"If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if they've had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it,” Obama said.But on Monday, the president hosted the NHL Stanley Cup champions, his own hometown Chicago Blackhawks, at the White House, and there was no indication the president felt any reticence about using that team's Native American-derived handle. The White House tweeted the president's words:
"Championships belong in Chicago. So to the @NHLBlackhawks, thank you for bringing it back home!" —President ObamaAccording to the pool report, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) attended the White House event.
— White House Live (@WHLive) November 4, 2013
There was no word on whether or not team mascot Tommy Hawk was able to attend the ceremony.
UPDATE: After this post went up at The Weekly Standard, I received a fair amount of feedback, mostly negative, asserting that "Blackhawks" was not comparable to "Redskins" for a variety of reasons:
- Blackhawk's are named after the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division from World War I.
- "Redskins" is a deragatory term used to describe the color of a Native American person's skin color. The term "Blackhawk" is the actual name of a Native American tribe and is used as a term of honor and respect."Redskins" is a deragatory term used to describe the color of a Native American person's skin color. The term "Blackhawk" is the actual name of a Native American tribe and is used as a term of honor and respect.
- Chief Black Hawk was an actual person who played an important part in Illinois history. Its not a general term that denigrates a segment of our great country.
While I acknowledge that the responders have a point about the team names themselves, it is difficult to believe that someone who is offended by "Redskins" would not be equally offended by a mascot named "Tommy Hawk" as illustrated above. I am not as concerned with keeping/changing team names as I am about selective outrage.
Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.