Baseball, like the other major sports, has become insufferably woke, and so the Texas Rangers — like the Cleveland Indians and football’s Washington Redskins — are likely not long for this world. Buoyed by the scalping of the Washington Redskins, the Washington Post‘s Karen Attiah, who wants white women to consider themselves lucky that she isn’t calling for “revenge” for their voting for Trump, is now calling for the Texas Rangers baseball team to change its name, because, doncha know, the Rangers were supposedly “white supremacists.”
Now, I myself have cautioned against looking for consistency or rationality from the left, but Karen Attiah’s demand is irrational far beyond even the attacks on statues of Frederick Douglass and Ulysses S. Grant from people who claim they’re lashing out against racism.
Karen Attiah apparently doesn’t realize that she has now entangled herself in a giant contradiction. After all, we have been hearing for years now that the Redskins, Indians, and the like had to change their names because they insulted and belittled Native Americans. But if that is true, and the law enforcement Texas Rangers were really the genocidal racists Attiah claims them to be, shouldn’t the baseball Texas Rangers actually keep their name, so as to insult and belittle Texas Rangers?
Attiah can’t have her cake and eat it too, no matter how hard she tries. If sports nicknames are negative and insult the people the teams are named after, and what she says about the historical Rangers is true (it isn’t: an actual historian of the Rangers, Dr. Jody Edward Ginn, details in his book East Texas Troubles that the Rangers helped break up a white gang in East Texas, and convicted them on the basis of testimony from black victims), then it’s altogether fitting and proper for the baseball Rangers to bear that name. But she is assuming in this case that sports nicknames actually glorify the people the teams are named after, and so it won’t do, not at all, to have a team named after the Texas Rangers, as these “white supremacists” must in no way be glorified.
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But if the Texas Rangers baseball team constitutes praise for the Rangers, wouldn’t Indians, Redskins, Braves, and the like be favorable portrayals of Native Americans, in which case there would be no need to change the teams’ names?
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In reality, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that sports team names such as Braves, Indians, Chiefs, and even Redskins are meant to be insulting and degrading to American Indians, no matter how abjectly the Redskins and others kowtow to the mob. If such names were really insulting, Franciscan friars would be outraged at being thus degraded by the San Diego Padres. People of a certain stature would be reeling from the disrespect accorded them by the San Francisco Giants. Animal rights activists would be pressuring various sports franchises to stop degrading and disrespecting Lions and Tigers and Bears (and their Cubs), Eagles, and the like. Angels would be cursing from on high a certain baseball team that likes to pretend it plays in Los Angeles.
The public discourse seems to get stupider and sillier by the day, and in the process, the fact has been lost that sports teams took on their nicknames as declarations that they were aspiring to be as strong and fierce and noble as their mascots. The idea that teams took on the names of groups for which they had little respect, and thought ridiculous, or stupid, or evil in some way, is absurd. Teams took on their nicknames because they thought positively, not negatively, of the animal or human (or celestial) group in question.
Yet one thing is certain: the Texas Rangers baseball team is not long for this world. Watch for the Texas Victims, or the Dallas-Fort Worth Wokes, or some such. The left owns the culture, and so one victimhood-mongering columnist can with one whining column today compel a team to change the way it operates. The team’s fans will just have to take it. For even if there is nothing offensive whatsoever about the “Texas Rangers” or any other team’s name, once the woke mob has made a demand of you, you must capitulate, and immediately, or face new charges of “racism” and “white supremacy.” Major League Baseball, already in full capitulation mode, is an easy mark for this tactic, having already decided that any of its fans who aren’t race-baiting Marxists aren’t welcome at games, anyway. And so the left’s hegemony over the culture will be reinforced yet again.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.