Summer of Learning (2018) #3 a name by any other name…..
Came across another tweet congratulating a sports team with a name that made me stop….a term that many find a tad offensive (and others find quite offensive). The I-word. Even if it’s been used for “several years” – Mindsets change. And I know it’s tough because a friend of mine who works in a prominent nation admits that “names” change depending on whom he speaks to. He has an uncle who still refers to himself as an Indian – because the Canadian Federal Government still uses that term in the Act that tried to assimilate and define who the indigenous peoples of Canada were to be http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.1056988 but others in his family don’t like that term and have other “preferences” (as Canada has tried on a couple of “bigger labels” to try to encapsulate nations that are very unlike each other in so many ways (which is why we’ll likely keep trying and changing terms until we realize that we won’t ever find “one” term other than Canadians – acknowledging that it’s not a great name for who we were, but perhaps can be be for who we will be) – from First Nations and First Peoples to Aboriginal and Indigenous. Each has a sense of being right and being wrong.
But some names hurt – whether intentional or not – especially when assigned to mascots of sports franchises (Chief Wahoo hasn’t been seen for awhile…..and the “C” is a much nicer symbol than the previous incarnation of the Cleveland baseball team). So I have realized that I need to support and recognize that there is a difference between teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida State Seminoles that recognize (and have some support from) local nations/traditional names (albeit English phonetics) and are better than some that are dismissive to entire cultures
And even though high schools, universities and professional sports clubs may have long traditions connected to their name, sometimes names change (Washington’s basketball team changed its name as a nod to gun violence) And it should be possible that we can change a name…..especially as we become more aware of how names (and nicknames) may not hurt some who use it, but can hurt those that have been called it…..because if it’s fun/funny for one but not the other….
So it might be a small thing, but sometimes bigger things are made from small starts. And I feel fortunate to not have been at a schools whose name made me cringe a bit (even the split of gender teams can go awry – golds/jewels are explainable as a split, but sinners/saints…? Who wants to be on the girls sinners basketball team?!?!
So where possible, I will point out possible “awkwardnesses” (aka names that I wouldnt use to call or describe the kids in my school) You can’t give yourself a nickname but you can decide that one given to you may need to be “shaken off” after awhile….
So, I will instead use bland names such as
Washington football club
Edmonton football club
Cleveland baseball club
Atlanta baseball club
I’m undecided about some others …..but I believe if some of the professional teams start making changes, it will be easier (and more accepted by the fans) for collegiate and high school teams to make a change for the better. Because a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a name can still make you think twice 🤔