Time To Change The Name Of Washington's NFL Team

Hodari Abdul | 12/1/2010, 12:59 p.m.

The Struggle Continues!

As we come away from the Thanksgiving holiday, it is easy to reflect on the positive aspects of being with family and loved ones to share time, a meal, and reflect on the blessings that we have in our lives. That is all good. It is more difficult for some to reflect on the actual genesis or origin of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Quite simply, it was based on the celebration that white "pilgrims" had in the early stages of the genocide they waged against Native Americans. Do you realize that there were over 50 million people here before the Europeans came?

Not a pleasant thought to think about, especially when all most of us want is a good meal or hang out at Grandma's house. Do you realize that we lost 50-100 million people during the genocide waged against people of African descent during what is known as the TransAtlantic Slave Trade or "Maafa" (great disaster) over the course of over 3 centuries?

Also, not a "pleasant" thought. But it is reality. And the world we live in now is based on that reality. We are not on the "bottom" by accident. The sooner that more of us deal with reality, the sooner we can uplift our community as a whole.

Four books among many that document this information are 1) African People and European Holidays by Ishakamusa Barashango; 2) Africa's Gift to America by J.A. Rogers; 3) Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy Degruy Leary; and 4) Should America Pay? By Dr. Raymond Winbush.

When reflecting on the origins of "Thanksgiving", which many indigenous people now consider a national day of mourning, we would be wise to remember that the majority of African-Americans have Native American blood in us. If you think I'm exaggerating, first ask yourself if you have any, (Blackfoot in my case) and then ask your friends or associates.

The point is, if we disrespect our Native American brothers and sisters, then we are disrespecting ourselves. The name of the team has its origins in the contract killing white folks had to drive the Native Americans off of their own land. Saying it is the equivalent of saying the "N word".

I cringe every time I hear someone use the "N word". I hate it! It is absolutely a curse word that we should never again use or tolerate it being used around us without saying something about it! What good reason is there for anyone to use the "N word"? I repeat, let us stop using or listening to the "N word" from this day forth! It is no less a curse word than MF, A hole or anything else you would not say in the presence of your mother or someone else you respect.
I come to the name of the area's beloved football team. I like football. I like Donavan McNabb. I'm glad the team is doing better this year. But I REFUSE to even say the name of the team because it is a totally racist name! It should be changed!

We should demand that reporters and sport casters stop saying the name. If the team was called the Washington Honkies or Washington Ni---rs would we stand for it? (Don't answer that. Some of us just might be OK with it!) You get my drift though. The name of the team is on that same level.

Daniel Snyder, like most wealthy white folks, is not going to "do the right thing" just because it is the right thing to do. Like making Dr. King's birthday a national holiday. Ronald Reagan didn't sign the bill out of the clear blue sky. It was after many of us (and yes, I was out there in the cold and was there at the rally that Stevie Wonder spoke/sang at back in the day) marched and protested and demanded that it happen. And it happened.

The same thing needs to happen with changing the name of Washington's NFL franchise. We can make it happen without giving up our "love of the game". Let's find creative ways of letting ownership know that enough is enough.

We owe it to our ancestors. We owe it to our Native American brothers and sisters. And last but not least, we owe it to ourselves!

The author is the host of THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES! heard each Monday morning on WPFW 89.3FM from 10-11am. He can be reached at brotherhodari@gmail.com or @ Facebook/Hodari Abdul-Ali or by phone @ 301-350-3388.