Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 27, 2016

August 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 27, 2016

Some Twitter for you!

• Comedy!

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Here’s an intriguing possible new name for Washington’s football team

June 4, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 4, 2014

A couple of months back, I wrote a lighthearted post suggesting some possible new monikers for the National Football League franchise in Washington, D.C.; I refuse to use the current name because many consider it to be a racial slur. Some of the suggestions in my piece more serious than others.

The other day, I happened to stumble upon an article penned by Clinton Yates on The Washington Post’s website. Yates was raised as a fan of the Washington football team, but a few years ago, his father announced that the team’s nickname and image would be banned from the family’s household.

Yates was initially shocked by the declaration, which seemed to him to be an abrupt turnabout on the part of his father. But Yates came to agree with his dad’s point of view, which boiled down to this: “We don’t propagate racist imagery in this household.”

I mention this not so much to share that anecdote but to spread the word about a suggestion for an alternative team name that Yates favors. Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, has proposed calling the team the Washington Americans.

I’m not yet convinced that the Americans is the best of all possible replacement names. But there are a few reasons why this name works well, including the fact that it’s not a racial slur.

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Will the future resemble the past? Our changing atmosphere and our peculiar institution

May 23, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 23, 2014

I’ve spent a significant amount of time over the past few days reading about two disparate issues. One, climate change, is very contemporary; the other, slavery, continues to affect American society despite the fact that the practice was outlawed about 150 years ago.

Let’s start with climate change — specifically, with Bill McKibben’s 6,200-word essay on the subject from a 2012 edition of Rolling Stone. It is subtitled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” and it focuses on three numbers: The amount of temperature rise that the planet might — might — be able to sustain without triggering catastrophic environmental and geopolitical changes, the number of gigatons of carbon dioxide that scientists estimate humanity might be able to pump into the atmosphere while still retaining a chance of keeping below an unsustainable temperature rise, and the number of gigatons of carbon dioxide that would be added to the atmosphere if all known reserves of coal, oil and gas reserves are extracted and used.

McKibben focuses on those three numbers, as stated, but the most frightening part of the article can be boiled down to one sentence: Known fossil fuel reserves are capable of producing roughly five times the amount of carbon dioxide that the atmosphere is thought to be able to absorb safely.

Consider the other topic for a moment — slavery, which has euphemistically been called America’s peculiar institution. The Atlantic has just posted a comprehensive feature article by Ta-Nehisi Coates titled “The Case for Reparations.” The work comprises about 15,000 words; it’s also accompanied by “An Intellectual Autopsy,” a 2,100-word addendum (that I have yet to read) in which Coates explains how his opposition to reparations changed over the last four years.

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Would that which we call ‘the R–dsk–ins’ play as badly with any other name?

April 6, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 6, 2014

A recent controversy centered around the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert, which was a reaction to a skit and tweet from Stephen Colbert’s satirical TV news program, “Colbert Report,” which was prompted by Daniel Snyder founding the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, which in turn was — deep breath here! — a response to the ongoing controversy over the name of Snyder’s NFL team, which many people (myself included) take to be a vicious slur.

Personally, I would love to see the name changed. But I don’t own the team; the owner is Snyder, who has proven to be a reprehensible human being (not to mention a lousy NFL owner, at least when it comes to fielding a winning team). And it’s Snyder’s right to keep or replace the name as he pleases.

Unfortunately, the immensely stubborn Snyder has declared in no uncertain terms that he will never change the franchise’s name. So while I applaud and sympathize with those who protest the name, and while I tend to avoid using the team’s moniker, I don’t plan to expend much energy calling for a change.

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