I wouldn't recommend Twitter as the first place that one should go seeking wisdom. on any subject...but you will find the occasional pearl. I did last night, watching a flood of reaction, mostly negative (I follow hippies..what did you expect?), to the news that the owner of the Washington pro football franchise, Dan Snyder, refuses to change the team's racially offensive moniker but that he does plan to fund Native American causes though a new organization he calls The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
Someone noted that if the team's name were not a slur, he would have called it The Washington Redskins Redskins Foundation.
Look, despite the impression I've given in previous posts, I'm not against the concept of philanthropy. And certainly America's Native Americans, especially those still living on isolated reservations, need a helping hand to deal with crippling poverty and the social problems that stem from that. But there should be no such thing as billionaires buying a "Get Out Of Doing What's Right, Free" card.I was struck by what Peter Buffett wrote last year about philanthropy and "what I would call "conscience laundering" — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity."
Now here's Dan Snyder to take "conscience laundering" to a new ridiculous height.
Even if Snyder gave up every dollar in his bank account and moved to the reservation, the name of the Washington team would still be a bigoted -- and completely unnecessary -- slur against Native Americans. We already have a ridiculous wealth gap in this country -- are we really going to let our billionaires now buy the privilege to be racially offensive if they want to be? I hope not.
And I hope something else -- that Dan Snyder's latest embarrassing actions will convince my employer, the Philadelphia Daily News, to follow the lead of columnist John Smallwood and join other newspapers across the country in refusing to call Washington's NFL team by this offensive term -- one that most of our readers would never use in everyday conversation in any other context.
What to call them? How about this? The Washington Original Americans.