Washington D.C. professional football team owner Dan Snyder has apparently concluded that establishing an outreach campaign with a racial slur in its title is a good way to bring people over to his side.
Snyder’s letter announced the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, the result of a “listening tour” he conducted this fall by visiting 100 Native American tribes.
“The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities. With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country. Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most. We may have created this new organization, but the direction of the Foundation is truly theirs,” Snyder wrote in the letter.
The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
Snyder says the real struggles of Native Americans have been ignored, implying that focus on the name of his team, which is a racial slur, is getting in the way of real progress.
The foundation will help native tribes fight poverty, Snyder says, but that will not include dropping a racial slur as his team’s name or even dropping a racial slur from the title of the foundation that will supposedly help them.
From my perspective this is not dissimilar to Paul Ryan spreading his anti-poverty message by condemning lazy “inner city” men, nor is it dissimilar to Rand Paul reaching out to African Americans by treating them like idiots.
Going to a reservation and telling the “redskins” that you’re going to help them is no different than if you went to a neighborhood in the projects and used racial slurs aimed at people of color to tell them you’re here to help.
This public relations campaign isn’t as shocking as it is pathetic. It was revealed last month than Dan Snyder hired infamous message hack Frank Luntz, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, and George “Macaca” Allen to advise him.
“The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” was undoubtedly focus tested, but probably not on Native Americans. He only wants to placate them with gifts while using his foundation to show white fans that he’s a sensitive guy.
This is utterly tone deaf and it reeks of desperation.