Indian poverty more offensive than sports team names

This week we posed the question as to whether sports teams with Native American names are offensive. There’s a small group of people who are very vocal about how offended they are by this, and it seems to come from some folks with maybe 1/64 Indian blood who decided they needed to feel marginalized.

The truth is that those of us with a real claim to Indian heritage have better things to be offended by than some sports teams using names that are intended to empower. You’re not going to find an NFL team named after daffodils, and teams who use Indian names are using them to demonstrate masculinity and power.

We are more offended by having a higher high school dropout rate than any other ethnic group. Three out of every ten Native American students, both on and off reservations, drop out of high school.

We’re also more offended at having a poverty rate of 28 percent on our reservations, and a 22 percent rate off the reservations. Compare that to the national average of 15 percent. When more than a quarter of your people are starving in a first-world country, it’s a little hard to get worked up over something as pointless as a bunch of guys playing baseball for the Braves.

Unemployment rates on Indian reservations are as high as 85 percent, and Indians deal with a problem much worse than open racism: we’re just ignored in general. We get thrown a bone here and there, what with scholarships and such, but how good is a scholarship to someone who never graduated high school?

Is it any wonder we have such high rates of alcoholism?

And then we hear complaints because of our casinos, and how we get special treatment and gambling laws don’t apply to us. Who do you think plays on these casinos? Other Indians, so now we’ve added gambling to a long list of addictions running rampant amongst the tribes. Factor in the richer, corruptible tribal leaders and/or casino owners cheerfully taking this money from their own people.

Once we get all of these real offenses taken care of, then maybe we can decide whether we care that Washington’s team is called the Redskins. At least they’re not called the Washington Jobless, Drunken Injuns.