Undoubtedly, you've heard about this:
Fort Wayne Community Schools officials have begun discussions to change the Redskins name used by North Side High School for its athletic teams, marching band and school nickname.
[. . .]
During the past decade, teams at all levels of sports have come under increasing public pressure to change nicknames deemed degrading or insulting to Native Americans or other groups. "Redskins" is one of those names.
I'm not going to go into all the arguments for and against the change in this post. If you're interested in that, check out the editorial on Monday's Evening Forum page, as well as pro and con columns from two of our staffers who are North Side graduates. (You can vote on the issue in our weekly poll question as well.)
What I do want to say here is that, after thinking about it a lot in the last few days, I've decided I'm on the side of those who want to make the change. There are good arguments on both sides, but personal experience means the change argument carries some emotional weight with me.
I was born in rural Kentucky, the son of a coal miner. Our family moved to Fort Wayne when I was 12. Several things about me -- my accent, my clothes, my obviously done-at-home haircut -- gave me away, and I was called a certain name more than one time, and it stung, it hurt. Today I imagine how I would feel if, instead of the South Side Archers, it was the South Side Hillbillies.
That's it, that's all.
I appreciate the argument that we have to be careful in letting people set the agenda based on their subjective claim to being offended. That can lead us into all sorts of politically correct mischief and a futile, never-ending quest for a world without insult or offense. You feel hurt? Grow up and get over it. But how people feel is always part of the equation, and I think we have to consider their feelings and what weight to give them on a case-by-case basis. This isn't Indians or Braves or Warriors were talking about here. Redskins is at a whole different level. The word has meant different things to different people in different times, but it has an ugly history that peopler respond to on a visceral level, and I can't say I blame them.