Save the Name – the “largest grassroots initiative” defending the racist mascot of DC’s NFL team – posted multiple swastikas on its Facebook page Thursday night.
“Don’t let the prideful Redskins name and Native designed logo see the same fate,” the group posted on its official Facebook page, which boasts over 41,000 followers.
The group quickly pulled down the images, but not before multiple readers saved screencaps of the page. There, Save the Name laid out a bizarre and monstrous argument for the swastikas – one that they explicitly related to their defense of the R*dsk*ns mascot.
“The swastika symbol actually means well being and peace,” they wrote. “Let people know that what is truly offensive is attempting to take something away that the majority take pride in. Don’t let them paint the prideful Redskin name as racist.”
The post was not well-received – even by the team’s fans.
“I just wish I liked a normal team,” tweeted one, Brendan Darr.
“The image just conjures up thoughts of hatred, it’s the same thing with the confederate flag,” wrote another fan, Greg Fuller.
“I’m kind of beside myself here,” wrote DC-area artist, R*dsk*ns critic and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe member Gregg Deal. “In their point, they are literally learning NOTHING. It’s disgusting to me.”
After taking down the initial posts, Save the Name attempted a longer explanation – but that post, too, was quickly overwhelmed with criticism. The page admins at first attempted to delete only the critical comments, but soon they took down the entire thread.
That Save the Name eventually conceded to overwhelming criticism just confirms that the mascot’s defenders know what the appropriate response is.
“When people were offended, they took the swastika down,” ESPN senior writer Mike Wise wrote. “See, it’s easy.”
Not just a mistake
As bizarre as Save the Name’s swastika argument was, they were right on one point: it echoes exactly today’s argument over the DC football team’s mascot.
After all, the claim that a swastika “actually” means one particular thing – and that we can disregard other, more sinister meanings – mirrors exactly the claim that we can ignore the DC mascot’s offensive connotations, and consider only those we like.
And both arguments, of course, depend on disregarding significant points of history, as well as the voices of inconvenient victims.
“They’re right,” Wise wrote, “one man’s symbol of pride is another man’s symbol of pain and prejudice. And when something makes someone feel worse than it makes you feel better in life, you change it out of basic human decency.”
Carl Beijer is a writer who focuses on the Left, linguistics, and international affairs.