendezvous, not even railroad – it’s R-A-C-I-S-T. How does one even define racist? Where did it originate? Some say it was originated by Leon Trotsky, a Communist. Hitler once said, “Jews are a member of a different race, so they are not considered part of Germany,” and we know what happened there.

Goering organized and ran “re-education camps” that effectively eliminated all opposition. People in America today are being sent to re-education camps when they disagree with a position taken by the progressives or the government. Is this the same thing? Because I know that same-sex “marriage” cannot procreate to continue the human race, here comes that word again — racist. How so, I ask?

Common sense, it just seems to me.

Researching how the team “Washington Redskins” got its name, I found it was done to honor a coach, Lone Star Dietz, who was a proud member of the Sioux nation. The team was named in 1932 – 80-plus years ago. Then this new word racist pops up, and what was once an honor signifying pride and strength for a community is somehow demeaning. There is ample evidence that the term “Redskin” was first used by Native Americans. Native Americans have a proud, rich heritage in North America. As with many cultures who migrated from near the equator, skin pigments were darker and became lighter the further north of the equator one traveled.

We think with language. We reason, analyze and assess the facts to draw a conclusion on something. This is critical thinking. Since changing the thinking process is not as simple as just changing a law, it must be accomplished in another manner – gradually before we notice what has happened. So we must alter the language and change the meaning of words. The word “racist” is being flung whenever something comes out of the mouth of someone who disagrees with you.

What has happened to the word “hate”? What it meant when I grew up seemed very straightforward. Today it is so overworked that I don’t know how to describe it. How about the word “gender”? Are you aware of any more than two genders – male and female? Do you know that Facebook allows 50 possibilities? What?

Our language is being so co-opted, changed, redefined and is so full of hyperbole that our heads are swimming. Make no mistake about this, it is intentional. Arm yourself against purposeful manipulation of both our speech and thought. Keep your dictionaries handy and make sure you use the language with the dignity, power and integrity it deserves.

Judith Ross