Let’s reach back to 2015.
That’s the time when in our nation’s history a racist fissure burst. Donald Trump rode his hotel’s escalator to the ground floor, proclaiming his candidacy for President of the United States and soon thereafter a disease of hatred spread across our land, first infecting Mexicans, then Muslims, then the disabled, then Black Americans. When I thought he couldn’t sink lower, he expressed contempt for government employees, ridiculed leaders of other countries and referred to developing nations as ‘shitholes’. It became OK to hurl words of hate at all races, religions and nationalities.
In a few instances, when referencing either logo or mascot, the 59-page PHRC Final Order used the word nickname. The word also appeared once in the December 2 Neshaminy School Board press release announcing their decision to appeal.
There’s a website listing racist terms for every ethnicity on the planet. I won’t dignify those hateful words by sharing any of them with you. I will though, after perusing the Native American data, tell you there wasn’t one nickname among the 79 racial slurs listed for Native Americans. There is nothing familiar about the racial, harmful and hateful uttering of the R word, especially when using it with the word nickname.
On the Basic Cable station Paramount, the series “Yellowstone” includes Native Americans in the cast of this drama set in present day Wyoming where tensions between the Natives and townspeople form part of the plot. One of the principle characters in the series is Monica Dutton, a Native American married to a son of the prominent ranching Dutton family.
In Episode 2 of the second season, racism of Native Americans is witnessed when Monica goes into a woman’s boutique looking at different items. The owner—a Caucasian woman—watches Monica anticipating she will shoplift an item. Yes, you guessed it. The owner accuses Monica of stealing, calls the police who order Monica through the humiliation of a body search. However, the boutique owner gets payback for her racist behavior when she learns–too late—that Monica is a Dutton.
I recommend the series to all for its portrayal of Native American culture. No mimicry of feathers, red paint, incorrect narratives or nicknames.
I flipped opened my 1987 Revised New Lexicon WEBSTERS DICTIONARY and searched the word nickname.
It’s defined as “…name by which a person is called familiarly, other than his real name.”
My December 8, 2019 post, ‘Words Matter’ noted that the Neshaminy School Board will appeal the PHRC Ruling. I am hopeful that supporters for Donna will continue the struggle to erase the R word from Neshaminy High School… and ultimately everywhere else it wrongfully appears.