Quick to remind usthe Native Americans of the 1500’s and 1600’s being characterized as “savage beasts” was part and parcel of a historical tome widely praised/circulated well into the 19060’s, Ralph Nader (above) warns, “Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington football team, needs to absorb some of these history lessons.” In an op-ed for the Albany Tribune, Nader considers “the legacy of domination by the white man of the native tribes” of greater consequence than the name of Snyder’s team.
Our culture today pays far more attention to ethnic, racial and gender slurs (many of them fortunately phased out of most public conversations) than to the brutal conditions of penury, discriminating violence, addiction and repression that represent contemporary reality.
Should any of these baleful epithets emerge on campuses the students become enraged, show up at gatherings and denounce the authors or the anonymous bigots. Would that they extend that moral indignation by showing up at visiting lectures or symposia regarding the actual conditions underlying these obnoxious labels and engage these injustices.
Care should be taken that word denunciations or word victories do not distract from their underlying realities. Or even worse, become substitutes for addressing the situations on the ground.