Thousands of people gathered outside TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday to protest the use of the Washington Redskins’ name and mascot, which many feel are offensive misrepresentations of American Indian culture.
Among the protesters was Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges, who joined activists in chanting, “Change the name.” Later, Clyde Bellecourt, a renowned Twin Cities activist, denounced Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for ignoring the harm his team’s name causes.
Although University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler denounces the Redskins’ name, University officials have said the institution has no legal authority to ban its use on game day.
Similarly, not everyone was convinced of the protests’ message. Some football fans argued that the protesters were oversensitive, noting ironically that the Vikings’ name could offend people of Scandinavian descent.
Now that the game is over, we remind everyone that even successfully banning the Redskins’ name from the campus stadium wouldn’t have remedied the cultural conditions that fostered that name in the first place.
Instead, we feel that the long-term success of the protesters’ efforts will depend on their persistence beyond Nov. 2. Sunday’s football game was a rallying point — but the greatest danger to long-term activist movements is often the short-term appeal of rallying points.
To that end, we encourage those involved in the protests to release a plan of action informing interested University students how they can continue their activism in the coming months.