La Shawn posts the results of a new survey on whether Native Americans are offended by the name of the Washington Redskins. I'd like to know the numbers on how many are offended by the term 'Native Americans', since almost every single Native American I have known prefers to be called Indian. Maybe that offends people from India or of Indian descent, but that just shows the complicated waters politically correct sailor must navigate. (I suggest that it can't really be done.)
According to the poll, 90% of Native Americans said the team's name is acceptable, and 9% considered it offensive. What was interesting to me was that the percentage considering it offensive goes up at higher levels of education. Here are more details on the breakdown:
The survey found little disparity between men and women or young and old. However, 13 percent of Indians with college degrees said the name is offensive, compared with 9 percent of those with some college and 6 percent of those with a high school education or less. Among self-identified liberals, 14 percent found the term disparaging, compared with 6 percent of conservatives.
It's not surprising that self-identified conservatives and liberals would show a statistical difference from the norm. It's the education gap that may reveal something interesting. I can think of three possible explanations. First, it might be that education provides information that allows them to see how offensive it is, when they can't see it as easily without that information. Second, perhaps education corrupts people into seeing something as offensive when they probably shouldn't see it that way. In other words, education is indoctrination by the thought police. Third, some factor that lies behind why people will get more education also lies behind people would find this offensive.
I can't think of what that underlying factor might be. I can't understand how intelligence or work ethic would lead someone to be more offended by a name. The first one seems completely silly to me, since facts don't reveal how the name 'Redskins' could be offensive. I can't believe Native Americans don't know their history well enough to know how the term used to be used. I can believe the average American doesn't, but coherent cultural units within the U.S. tend to know a good deal of their history, and those of Native American ancestry who identify with their ancestry enough to adopt the name for themselves are the sort who won't learn in high school or college what information is necessary to understand why some are offended by this. That leaves me thinking it's something on the order of the second explanation. Enough people go to college and learn that this is supposed to be offensive that it's statistically noticeable. It's not a large difference, but it's a difference. Maybe there's some third factor for those who go to college that makes that type of person more likely to be offended by this, but since I can't think of it I'm tentatively concluding that the second explanation is more likely, since a possible explanation is generally more likely than a non-existent one.