Mighty Red Pen

June 17, 2008

It’s not over ’til the last Redman sings

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:25 am
Tags: , ,

Well, there’s good news and bad news in the fight over the Town of Natick’s school nickname, the Natick Redmen.

The good news: After months of debate, during which both sides had their say in support of (it’s tradition) or against (it’s offensive, duh) the name, the school committee voted unanimously to stick to their original decision and dump the racist, sexist moniker.

The bad news: Members of the Redmen Forever committee have vowed to fight on!

Read the coverage in the Metrowest Daily News and the Boston Globe.



  1. Thank you for speaking out on such an important subject. I like your point that while a name or image may not have initially been intended to offend, that times change and today some people may find it offensive.

    I am a second generation Irish-American and I find the team name and mascot of the Boston Celtics very offensive. Can you help me in bringing this matter to the franchises attention so that they will change their name and mascot?


    Comment by greg oconnor — June 17, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  2. Dear Mr. O’Connor,

    I couldn’t decide between two different responses, so I’ll give them both.

    Response, the first:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The people who perpetuate this donneybrook should be hauled away in a paddy wagon. The oppressed Irish, especially in the Boston area, should be carefully protected from such an offensive, inconsiderate marketing ploy. God knows, otherwise it could drive them to drink.

    Response, the second:

    A recognition that there is, perhaps, a slight difference in the power dynamic between a successful, powerful, influential immigrant group and an economically disadvantaged, largely disenfranchised native group might be in order, Mr. O’Connor. Surely, you can have some sympathy for someone whose homeland has been invaded by English who outstayed their welcome?

    Comment by David — June 17, 2008 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  3. Response to the first response: Oh, no, you di’ent!

    Response to the second response: Aw, *snap*!!!

    Comment by Z — June 17, 2008 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  4. David,

    I am unclear on your responses. All things are equal, these names and images are racist or they are not. How many offended people does it take before something is done? One? Several? A majority? You can not pick and choose what is offensive based on whether you pity the individual or group’s present status.

    Comment by greg — June 17, 2008 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  5. Mr. O’Connor,

    I think pity is the wrong word.

    The appropriation of cultural symbols is, as you make clear, always a difficult issue. I believe, however, that it is most problematic when the symbols are taken from a culture which has already been marginalized by the larger society. To make a clumsy analogy, I believe that all robbery is wrong — but I believe that stealing from the poor is a particularly unsavory action.

    The Celtic-derived population of Boston seems, for the most part, happy to have the team named the Celtics. I defer to their judgment.

    And, frankly, sir, I may pick and choose what is offensive to me on whatever basis I choose. I invite you to do the same.

    Comment by David — June 17, 2008 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

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