California Right About R-word; Rest of Country Should Follow

California Gov. Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Commentary

On Sunday Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 30 (AB30) into law, making California the first state to ban the use of the R-word. This action is significant because California is the most populous state in the country and come January 1, 2017, California students will not be subjected to the derogatory slur.

The R-word is to American Indians what the N-word is to African Americans.

Contrary to what some non-Native people choose to believe and perpetuate, the vast majority of American Indians I know oppose the R-word. The Merriam-Webster defines the word as offensive.

Those who want to hold on the R-word love to cite some survey that claims the majority of American Indians approve of the word’s usage. I would love to be presented with the survey’s methodology for data collection. The survey must have been given to a bunch of folks from America’s largest tribe – the Wannabes, who great grandmothers were Indian princesses.

I just don’t believe that survey results.

Surveys can be commissioned and manipulated to deliver desired results for the entity commissioning the survey. The tobacco companies did it in the past when they were attempting to prove second-hand smoke does not injure the non-smoker. The surveys were skewed to deceive the American public by the tobacco industry.

I know the media have a way of finding someone’s uncle Indian Joe, who is eager to get on television to declare he thinks it is an honor when non-Indians use Indians as mascots. Honestly, I feel sorry for the uncle Indian Joe from the Does-Not-Get-It Tribe. He is holding on to a false hope that non-Natives somehow will find it in their hearts to be his friend if he agrees with them.

Native News Online has been a strong advocate to see the R-word retired from sports teams – especially the Washington NFL team since its existence.

Native News Online believes California did the right thing to ban the R-word. Other state legislatures across America should follow the pathway set forth by Sacramento.

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