Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer this week defended his opinion that the Washington Redskins should change the team’s name because the word “redskins” has “evolved” over time.
After first discussing the issue on WJLA’s “Inside Washingon” over the weekend, Krauthammer elaborated on his views during a back-and-forth with ABC’s George Will on “Special Report” on Monday.
“I think this is not something that is sort of a matter of principle, and I respect the [Dan] Snyder position. I don’t think there’s any intent of malice, there’s no intent of a slur, and there is 80 years of history. But words have histories of their own, and they evolve,” he said.
He continued: “The word Negro, 50 years ago, was the most respected word in referring to an African American. It was used 15 times by Martin Luther King in the I Have a Dream speech. Fifty years later, because of its own history, having to do with Black Power and a complicated history, it’s become a word that is patronizing. You would never say there are 30 Negroes in the U.S. House. You wouldn’t say that.”
In the same way “negro” has evolved, so has “redskins,” Krauthammer added.
“And despite its history, it is now considered a slur. Growing up, I used to use the word gyp. I never knew until I became an adult that it was a shortening of Gypsy. And I didn’t take a poll of Gypsies at that point to see how many are offended. I stopped using it,” he explained. “It’s very easy to do. It has nothing to do with the sensitivities of a mass of people. It has to do with simple, elementary respect. You don’t use that word if you can avoid it.”
(H/T: Washington Post)