Author Topic: McGIll Redmen  (Read 178 times)

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Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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McGIll Redmen
« on: February 05, 2019, 01:33:23 pm »
McGill University is considering a name change to their athletic teams. 

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The Redmen name dates back to the 1920s and has been described as a tribute to the team’s red uniforms. But in the 1950s, men’s and women’s teams came to be referred to as the "Indians" or "Squaws." Some teams adopted a logo with an Indigenous man wearing a headdress in 1980s, until its use was stopped in 1992.

In a November referendum, 79 per cent of students supported abandoning the Redmen name. The vote followed a campaign by Indigenous staff and students to drop the name they consider derogatory.

https://www.sportsnet.ca/usports/mcgill-announce-decision-contentious-redmen-team-name-january/

IMO, the name seems derogatory and archaic.  They can find a better one.

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Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 01:39:09 pm »
To add:

 
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"Redmen” came about as a reference to the university’s dominant colour — “red helmets, red sweaters and red trousers,” as the Montreal Gazette pithily put it in 1946.

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Certainly, the name has been perverted in the past, sometimes by McGill’s own hand. The school women’s teams were colloquially known as “The Squaws” and “Super-Squaws” until a name change to Martlets in 1976. Yearbooks of the time often played on the lazy and unfortunate Redmen double entendre with headlines like “Redman scalped.”

The university also changed the Redmen logo in the early 1980s; for just under a decade, the football and men’s hockey logo featured a native chief’s head, complete with headdress. Students rightly complained, and the university rightly backtracked, replacing the logo at a cost of $5,000 in 1992. History was then righted, and a stereotype wiped out. It was money well spent.

McGill shouldn’t cave to pressure this time around; to do so would be to demonstrate cowardice, not conviction. The history and intent behind the name bear none of the ugly precepts still very much present with the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, to name but two. Changing it would be to give power and legitimacy to stereotypes the name was never meant to invoke.


https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/martin-patriquin-mcgill-redmen-should-keep-their-name

The author of this op/ed says contradictory things...  that it was never meant as an indigenous reference...  until it was...  then it wasn't.   Well, clearly it was at some point.  And I think this is enough to ditch the name for something else.

If they could point and say "it has never meant anything with respect to indigenous people", I think they'd be on firmer ground.   But their logo was a native caricature.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 01:55:51 pm by the_squid »

Offline ?Impact

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2019, 01:58:25 pm »
History was then righted, and a stereotype wiped out. It was money well spent.

McGill shouldn’t cave to pressure this time around; to do so would be to demonstrate cowardice, not conviction.

If the original history was all there was, then there would be no problem. Unfortunately there is significant period of history that isn't wiped out or righted, because you can't change history with money. I really couldn't care less one way or the other, but if 79% of the stakeholders say it should be changed then it would be cowardice and not conviction to cave to the right wing extremists that think that being anti-social [justice warriors] makes them superior.
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Offline wilber

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2019, 02:07:40 pm »
Whatever it has come to mean, is what it means. It's unfortunate if something that was just intended to reflect the colour of a uniform has become derogatory, but if it has, it has. No one considers the New Zealand All Blacks to be racist, it is the name of all their mens national rugby teams, including the Maori All Blacks, (I have one of their T shirts) so it doesn't have to be that way.

https://allblackshop.com/product-category/maori-all-blacks/
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 02:11:56 pm by wilber »
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Offline kimmy

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2019, 10:04:42 pm »
Red-Men sounds like an ethnic slur, regardless of what its original intent was.

I have been thinking for a while that maybe the Edmonton Eskimos ought to change their name. They could keep the uniforms and EE logo and everything else... but if the name is considered an ethnic slur, then I think it's time to move on.  If it was "the McGill Darkies" or "the Edmonton Fightin' Kikes", nobody would hesitate a moment. "Red-Men" and "Eskimos" don't evoke the same discomfort, but maybe they should.

It's sometimes interesting to look back and see if our views have changed.  Here is another message I wrote on this topic a while back:

Following the sports team thought for a moment...   how do the following names and logos make you feel?


Washington Redskins



Florida Seminoles



Edmonton Eskimos


Cleveland Indians


Notre Dame Fighting Irish



With the Eskimos, even though they have long removed anything aboriginal-related from the branding, the name itself is considered an ethnic slur against Inuit, akin to referring to Jews as Kikes or Italians as Wops. I think obviously there'd be a lot of discomfort if somebody named their pro sports team "the Brooklyn Wops".   The Redskins is similar.  Not sure how I feel about the logo... it's obviously a depiction of a historical Native American, but I'm not sure it's an offensive depiction.  The Cleveland Indians logo is pretty clearly offensive.

All of the above have caused some amount of controversy, and I can understand the reasons why.  With the Florida Seminoles, I find neither the name nor the logo offensive. I've never actually heard of any controversy involving the Florida Seminoles, and I included it here because I thought maybe it might be an example of something where the line is harder to describe.  And the same with the Fighting Irish logo... is it actually offensive to Irish people?

 -k
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Offline wilber

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 10:15:18 pm »
How about Minnesota Vikings?

« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 10:22:46 pm by wilber »
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 10:28:35 pm »
Aren't they kinda complimenting them in way also too?  Like, if you name your team after them you're saying you want to exude their warrior-ness.  Ya it's a bit stereotyping.  But there's no sports team called the Calgary Clowns or Washington Losers or Edmonton Drunken Natives.
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Offline kimmy

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 10:37:04 pm »
How about Minnesota Vikings?



Personally I don't find either the name or the logo to be offensive.  It references a stereotypical Viking figure, but not in a negative way.

 Kind of like the Florida Seminoles-- it references the native tribe, but not in a negative way and their logo is classy and attractive.  I think there's a clear difference in tone between the Florida Seminoles and the Cleveland Indians.

The Minnesota Vikings were named to appeal to the large Scandinavian population in Minnesota. (My dad's grandparents were Minnesota Swedes, and not coincidentally the Vikings were my favorite team when I was a kid.)  Similar to the Boston Celtics being intended to appeal to Boston's substantial Irish community.  The Vikings and Celtics are a little different from the Indians, Seminoles, Redskins, or Blackhawks in that respect-- I don't think any of those teams ever envisioned their stadiums being filled with crowds of native Americans.

 -k
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 11:40:39 pm by kimmy »
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Offline wilber

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 11:03:02 pm »
I don't know if it is in a negative way or not, I'm not Scandinavian. I do know that real Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets. I do agree that they are different. One major difference is that the races depicted are both white.  That is not to say that the Eskimos, Braves, Indians, Redskins etc are complimentary.
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Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 11:22:56 pm »
The term ‘viking’ is not in any way an ethnic slur.   Redmen is.
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Offline wilber

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 11:44:16 pm »
The term ‘viking’ is not in any way an ethnic slur.   Redmen is.

Maybe, depends on the context. The particular image of a Viking is not a Scandinavian but German and the horned helmets come from Wagner operas. If you dress a team in red and call it the Redmen, that is not an ethnic slur in itself.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 06:15:38 am by wilber »
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Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2019, 12:30:35 am »
Maybe, depends on the context. The particular image of a Viking is not a Scandinavian but German and the horned helmets come from Vagner operas. If you dress a team in red and call it the Redmen, that is not an ethnic slur in itself.

I acknowledged that in the OP...   that if it had never been used in that way, I wouldn’t have an issue with the name. 

Offline cybercoma

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 10:35:07 am »
Red-Men sounds like an ethnic slur, regardless of what its original intent was.

All of the above have caused some amount of controversy, and I can understand the reasons why. 

 -k
Really, the only people who don't see the problem are those who attempt to eliminate the historical context of the names and the subsequent connotation that has built around those historical contexts. It's very easy to not be aware of or sensitive to those issues when you're not the target of the abuse that came along with them.

Offline Pinus or Vid or...?????

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2019, 10:55:10 am »
Maybe, depends on the context. The particular image of a Viking is not a Scandinavian but German and the horned helmets come from Wagner operas. If you dress a team in red and call it the Redmen, that is not an ethnic slur in itself. I heard the symbol was a Norseman, Germanic in origin, residing in Scandinavia.



How would one know the difference between a German and a Scandinavian?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 10:58:26 am by Pinus »
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Offline Pinus or Vid or...?????

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Re: McGIll Redmen
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 11:00:58 am »
Personally I don't find either the name or the logo to be offensive.  It references a stereotypical Viking figure, but not in a negative way.

 Kind of like the Florida Seminoles-- it references the native tribe, but not in a negative way and their logo is classy and attractive.  I think there's a clear difference in tone between the Florida Seminoles and the Cleveland Indians.

The Minnesota Vikings were named to appeal to the large Scandinavian population in Minnesota. (My dad's grandparents were Minnesota Swedes, and not coincidentally the Vikings were my favorite team when I was a kid.)  Similar to the Boston Celtics being intended to appeal to Boston's substantial Irish community.  The Vikings and Celtics are a little different from the Indians, Seminoles, Redskins, or Blackhawks in that respect-- I don't think any of those teams ever envisioned their stadiums being filled with crowds of native Americans.

 -k

I've heard the Seminole tribe has given the logo their blessing. Obviously this is not the case for the Redskins, Indians, or Braves. University of North Dakota recently changed their logo from Fighting Sioux to Fighting Hawks.

I have not read many complaints about the Edmonton Eskimo name.
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