Quick Hit: ‘Redskins’ and Fort Wayne Hypocrisy

June 23, 2014

HOORAY to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette for reprinting June 22 its classic editorial decrying what a long line of its editors has found to be the offensive use of “Redskins” in sports names. This famously progressive newspaper, though, will want to go further.

At question is the name of the newspaper’s hometown, proudly if thoughtlessly incorporated into its own masthead. Fort Wayne, of course, is named to honor Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne. You should know that this was a man who . . . well, he actually attacked Indians as a profession and did so with unregistered guns, although his only recorded command at the Battle of Fallen Timbers was “bayonet the (expletive deleted).

And what about the name of our state itself, in fact an offensive mischaracterization of Native Americans. How can the sensitive in the newspaper’s executive suite overlook “Indiana” as a stereotype, applied by exploiting Europeans, based only on skin color and the ignorant assumption that the disparaged were people of another continent entirely?

One more thing, as a full-blooded journalist (both my parents are of newsroom descent), I find offensive the use of “Journal” in the trademarked Journal Gazette. The shallowness of its public-policy positions makes a mockery of a noble professional heritage. We are a long-suffering, ink-stained, overworked and underpaid people with a lineage going back to giants like Martin Luther and Ben Franklin but also winding its way through the New Journalism of writers such as Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson.

Indeed, Mr. Thompson, founder of my generation’s Gonzo Journalism, could have had in mind the Journal Gazette when he said: “With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism; the phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”

— Craig Ladwig


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