The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
35 Points

The Washington Redskins should change their team name

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/22/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,154 times Debate No: 65656
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (34)
Votes (7)




Thanks to Kbub for agreeing to debate this topic with me! Standard DDO rules apply: first round for acceptance, no new arguments in the final round, no semantics, no trolling, etc. A couple of important notes to make on the resolution...

-- "Should" implies some sort of obligation, legal, practical, or ethical (or all)

-- BOP in this debate is shared; Pro must show that there is some sort of obligation for the Redskins to change their name, and Con must show that there is not.

For anyone who wants some general background info on the issue at hand:

Please note that the voter elo limit is 3000.

Good luck, Kbub :D
I look forward to an interesting debate!


Attempt no. 3! XD

Thanks UchihaMadara for the invitation to this debate! I am honored to accept this debate challenge. Best of luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting, Kbub!
I will be using this round to present four independently functioning reasons for why there is no obligation for the Washington Redskins to change their team's name.

C1) Taking offense does not mandate change

Obviously, the primary reason why this whole issue is even controversial is because there is a group of people who are offended by the use of the term "redskins"; if no one was offended, it would be a non-issue. However, I will argue that people taking offense to something does not necessarily obligate that something to change. Because the United States grants its citizens personal liberty and the freedom of expression, we must presuppose that all actions are permissible and only decide otherwise if valid reason is given. The question, then, is about whether or not there is really sufficient reason to limit the liberties of the Washington Redskins. I will argue that a group of people taking offense does not meet that criteria.

Firstly, taking offense is inherently irrational-- it is the act of imposing a negative emotion upon yourself in response to what you have been taught to view as inappropriate or unacceptable. To suggest that we are somehow obligated to act because of others engaging in such a behavior is simply unfair; people do not have the right not to be offended. If it is an issue of a group's capability to pursue happiness being compromised, then it is a different issue, but in the case of the Washington Redskins controversy, it is merely a group of people choosing to take offense at something which they could just as easily choose to ignore. Almost every element of modern society has at least a few individuals who are personally opposed to it; to attempt to remove every single element of society which people are offended by would result in absurd consequences.

There are a large number of creationists who are offended by evolution being taught as a scientific theory in schools, as well as many puritan Christians who wish to censor the media for anything and everything which is supposedly 'impure' (e.g. sexual content, violence, and explicit language), and feminists who wish to stop everyone from saying anything which even hints at the objective differences between the two genders. Some of these groups are even larger than the population of native Americans who are offended by the term 'redskins', yet there are very few among the 'majority' in any of these cases who think it would be reasonable to obligate change in response. What is so special about the Native Americans who are opposed to the Redskins' name? There doesn't seem to be a reasonable answer.

C2) Originalism and contextual meanings

"Suppose you see the word "HELP" inscribed on the sidewalk in front of an office building. It could immediately be asked, what does it mean? You consider the scenario and come up with all sorts of plausible answers. Perhaps the author was a kid having some fun while waiting for the cement to dry. Or perhaps, you speculate, the author was a criminal attempting to send their partner a secret message. Perhaps "HELP" is an initialism of some sort. Whatever the case, you are able to come up with all sorts of theories to explain the word's meaning... There is, however, an important point to notice about how we ascribe meaning to the word: the intention of the person who put the word there in the first place. If the word was written by a kid having some fun, the word obviously has a very different meaning than if it were written as a secret code between two criminals. The obvious conclusion here is that the intention behind the production of any text is somehow intimately related to that text's meaning.

"To further emphasize this point, consider the following possibility: you discover that the word "HELP" was not the result of any human affairs. Rather, suppose by chance a stream of water coming from a leaky pipe somehow etched the word into the sidewalk. It turns out that there was no intention whatsoever behind the word's existence. With this knowledge in mind, it becomes impossible to interpret the word's meaning because it no longer communicates anything. For communication to occur, some message, not all messages, must be conveyed. Without an intention behind the word's production, we would no longer be able to identify a particular message. We could no longer rightfully say the word means this or that... [a word] does not mean anything that interpreters would like to to mean. It has a specific meaning determined by the message it was intended to communicate. " [1].

The above is a brief justification of originalism-- "the principle or belief that the original intent of an author should be adhered to in later interpretations of a work." [Google dictionary]. It applies to words and phrases just as much as it applies to works of literature. Due to the nature of communication, it must be the communicator who determines what meaning should be assigned to their words; the listeners cannot simply decide that a word means whatever they would like it to mean. And they certainly cannot alter the intended meaning, take offense to their newly-assigned meaning, and then demand that the communicator change in order to placate them.

In the case of the Washington Redskins controversy, the people on the Con side (i.e. the team and its fans) insist that there is absolutely no harm meant with the use of the term redskins; there is no racist intent on their part whatsoever: "'Our franchise has a great history, tradition and legacy representing our proud alumni and literally tens of millions of loyal fans worldwide... We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of 'Redskins Nation' in honor of a sports team they love," [2]. "I can't remember exactly when it struck me that the name "Redskins" had anything to do with race or skin color... the reality is that... very few people who say the word "Redskins," as it pertains to football, have conscious racist intent." [3].

Words do change in meaning over time as well as depending on context; the term 'redskins' is no longer something to be associated with racism, as its most common usage now has a positive/neutral connotation. For my opponent to deny that words change over time would actually be quite harmful to his case, as I will explain next round if he does choose to deny it.

C3) Utilitarianism

This argument is quite simple: there are more people who support keeping the name than not, and thus, the name should not be changed. It is simply a matter of upholding democracy and maximizing net utility. There are a number of surveys showing this to be true, from the Washington Post reporting that 71% of Americans support the Con side [4], to the ESPN reporting that number as being 79% [5]. But what about the Native Americans specifically? Even among them, "redskin" is far from being universally accepted as a racial slur; many find the entire controversy to be ridiculous, with the majority of opposition to the name coming from advocacy groups which supposedly represent the views of entire tribes.

"'I've talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it,' says Tim Ames, the superintendent of Wellpinit schools. 'Redskins' is not an insult to our kids. 'Wagon burners' is an insult. 'Prairie n-----s' is an insult. Those are very upsetting to our kids. But 'Redskins' is an honorable name we wear with pride. … In fact, I'd like to see somebody come up here and try to change it." [6].

"'Society, they think it’s more derogatory because of the recent discussions... In its pure form, a lot of Native American men, you go into the sweat lodge with what you’ve got — your skin. I don’t see it as derogatory.' Neither does Eunice Davidson, a Dakota Sioux who lives on the Spirit Lake reservation in North Dakota. 'It more or less shows that they approve of our history,' she said. North Dakota was the scene of a similar controversy over the state university’s Fighting Sioux nickname. It was decisively scrapped in a 2012 statewide vote — after the Spirit Lake reservation voted in 2010 to keep it." [7].

C4) Furthering racist sentiments

I don't have enough space to elucidate this argument as fully as I'd like to, but the basic idea is that by creating controversy over the issue and attempting to get the name changed, racism is only being furthered in society. Since there were never really any racist sentiments associated with the team's use of the name, all the fuss over it is only serving to create a problem where there was none to begin with, which is blatantly counter-productive.


In conclusion, I have provided four independent reasons for why it cannot be said that the Washington Redskins are obligated to change their name. The resolution is negated.

I look forward to your response, Kbub :)



"dated or offensive: An American Indian." (1) (2)
"Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive. A North American Indian."
"an old-fashioned informal name, now considered taboo, for a Native American"

Google: (3)
"noun dated offensive: an American Indian."

Con wrote that there can be "no semantics" in this debate (R1), which means that the most standard use a word must be accepted. Con and I are obligated to accept that "Redskin" is offensive per the standard definitions.

"Cultural genocide"
"...cultural genocide implies the process of undermining, suppressing, and ultimately eliminating, native cultures." (4)
[bold added]

Ethical Obligations to change the name:
Obligation #1 Hate slur
1. The term was featured on a standard hate slur database (5), and was called "offensive" or "taboo," by the 3 dictionaries above.
2. Obviously, sports teams should not name their teams ethnic slurs. Washington is obligated to change their name for this reason. The San Francisco "N-----s" would be messed up.

Obligation #2: Tribal opinion
The National Congress of American Indians, the largest group representing American and Alaskan Indians (over 1.2 million Native Americans enrolled) are staunchly opposed to the name of the Washington team. (6, 7, 8)

So are the Cherokee, Comanche, Oneida, Seminole, and Osage tribes (6, 9).

Con quoted two persons, as if they represented all of the 500 American Indian tribes. In contrast, the opinions of 5 tribes, as well as the representation of 1.2 million Native Americas, are against the name. Clearly Washington's team should change its name.

Obligation #3: Ask permission!
The Washington team ought to acquire the permission of the groups they are representing before they use their name. If they are representing the Sioux, they should have the Sioux's permission. However, they are representing every tribe, and are therefore required to acquire every tribe's permission.

So far, Washington's football team has **never** requested permission from a tribe to use the name. Until they do so, they are obligated to change their name in the meantime.

Even if Con proves that the "Red*kins" isn't offensive to any tribe (ha), the Washington team is still obligated to ask permission before taking the name.

Obligation #4 Racist stereotypes
Washington's team name unfortunately promotes racist stereotypes.
1. Savage Warrior: Franchise team names are chosen in football *not* to honor a people"s heritage, but emphasize their ferocity (Lions, Raiders, Bears, etc). In the case of "Redskins," this refers back to the savage warrior.
2. All the same: All of the 500 Native American tribes have unique cultures. By trying to represent a "Redskin," the Washington team contributes to the perception that Native Americans are all alike.

Obligation #5 Redface/costumed fans
We know that wearing blackface is wrong. We know that disrespecting other cultures is wrong. We know that characterizing ethnic groups as violent is wrong. Why does Washington choose a name that would encourage their fans to dress in redface?
1.Feathered Headdresses
a. The headdress is regarded as a sacred token for great accomplishments of tribal warriors. Most in those select tribes do not consider themselves worthy to wear the headdress. And yet, Washington fans seem to have no problems wearing headdresses, drinking with headdress, or dressing sexually with headdress. (10, 11) This is basically like peeing into a Catholic Communion cup.
b. The practice is not only *very* disrespectful but also paints a distorted picture of Native Americans, since most don't wear headdresses.

2. Harmful and disrespectful stereotypes
Fans who go to football games often drink, act rowdy, or even behave violently. This may be somewhat acceptable in certain circumstances; however, when they are in redface they are perpetuating the stereotype that Native Americans have these negative traits (especially those associated with alcohol).


Obligation #6 Job discrimination
Obviously, the perpetuation of negative racial stereotypes (violent, alcoholic, wild, etc.) leads to discrimination in the workplace, as evidenced by the higher unemployment rate of tribal persons compared to white persons (12, 13). The Washington team has an obligation to minimize its contribution to this injustice.

Obligation #7 Cultural Genocide
Con seems to think that misrepresenting Native Americans" history (such as by misrepresenting their clothes, behaviors, and tribal distinctiveness) is no big deal. However, for many Native Americans, heritage was a matter of life and death.

In the 1930s 100,000 Native Americans were forced into off-reservation boarding schools, where their culture was forced out of them. Worse: "Torture was used to punish native language use; children were involuntarily sterilized and died of disease, beating, poisoning, hanging, starvation, strangulation, and medical experimentation." (14)

Brave children fought for their heritage and were killed or beaten. Those who survived lost the use of their language and culture (14). Today, many tribes struggle to retain their dignity, the same dignity that is undermined when Non-natives play "Redskins."

Much of the culture of these tribes has been lost, and the media doesn't help, replacing Native American's actual cultures with a generic Hollywood invention (the "redskin"). Many more American Indian children are in foster care than other races (14). Native representations on television (such as Washington games) may be their only source of their understanding of Native cultures growing up (14). Clearly, Washington's team should *stop* their contributing to this cultural genocide by stopping their perpetuating Hollywood stereotypes.

Practical Obligations:
Obligation #8: Memorabilia sales
Washington will soon be losing almost all of their funds from memorabilia, because their trademark has been revoked.

Most of Con's contentions are completely off-topic. Nevertheless, I will go through each of them point-by-point and show *exactly* why they fail to help Con's case, and also why most of them help my own case.

"Limiting Liberty"
No one is limiting the liberty of the Washington team. My position is merely to advocate what the Washington *should* do, and not what it must do.

"Taking Offense Doesn't Mandate Change"
This is irrelevant to the discussion of whether Washington should change its name.

Con called the Native American tribes "irrational" for being offended that Washington's team has an ethnic hate slur for their name.
1. Besides being untopical, Con has no right to tell Native Americans how to feel about the ethnic slurs that target them.
2. Using an ethnic slur for a team name is more irrational than being offended, and only the former is the focus of the debate. *Turn!* (Obligation #9)
3. Since "redskin" was historically used to refer to the scalp of a Native American when Europeans would hunt them, exchanging their "red-skin" for cash (15), I'd say there are sufficient justifications for taking offense at the word's casual use! *Turn!* (Obligation #10)

1. Originalism works for the word "help," but that is very, *very* far from showing it works for all words.
2. Con offers *no* evidence that Originalism is relevant to this debate.
3. There are lots of people using the "R-word," and there is no way to find out all of their intentions.

1. The team name is being questioned, not the owners. (Untopical)
2. We can't know for sure the intentions of the fans, owners, or players. Judging by an almost comedic history of racism, though, we can guess that the original intentions were probably racist. *Turn!* (Obligation #11)
a. Washington's team was the last to allow segregation in the NFL (16)
b. Washington had cheerleaders dressed as "sexy squaws" perform rain-dances and *threaten to scalp* the opposing team (the original "Hail to the Redskins") (17, 18).

1. Con has showed no significant harm for people who want to keep the name.
2. ESPN's two polls (both are ESPN's) were inaccurate for many reasons, including the fact that they offered no alternative names for people to compare to.
3. The "R-word" does not necessarily need to be changed permanently. They would at least need to get the tribes" permission first.
4. Con gives no reason why Washington is obliged to please their fans.

1. From the perspective of deontology (probably more relevant to the debate)-evaluating ethics in terms of moral actions instead of results-I have shown many moral and practical obligations for Washington to change its name.
2. However, with regard to utilitarianism I am even still clearly winning overall. I have shown many benefits for changing the name and many harms for not changing it.

"Fighting Sioux"
This debate is not on the Fighting Sioux.

"More racism"
1. Con gives exactly zero reasons why Washington's changing its name causes racism.
2. If protesting Washington is a waste of time, then Washington should change the name in order to send protesters home. *Turn!* (Obligation #12)

Although Con's round was well-written, he failed to demonstrate any impacts. I only needed to show one obligation for Washington to change its team name in order to win this debate, but I've shown *12*. I have met and surpassed my Burden of Proof 12 times over.

For all these reasons, please vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 2


Pro opens by offering a case for why I must accept that the term "redskin" is inherently offensive. While clever, this tactic simply doesn't work out. The "no semantics" rule does not necessarily require that we accept the dictionary definitions as absolute; Pro has made that assumption on his own. As the instigator of the debate, I can say that the rule was only meant to avoid blatant abuses of definitions to make completely off-topic cases. My denial of "redskin" being inherently offensive does not fit this description. However, if I were to make the case that "Washington Redskins" refers to a pile of red-dyed pelts in the state of Washington, *that* would be disallowed. The "no semantics" rule is not meant to unnecessarily restrict which arguments can be made; it is meant to avoid having the debate go off the rails. This is a reasonable interpretation of the rule, and thus Pro's semantics case should be rejected.

== NEG CASE ==

C1) Taking offense does not mandate change

1. The point of mentioning "liberty" was simply to set the framework for this contention: we must presume all actions to be permissible unless given sufficient reason to believe otherwise. I argued that since a group of people taking offense does not fulfill this criteria, there is no reason for us not to consider the Washington Redskins' name to be permissible. Pro has merely dismissed my argument as "irrelevant", despite that clearly not being the case... my argument has a clear impact on the resolution.

2. Pro's responses to my premise of offense being irrational seem to completely miss the point, ranging from "you can't say that!" to "I still think taking offense is rational!". Pro has not successfully contested that 'offense' is a self-imposed emotion (so therefore others should not be held responsible for preventing it) or shown that the name is having a significant effect on the natives Americans' ability to pursue happiness.

C2) Originalism and contextual meanings

1. The "HELP" example was merely meant to demonstrate the concept of originalism-- the meaning of a word should be decided by the communicator, rather than the interpreters; words do not have absolute definitions. Pro's assertion that originalism isn't relevant to the debate is ridiculous; the definition of the term "redskin" is *very* central to the debate, and that is exactly what originalism is concerned with.

2. I have provided evidence from the team's management and the fans themselves that the Washington Redskins as a group do *not* use the term as a racial slur, but instead regard the name as a positive symbol of their team spirit and pride. Since Pro has declined to actually contest originalism as a philosophy, we can presume that its implications hold true-- the term "redskin" is not actually an ethnic slur in this case, and Pro's entire case thus falls apart.

3. Pro tries to make the claim that the Washington Redskins *do* have racist intentions in their use of the word, but none of his attempts actually prove this. His first is nothing but his unsupported opinion that the "original intentions were probably racist". His second, regarding delayed desegregation, has nothing to do with how the term "redskins" is being used today. His third is not only based on the faulty assumption that the noted activities represented racist sentiments, but it also is irrelevant because his own source notes that these activities are no longer practiced.

C3) Utilitarianism

1. Pro starts off by claiming that I have not showed significant harm for the people who want to keep the name. I can say the same for him; he has not shown that the offended native Americans (NA's) suffer any harm (other than being offended) from the team keeping its name. And, In fact, many of the fans *have* demonstrated that they would be negatively effected by the team changing its name, becoming extremely upset to the point of tears upon hearing the results of the Redskins trademark ruling [1]. To them, the Redskins name represents an object of personal pride and nostalgia. Irrational? Of course. But so is the NA's taking offense to the name.

2. Pro goes on to assert that ESPN's two polls are inaccurate, but he never says why; the only specific reason he points out is that "they offered no alternative names for people to compare to," but he never explains why this is even a "flaw", much less why it is enough of a reason to reject the poll's findings entirely.

3. My "Fighting Sioux" example serves as a case study of sorts, suggesting that Native Americans generally do not care about their names being used in professional sports nearly as much as Pro or various advocacy groups would like to believe.

4. Pro finishes off by making a case for a deontological system of morality, with the categorical imperative seemingly being that the use of historical ethnic slurs is impermissible; however, simply stating a categorical imperative is not enough-- Pro must also *justify* it, which he has not even attempted to do. On that basis, his deontological system should be rejected.

*No space for C4*

== AFF CASE ==

O1) Hate Slur

Firstly, I can cross-apply C2 to show that the term "redskin", as used by the team, should not be considered an ethnic slur, as they use the term with a radically different (positive) connotation. My sources from C3 show that even many NA's don't regard it as an ethnic slur. Pro seems to believe that historical meanings have paramount significance in determining the modern usage of words; if that is the case, then we should go *all* the way back to a word's origin to decide its modern definition. Let's see what this implies with the term "redskin":

"In 2005, the Indian language scholar Ives Goddard of the Smithsonian Institution published a remarkable and consequential study of redskin's early history. His findings shifted the dates for the word's first appearance in print by more than a century and shed an awkward light on the contemporary debate. Goddard found, in summary, that "the actual origin of the word is entirely benign. Redskin, he learned, had not emerged first in English or any European language. The English term, in fact, derived from Native American phrases involving the color red in combination with terms for flesh, skin, and man. These phrases were part of a racial vocabulary that Indians often used to designate themselves in opposition to others whom they (like the Europeans) called black, white, and so on." [2].

Even if we reject originalism and accept my opponent's method of determining words' meanings, we reach the conclusion that the term "redskin" is actually not a "hate slur". Also, Pro never justifies why sports teams should "obviously not name their teams ethnic slurs"; my C1 indicates otherwise.

O2) Tribal Opinion

Firstly, let's note that I can cross-apply both C1 and C3-- the team has no obligation to avoid offending people, and the 1.2 million natives who are supposedly offended by the name make up only 0.4% of the US population (as opposed to the 71% who support the name). Pro claims that the NCAI represents 1.2 million natives, but just as the political affiliation of the US president does not reflect the affiliations of even the vast majority of citizens, it is highly unlikely that every single one of those 1.2 million natives is "staunchly opposed" to the name. There IS substantial support for the Redskins name from NA's [3].

O3) Ask Permission!

First of all, this is not a reason to change the Redskins name; it is a suggestion on how the Redskins can change to become "more acceptable". Reject this contention because it does not affirm the resolution. Aside from that, it is an absurd idea; Pro seems to believe that we should treat the name “redskins” as the creative property of NA's and ask for every single individual’s permission before using it. However, it can’t be treated as their creative property for the obvious reason that they did not create it, nor did they formally inherit it from anyone who did. This may be the case for specific tribes who have been officially registered under their names, but it simply doesn’t apply to such general terms. Just as white people as a whole do not own the term “Caucasian”, and just as homosexuals do not own the term “queer”, NA's do not own the term “redskin”. Just because they are occasionally referred to as such does not suddenly mean that the term has become their property and can no longer be used publicly without their permission.

O4) Racist Stereotypes

This argument should be rejected because 1) Pro provides no reason for us to believe that term “redskin” represents a specific, negative NA stereotype, and 2) Pro fails to demonstrate that the team merely having that name directly leads to the propagation of that stereotype. Also, cross-apply C2.

O5) Redface/Costumed Fans

Cross-apply C1 to reject Pro’s bare assertion that “disrespecting other cultures" is inherently wrong, and cross-apply C2 to show that the lack of intended disrespect on the part of Redskins fans renders this contention mitigated. Furthermore, note that it is highly unlikely that many of the fans’ customs and traditions noted by Pro are going to go away just by changing the team’s name, thus erasing this contention's impact. Pro’s comparisons of redface to blackface are asinine because redface simply does not have the history of racial discrimination behind it that blackface does [4]. Lastly, Pro does not show that any of the behaviors of Redskins fans while costumed have *actually* resulted in people’s opinions of natives being significantly reduced (i.e. no demonstrable harms).

O6) Job Discrimination

This relies on the bare assertion from O5 that the WA Redskins actually project a negative image of NA's. It is also correlation/causation fallacy-- high unemployment rates among NA's is caused by completely independent economic factors [5].

O7) Cultural Genocide

Cross-apply rebuttal to O5.

O8) Memorabilia Sales

Cross-apply rebuttal to O5.



This ad is paid for by the Oneida Nation.

=Broken Rules=

Con broke the rules of this debate by deliberately linking to an external source with extra debate space, adding nearly 1,000 illegal characters of text and sources. Con thus forfeits the debate.


Con and I have a SHARED BoP, which means that there is no default winner.

Con says in (C1) that unless Pro proves beyond a doubt that Washington has an obligation to change their name, Con wins by default. However, Con clear describes a debate where Pro has the *full* BoP.


Shared BoP is like a see-saw. For each position (in this case each “obligation”), the scales are neutral—Con and Pro each have 50% chance of being right. During the debate, we are each trying to tip the scales in our favor.

Thus, in this debate, Con needs to show that it is *more likely* that Washington has *no* obligation to change its name.

Likewise, Pro needs to show that it is *more likely* that Washington has an obligation to change their name.


In EVERY DICTIONARY I could find, “Red*kins” was considered offensive, taboo, or a hateful slur. We must accept the word “Redskin” is currently offensive. Con does not contest my definitions.


Why not Washington “Redtails” (honoring a ground of African-American pilots)(19), or the “Oorang Indians” (which actually honors a famous team of American Indian football players)(20)?




Obligation #1 Hate Slur

1. The current use of the word as an ethnic slur is supported by every dictionary and hate database I could find. Furthermore, the indirect testimony of millions of Native Americans, the United States patent office, and the direct input of many tribes supports this fact.

2. The historical use was to refer to the bloody corpse of a Native American scalp sold for money. Con completely missed the point when he cited an earlier benign use of the R-word. The N-word also has a benign original use—it was simply Latin for “black” (24). However, there were other relevant momement in history that made the N-word bad, just like the R-word.

3. Con wanted to know if racial slurs have negative effects. Sure! (21, 22, 23)

a. Merely overhearing a racial slur lowers one’s opinion of the recipient (times millions for Washington fans concerning Native Americans).

b. Dehumanizes

c. Can cause physiological and psychological injuries, including:


*Difficulty breathing


*Heart disease

*High blood pressure


*Thoughts of suicide

d. Can cause POC to leave their home or job to avoid recurring racial slur

e. “… [racial slurs] lay the groundwork for both individual and state-sponsored violence against that group

f. Causes user to assume negative stereotypes about group

All of these are effects of merely using, receiving, or overhearing a racial slur, completely apart from intent. I’ve proven either a dozen obligations, or one big one. Either way, Pro wins.





Obligation #2: Tribal Opinion

Are the opinions of Native American tribes less valuable because they are fewer in number? I say no. In fact, the fact that 300 million people are insulting the dignity of a racial minority makes things far worse.

Tribes’ opinions are what is relevant in this debate, because they are the ones at risk of significant harm.

It may be slightly offensive to a couple Washington fans to change the name, but keeping the name is far more offensive to Native Americans.

If the majority’s interest were morally allowed to overcome the minority’s interest, slavery would still be accepted.

Lastly, Con linked to a story of a single high school supporting the Washington team’s name. Really, Con? One high school?


I will later show how Con has no real evidence of a “majority opinion.”


For these reasons, please vote Pro.

Obligation #3: Ask permission!

1. If the Washington team name can be changed to make it more acceptable, then Washington has an obligation to do so, even if only a small one.

2. Con seems to confuse legal obligation with moral obligation.

3. If you are going to use your team to represent another’s identity, the least you can do is ask their permission first. If you are going to name your team the “Bill Gates,” you are morally obligated to ask him first, or else risk slander.

Using a harmful ethnic slur to refer to an ethnicity and racist costumes constitutes slander. The immorality of Washington’s name is multiplied by millions, for each fan immorally stealing and slandering the identity of a race.

Obligation #4: Racist stereotypes

I gave two links to racism, both of which Con failed to refute.

1. Having a team name dedicated to an entire race is bound to make it seem like they are all alike. In fact, there is no way to depict the well over 500 tribes of Native Americans as a cohesive whole.

2. Team names are meant to characterize the group as ferocious. Categorizing Native Americans as ferocious is racist, and a stereotype that many Native Americans have worked for hundreds of years to undo.

Perpetuating racism is highly unethical. For this reason, please vote Pro.

Obligation #5: Racist Outfits

1. I have clearly shown that making “Red*kin” the team name causes people to wear “stereotypical Native American” clothing, including headdresses. I have shown that that is disrespectful to that culture and historically inaccurate (link to #7). And it is indeed unethical to insult another culture, especially when they do not deserve it.

2. Furthermore, according to certain tribes’ mores, one is *ethically obliged* not to wear headdresses unless earned. Simply because this is not a European ethical obligation does not make it less of an ethical obligation.

3. Fans dress up as their team symbol. If the Washington team no longer represents the “Red*kins,” far fewer fans will dress up as that.

4. Fans unintentionally(?) depict Native Americans as savage and alcoholic, which is quite racist. Unsurprisingly there have been no studies on Washington’s football team and racism, but using logic we can justifiably assume a causal role.

5. Washington lost its patent, which mean they have no control over the merchandise fans wear. Thus, *tens of thousands* more will likely be in redface, unless the name changes.

For all these reasons vote Pro.

Obligation #6: Job Discrimination
Con was not careful here. My previous studies *accounted for* other economic factors, and still showed in inequality in employment. Both sources admitted that the best explanation for the data is discrimination. Con dropped everything else.

Causing job discrimination is a *major* ethical violation. Con shouldn't have dropped this obligation.

Obviously, Pro wins this point/debate.

Obligation #7: Cultural Genocide

Cultural genocide is worthy of more than 5-words! I have shown exactly why Native American children are even willing to die for their culture to be preserved. I have shown exactly why Washington’s team is committing cultural genocide. It's not a mere matter of “being offended”--the survival of cultures are on the line.

Because culture was more important than life to many Native Americans, Washington has a *colossal* obligation to avoid cultural genocide. Con entirely dropped this point. Pro has thus *clearly* won the debate.

Obligation #8: Loss of memorabilia.

Con’s O5 makes no sense in this context. I’m saying that changing the name is a good, practical business decision because the team is about to lose most of it’s money. Don’t let Con pick this point back up. Please vote Pro.


Obligation #9: Using an ethnic slur as a name is irrational.

Con dropped.

O#10: Justified offense

The term carries the connotations of being merely an enemy who is better dead. “Getting offended” is justified in this case.

Con dropped.

O#11: The original intention of the owner’s were racist.

Con dropped.

O #12: Changing the name will allow protesters to focus on improving other things, including health care, education, and access to electricity.

Con dropped.



1.Cross apply “BoP” for an analysis of why Con’s analysis of BoP is incorrect.

2.There are many reasons to stand up against bullies. It is quite possible to bully with words. If someone is being verbally abusive, we do not blame the one getting offended. We blame the one offending. That is obvious.

Native Americans aren’t getting offending on a whim. My entire case shows why it is justified.

Even if Native Americans aren’t justified, their feelings and input remain the same. My entire case is unchanged. Cross apply my whole case.


“Originalism” is the most pointless contention ever.

1.Con’s main source is an online debate, which is hardly unbiased.

2.Originalism generally applies to law, and maybe literature. It does not apply here.

3.In this case, who would be the “author”? The first person to use the R-word? The #1 fan? There is no way to apply this.

4.There is no way to apply originalism here, because we cannot read peoples’ minds to find their intentions.

5.Con gives no reason why originalism is better than any other way of understanding language.

6.Even if it is the best interpretation of a word, *so what*? Even if the protestors are irrational, *so what*? My entire case *still* works to show why the name should be changed.

Originalism is irrelevant on many levels.


1.When did Con care about people being upset?

2.How many fans were in tears? One?

3.ESPN’s polls did not take into account that people might like an alternative to “Red*kins” better. Also, ESPN’s polls suffered from “selection bias.” People would likely hang up unless they were big fans of football. Thus, it is likely that only football fans answered the poll, skewing the results.

4.”Fighting Sioux” is still irrelevant.

5.I *have* justified my ethics. I am winning Deontology AND Utilitarianism.

Obviously, Pro has won this debate. Con has no working offensive points, but Pro has at least 12 (and only 1 is needed).

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks for the debate, kbub.

I will start off by addressing a few miscellaneous issues...

Broken Rules: Pro broke the rules of this debate by deliberately linking a video which likely had thousands of characters worth of words in it supporting his case. This is clearly an illegal violation of the character limit and Pro thus forfeits the debate. Oh, wait, there was never any rule stating that the character limit must be followed so strictly... please disregard both my own and Pro's supposed "violations". We meant no harm in breaking imaginary rules to improve the overall quality of the debate.

BOP: I agree that we do have a shared burden of proof for the debate as a whole. In C1, I was simply making the argument that from an objective ethical standpoint, there is nothing about "offending people" that would render it immoral. Naturally, Pro has to refute this argument in order to mitigate it, and he has not successfully done so. Perhaps I misused the term "BOP", but that has no bearing on the soundness of C1.

Definitions: Pro's case here relies on the assumption that we are required to hold dictionary definitions as absolute. I have shown that this is not the case. Pro's semantics case should be rejected.

Alternatives: Pro presents alternative team names, but never explains why the team is *obligated* to adopt them.

== NEG CASE ==

C1) Taking Offense

We can cross-apply my response to "BoP" to reject Pro's BOP analysis... it is hardly a matter of BOP at all. It is a matter of Pro failing to actually rebut my argument, which is the most basic burden of any debater. He instead continues to stick with the bare assertion that offense mandates change. He has only said "it's obvious", whereas as I have fully substantiated by argument. We need to look no further than DDO to see that there is no consensus on whether the offender or the offended is to blame, and thus we can safely reject Pro's rebuttal []. Almost all of Pro's case relies on the premise that people have an obligation not to offend others. This argument refutes that premise, and thus serves to negate the resolution all on its own.

C2) Originalism

1) The source of my philosophical justification of originalism is irrelevant as long as the actual justification is sound. 2) The fact that originalism is generally not applied to word definitions in general is irrelevant as long as the application itself is sound. 3) In this case, the "author" would be the Redskins team and fanbase as a whole. 4) We cannot read their minds, but I have provided evidence that the team and fans only associate a positive connotation with the word, whereas Pro has only provided inconclusive speculation to the contrary. 5) I spent entire paragraphs showing why originalism is the most effective and accurate interpretation of words... 6) This argument is *very* relevant because it attacks another core premise of Pro's case: that the Redskin name carries offensive connotations.

Pro has utterly failed to rebut this contention, which is devastating to his chances of winning the debate, as it alone is sufficient to negate the resolution (as described in sub-point 7).

C3) Utilitarianism

1) Pro will prudently note that I said my contentions function independently of each other to negate the resolution, which means pointing out contradictions between them does nothing to mitigate them.

2) The source I cited simply served to show that there are emotional harms on the side of Redskins team/fans as well; Pro has not even done that much, only telling us that big impersonal organizations (which almost certainly don't actually represent the views of 1.2 million individuals) disapprove of the name.

3) Pro does not show that either of the "flaws" are necessarily bad. Just as Pro thinks that only the opinions of NA's are relevant in this issue, perhaps it is for the better that only football fans have their opinions represented. Whatever the case, Pro-Redskin people still far outnumber anti-Redskin people. 59% of America's more than 300 million people are "football fans", so 71% of that is still *far* more than 1.2 million [].

4) The "Fighting Sioux" example serves as a case study and is thus still relevant

5) I clearly demonstrated last round that Pro has not successfully justified his deontological ethical system (see C1). Pro has flatly lost on both utilitarianism and deontology.

== NEG CASE ==

I have run out of time...

-- Cross-apply C1, C2
-- Pro concedes that words change in meaning over time, yet denies that the meaning could be different now. This claim is self-contradictory and should be rejected
-- Pro doesn't show any widespread occurrences of the conditions he notes occurring in NA's as a direct result of the Redskins name...

-- Cross-apply O1, O2, O3 and previous rebuttals (Pro has not successfully mitigated many of them)

-- Pro gives no evidence to show that his studies actually accounted for all other economic factors. His sources are not particularly reputable.

-- same as O2-5

-- Pro does not show that the Redskins have a "practical obligation" to maximize their profits...

I know this was extremely rushed, but the resolution is nevertheless resoundingly negated. There is no obligation for the Redskins to change their name.


Thanks for the debate, UchihaMadara!

=Pro wins=
Having run out of time, Con unfortunately dropped most of the debate.

In contrast, Pro secured a win in several ways. The most obvious are because Con both conceded my BoP analysis (which says that any obligation is a win for Pro) and *dropped* my Obligations 9-12. These four uncontested obligations guarantee a win for Pro.

However, I've also won every other contension, which I'll make clear presently.

=Broken Rules=
Con defends his 1000 extra characters of text by saying that the character limit was only an "imaginary" rule. However, that's not true. When I accepted this debate, I agreed to a limit of 10,000 characters per round. Those were Con's own settings.

Con admits that he used a link that took the voter to another webpage where he wrote a 1,000 characters of text because he wanted extra space. This is a violation of the explicit rules that I agreed to at the start of the debate.

It's also a violation of the implicit rules of debating on DDO. Users can always have the opportunity to link to a Google document, where they have virtually unlimited text. In that sense, we *do* need to follow this rule strictly. This rule violation makes debate unfair for everyone.
Con then claims that my youtube video was a violation of the rules. However, that is not the case. I had to use my characters to write a url, whereas Con avoided writing *all* of his links, except for one.

Furthermore, youtube videos are built into the debate--like pictures--in a way that Con's text is not.

Also, I neither spoke nor wrote the video. Nor did I use the video in place of arguments. Con fundamentally misunderstands the rules.

I never wrote the words of my sources. My video was usual debating, whereas *Con wrote his own source* that he linked to!
Furthermore, if Con wanted an external site for text to be allowed, he should have made it clear from the beginning. I had 18 sources the round before. It is extremely unfair for Con to have 1000 characters more space than Pro.

For these reasons, Con forfeits the debate.

Con conceded my BoP analysis. Con agreed that the shared BoP means that we treat every obligation by default as being 50% possible. This means that I only need to give the *slightest net evidence* for *any* obligation in order to win.

I will now how how this dropped analysis leads to a clear win for Pro.

Pro completely misunderstands my use of definitions.

It was my impression that the main purpose of dictionaries are to explain the current usage of words. I have given links to tons of dictionaries that claim that the current use of the word "red*kin" is an offensive slur against Native Americans. Additionally, I checked a hate slur database, which listed "red*kin" as being a current hate slur. Con *drops* all of this analysis.

Con's *only* rebuttal is a new argument. He claims that dictionaries are "not absolute." I agree. But they reliably show the current usage of words. He has therefore dropped all my relevant arguments about using dictionaries to find the current usage of words. He offered *zero* reasons to reject my dictionary definitions.

Also, Con *concedes* my arguments in O1 that many Native American tribes and the US Patent Office testify that the current use of the word is a hate slur. We have every reason to accept that the word "Red*kin" is currently a hate slur.

Con effectively dropped my Obligations 1-8. For all of my 12 obligations, Con wrote only *5 sentences total* of arguments, which were insufficent (obviously) and maybe a bit nonsensical.

Instead of writing arguments, he asks voters to do the work instead. For example, for my O2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, he asks you (dear reader) to "cross apply O1, O2, O3 [C1-3?], and previous rebuttals," saying "Pro has not successfully mitigated many of them."

However, in Con's rush he seemed to have neglected to mention which arguments I didn't mitigate, how any of his previous rebuttals apply, and why C1, 2, or 3 apply.

Worse, in most of these "rebuttals," Con fails to write a single arguments for himself.

Obligation #1: Hate slur
I have made many arguments that Con dropped about why the current use of the word "red*kin" is a hate slur.

The only response Con gives is a quote from some fans who basically says "I'm not being racist." That isn't "evidence." Just because someone says "I'm not racist" doesn't make it true.

Next, I've explained many psychological, physical, ethical, social, and economical harms of using, overhearing, or receiving a hate slur generally. Con concedes all of these findings and effects.

Con asks that I put out studies on the "Washington Red*kins" specifically. That study doesn't exist, but my studies are sufficient. Secondly, my sources *specifically mention "Red*kin"* as an ethical slur. Extend *all* of the implications of the word, including suicide.

Extend that the effects count as 13 obligations. Even if it isn't technically a slur for some reason, I've shown it still functions as one.

For 13 reasons Pro clearly wins.

=A quick word on Obligations 2-5, and 7=
Con asks the voters to cross-apply his every current and past argument to these contentions. And says nothing else.

HOW are we supposed to cross-apply these arguments? Pro makes no explanation, no analysis, and no arguments. He pretty much asks voters to make arguments for him. Dear voters, please don't make up arguments for Con. That's Con's job.

Obligation 2: Tribal Opinion
>The tribes are the most at risk for harm. Thus, their opinion is more ethically valued than the owners or fans. Con drops this arguments.
>Con drops all arguments showing various tribes' being offended by the word. We should accept this as fact.
>He drops that all tribes are different, and thus have different experiences with "Red*kin" and are thus offended to different degrees.
>He drops that *one* nation's opinion is sufficient obligation for the change.
>He drops that the minority interest shouldn't be bullied by the majority interest, as in this case.
>He drops that changing the name does no significant harm to fans.

Obligation 3: Ask permission!
>Con drops that even a slight obligation to be more acceptable is still an obligation. He drops that changing the name to wait for permission is slightly more acceptable. He therefore drops this obligation.
>Con drops that he was confusing legal and moral obligations.
>He drops that Washington is impersonating the cultural identity of Native Americans, and are therefore obligated to change their name before asking their permission.
>He drops that this obligation is multiplied by millions, for every fan and Native American.

Obligation 4: Racist stereotypes
>Con drops that Washington's name specifically causes people to treat them as "all the same" rather than individual people.
>Drops that the name causes people to perpetuate the stereotype the Native Americans are violent(!).
>Drops that perpetuating racist stereotypes is an ethical violation

Obligation 5: Racist Outfits
>Con drops the link to disrespect and to cultural genocide
>Drops the violation of some Native American tribes' ethics, which are just as valuable as any
>Drops that the name causes fans to dress up
>Drops that racist stereotypes are perpetuated through this dressing up.
>Drops that the patent loss will dramatically increase this problem.

Obligation 6: Job Discrimination
>All my sources stated that economic factors were accounted for. Con misread.
>I used two studies by a Research Associate at the Economic Policy Institute. Plenty reputable.
>Con dropped everything else. We therefore can accept this evidence as a causal relation between the Washington team name and job discrimination.

Obligation 7: Cultural Genocide
>Con dropped the whole thing, including that Washington's changing its name *may be more important than human lives*.
>Con drops that Washington's name is destroying Native cultures.

Obligation 8: Sales
Making money is a practical obligation for a for-profit organization.

--All Dropped--

O9-12 are Turns, which means that they are justified by Con's own logic. Impacts include: Racism, health care, education, access to electricity, and justification for being offended.

1.Con's one response is the offender "isn't always" to blame. Who cares? The point is change, not blame.
2.Maybe "being offended" doesn't *always* mandate change. But I show through my whole case how and why it does this time.
3.Contradicts C3.

Org = Originalism
Con is still going for Org
1. I have shown the Org is supposed to work for books--not speech.
Con only showed that Org works for one word in one situation.
2. I showed why Org doesn't work here
3. Con gives no evidence of "intent."
4. The fans wear headdresses. Obviously, bad intent.
5. Fans' intents may contradict
6. Con gave no reason why Org is better than anything else.

1. Con concedes that his points contradict. At least one of them therefore fails.
2. Con's emotional evidence is one person claiming to cry.
3. If Con's numbers are right, that's only 41% of US people who agree with the name, leaving possibly 59% who don't. However, the poll about "NFL fans" is biased in the same way as ESPN's polls--self-selection bias. Thus, we have no idea what the "majority" opinion is on the word.
>Additionally, the poll included no alternative names. The fans may only want to change "Red*kins" to avoid a worse name they have in mind. They would answer more favorably in the context of a good alternative.
>Con conceded my good alternatives
4. Case studies aren't generalizable.

During this debate, I have shown that Pro has unquestionably won many times over. I've first shown how Con broke the rules of the debate, meriting a forfeit. Additionally, I only needed to win *one* obligatoin, but I have won *all 12* (or 24, see O1)! Four weren't even mentioned in Con's last round, and all Con's contentions clearly flopped.

For all these reasons, please vote Pro.

Thanks for reading!!
Debate Round No. 4
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
(Part 5)

== Conclusion ==

So essentially, at the end of the debate, I'm left with Pro completely winning orginalism, so Pro wins that the term is offensive. I have a bunch of impacts for Pro about why you shouldn't keep an offensive name: you wouldn't call the 49ers the "SF N**gers," they could get consent if it were really non-offensive, it really harms their cultural traditions by appropriating the headdress which is scared and has to be earned (like peeing on the American flag in terms of disrespect). I also have the economic point, that the team can earn way more money by changing to a name that they *can* get a trademark on, so they will get merchandise sales again.

On the Con side, all I'm really left with is the impact that some fans will be unhappy and some will cry. I don't really know how to quantify that. So it doesn't really matter what weighing mechanism I use. Under util, Pro clearly wins. The benefits from changing the name completely outweigh the harms articulated by Pro. Under deont., Pro would win be default because there's a moral obligation not to exploit the name for the franchise's ends. Either way, Pro wins, so I vote Pro.

Uchiha should have spent more time showing the negative effect the name change would have on fans. There are past name changes of sports franchises to draw upon. And Uchiha should have spent more time minimizing the harms, e.g. polls show the majority of Native Americans would keep the name and even those that want it changed, it's not *that* big a deal to them. It's not as bad as the "N" word. And Uchiha should have actually made an argument for modern meaning not being offensive, instead of accidentally turning his own originalism point by arguing that originalism was bad.
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
(7) Con argument: Further racist sentiments

I kind of hate the color-blindness argument: that talking about racism is racist. That's all this is. I think kbub's statistics about job discrimination prove that racism isn't dead against Native Americans. So it's not racist to complain that people are being racist.

(8) Pro arguments

Honestly, a lot of these are a bit under-warranted, so it's almost not worth separating them out. I think Pro purposely creates too many obligations to seem like there's more points on Pro's side than there actually are. Some of the turns aren't really turns, they're just defense. The hate slur/fans/job discrimination are all the same point in my mind: it's an offensive term, and it perpetuates stereotypes against Native Americans. The job contention is just an impact to that argument. I'm not a huge fan of creating so many different labels to make it seem like there are more arguments. It just makes the debate harder to read.

That said, Pro did make a lot of good points here. I think kbub really does prove that the term has a historical meaning that is offensive, that a lot of Native Americans currently find it offensive, that we've destroyed Native American culture is such a way that we have a moral obligation to afford it respect now, and that consent is a key part of using a term that you claim is not offensive. Uchiha dismisses the consent point, yet he himself brings up the consent argument for the Fighting Sioux by implying that consent from the Sioux tribe made use of the name okay. So if consent is important for the Fighting Sioux, why not the Redskins. Supposedly when black people use the N word, it's okay because of the consent issue; they have consent to use the term and appropriate it for themselves. I think consent is also a strong argument and a good alternative if Con is really right that the term is no longer offensive and tons of Native Americans support its use.
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
(Part 3)

(5) Con argument: util

Con argues that because a majority want to keep the name, that outweighs the minority. Again, kbub responds how I would: util also weighs harms and benefits, not just what people want. Otherwise, if a majority wanted slavery, it'd be considered moral under util. Uchiha later backs this point up with one harm: the fans will be sad. However, kbub shows far more harms. The following two harms were most persuasive: (1) cultural appropriation is offensive to the Native American identity; the headdress has a special meaning and the Redskins name causes the fans to destroy that tradition by wearing it; with the past intentional attempts to destroy Native American culture, they even more so need to safeguard it; (2) economic harms: the Redskins lost their trademark (kbub, a patent is a different thing; you called it a patent in the debate), so they are going to massively lose out on merchandise sales; if they changed their name, they'd make a TON more money. Uchiha doesn't offer any response to this last point. That is my main criticism of his side; he never proves that fans would be less likely to go to games or support the franchise if there is a name change.

(6) Majority support [revisited]

I forgot to say that kbub also straight turned this, imo. They never asked people in the poll whether they would prefer a different name. The poll about keeping the name is a bit biased because people aren't considering alternatives when asked that question. They're comparing it to a vacuum, essentially no name at all for the team. If they thought of a really cool new name, people might like it better. I really liked this response from kbub. And again, the new name would increase merchandise sales.
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
uchiha only sites isolated examples (a high school said this, this Sioux woman said that...). So if anything, Pro shows that a majority of Native Americans think the term is offensive, and when talking about offensive words, it matters more what a majority of the minority thinks than a majority of all people.

(4) Con argument: originalism

Oh my god, this argument turned out so badly for Con. As Con's Round 1 points out, originalism is a form of textual interpretation that posits that words should be interpreted according to the *original* meaning of the person who wrote them. Kbub shows that the founders of the Redskins franchise thought that the term referred either to scalping practices or to Redskins as fierce native warriors (which is racist in the sense that not all tribes were the same, not all fought us, and not all even had "warriors"). So the original meaning of the drafters of the team name was racist. The earlier cheerleaders even would go around scalping people. Uchiha argues that these practices aren't in use anymore, and we have to look at the *current* intentions of the fans and owners. However, that's not how originalism works. In fact, current contextual meaning is anathema to originalism. In constitutional interpretation, the opposite of originalism is a "living constitution" theory, which asks that we interpret words how we would choose to interpret them or use them *today.* The originalists disagree: the words mean whatever the Founders meant them to be. All of Uchiha's arguments about current practices are irrelevant to originalism. Pro straight turns this argument, and given that Uchiha endorses originalism to divine the meaning of words, the straight turn means that Pro has already won that the team name itself is offensive (due to original meaning).
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
== RFD == (Part 1)

This debate was kind of a slaughter. Uchiha had weak arguments from the get-go and dropped a lot of important responses.

(1) The posting of additional characters

This isn't a voting issue to me. I just won't consider any of the sources that Uchiha cited for that round. He didn't literally post additional arguments. Even if he did, I'd ignore those too. The lesser remedy is always chosen (disregarding the argument) over the harsher remedy (awarding the whole win for the violation). I also agree kbub also extended his character space by asking users to watch a video. I don't read sources unless a source challenge is made because I think doing so extends the debater's character space, and I don't watch videos for the same reason. If kbub wanted me to consider the video as evidence, kbub would have had to summarize its content in the debate.

(2) The definitions debate

I don't really accept that semantics rules require me to assume that the word Redskins is offensive. I think Pro has the BOP to establish that (which he does). I'm always hesitant to adopt a definition that automatically awards the win to one side, and defining Redskins as inherently offensive essentially awards the win to Pro from the get-go.

(3) Con argument: offense isn't a reason to vote Pro

I thought this point was weak from the get-go, and kbub refuted it the same way I would. Kbub pointed out that the same rationale would justify using the word N***** or keeping slavery if only a minority objected to it. There is a poll out there showing that a majority of Native Americans support keeping the name, proving Con's point that the groups that claim to represent Native American opinion do not actually represent the majority viewpoint among Native Americans. I'm honestly shocked Pro didn't cite this poll. It's on the Wikipedia page, so it's not hard to find. Without proof that most Native Americans want to keep the name, I buy kbub's argument that.....
Posted by dtaylor971 7 years ago
Part II:


A major issue in the resolution was whether or not the impacts of the current name mandated a name change. Or, in other words, would the effects on the team, players, and fans outweigh the current effects on the Natives? Pro showed, beyond much doubt, that the team would not be affected as much as the native americans are currently. Con argued that the team and fans would be offended, but did not use much evidence to back his claim up. Furthermore, this argument would refute his "offensiveness mandates change" argument. Essentially, since pro showed that the effects (both racially and offensively) on the natives are far worse than any simple name change of a team ever could be.


Let's go over the details:

-Con's argument that offensiveness does not mandate change was essentially undermined by the pro
-Pro expressed that the effects of the team name goes beyond simple racial implications
-It was agreed upon (via semantics rule) that "Redskin" was offensive
-Using the n----r argument, pro showed that even if no offense is intended, a name change still can be mandated
-There was not any "historical significance" regarding the Redskins' team name
-The current effects greatly outweigh the effects that would come to happen if the team name was changed

Good job by both debaters, but I ultimately must change my ballot to the pro.
Posted by dtaylor971 7 years ago
Part I:


May I start off by saying I was quite concerned with con's sourcing, as it clearly violated the guidelines set in the debate. I'll let it slide, as this is not a standard voting debate. It looks to me that the burden of proof is shared, as asserted aggressively by pro. Seeing that this has been established, we can move onto the debating part of this vote.

==Offensiveness does not mandate change.==

A great point by con here at first glance. He effectively showed that offensiveness does not mandate change. However, I found his argument concerning change in schools and media not convincing. The debate was essentially about changing the name of a football team, not significantly altering children's education or censoring public media. This point was essentially undermined by pro, as she showed that the team name caused more than offensiveness, as it did violate ethics and cause some fans to completely misrepresent native americans- which goes further than pure offensiveness.

==San Francisco n-----s"

This was one of my favorite points by pro; I wish she had expanded on it a little more. It was described that, while no harm may be intended, it can still be obligated to change. This example correlates with the debate exactly. Redskin is offensive, as is n-----s (though not exactly to the same extent,) and there is no harm intended (in either example.) However, pro showed that, though there was no harm or racial implications intended, the name should still be changed, which actually refuted quite a few of con's arguments. A very nice point brought up here by pro.

Having discussed the two best points from the debate, I can now elaborate on the other points brought up in the debate.
Posted by bsh1 7 years ago
Full Disclosure: I was asked to vote by Kbub.
Posted by bladerunner060 7 years ago
As always, I'm happy to clarify my RFD.

That said, this was somewhat less thorough of one than I would have normally done. I'm sick as a dang dog. So I recognize it's more likely to be a less-focused RFD than my usual ones are (as verbose as they usually are, I think they're at least FOCUSED and longwinded). So yeah, it's statistically more likely that I've said something unclear, so while I say it every time, I want to underscore the "Happy to clarify my RFD" point.
Posted by bladerunner060 7 years ago
RFD 1/4:

This debate was strange in the course it ran.

The BoP was shared--sorta, but was quibbled over later within the debate. Normally, the status quo gets something of deference for being the status quo. But if you set the debate up as a shared BoP, you have explicitly set it up to have a shared BoP--so the status quo is not sufficient, a case must be made.

Con opened by arguing as C1 that taking offense does not mandate change. He argues a prima facie strange point regarding freedom of expression, which rather seems outside the scope of this debate and seems to shift it. I would not have expected this debate to be about whether the team should be *legally forced* to change their name, and it wasn't really the rest of the debate's scope. The contention falls under that weight, but as Con expands on it it doesn't get much better. Taking offense is "inherently irrational", but Con doesn't give us actual irrational reasons. He then tries to equate the offsense the Natives take at the use of the term "Redskins" with Creationists rejecting science. On its face that's simply not a coherent equivalency. There's a difference between iconography and substance, between mascots and science, and attempting to simply ignore it makes the whole case fall apart.

That said, the overall thrust of the point remains at least somewhat: That this offense needs to have justification, and that there must be a link between offense and "should".

Con's C2 is in favor of originalism, claiming that there's no intention of racism on the part of the team. Scrolling down into Pro's case shows this to be an absurdity. Con argues that "redskins" is a neutral term, in contrast to C1 where he seemed to accept it as offensive and reject offense conceptually. He gives no support for this contention, however; the closest he comes is when talking about the football team, not about the term in general, and what he provides for the football team wasn't all that compelling.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 7 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: In comments. Sorry for sudden vote change, Uchi
Vote Placed by bluesteel 7 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by bsh1 7 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I am very concerned about Con's methods of citing sources in R3. For me, this is an attempt to circumvent the character limit, which is a serious breach of rules. If I could award separate conduct or sources points, they would unquestionably be Pro's. Suffice it to say that since I don't have these separate points to award, I will instead give a strong presumption in favor of Pro while evaluating arguments. That said, I don't think it was fair of Pro to say Con's arguments were not topical; I found them all topical, with relevant impacts in the rounds. I think Pro's example of the SanFran N*****s really captures the essence of this debate. Can a racist term, even if no harm was meant, be justified? I don't see any response to this. If this isn't okay, I see no reason why we should allow the term Redskins to be used as a team name--there isn't much functional difference. I liked some of Con's arguments, and I agree with his position on this topic, but, w/ the presumption, I vote Pro.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 7 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Vote withdrawn. I clearly missed a few points, and thus presented an inadequate RFD. If I have the time, I will place my new vote. For now though, it'd be best to remove the impact of my vote from the final outcome due to errors of my own judgement.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 7 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro tried too hard to prove that the term was offensive. This matters, because Con's case largely focused on how being offensive does not mandate change. I feel I must agree there. Pro had the job of proving that the team name was bad in such a way to warrant change. Much like how a cracked window warrants change, but an ugly shade of window does not. Pro didn't try enough to prove the name caused actual harm to anyone aside from bad PR. And Con proved the bad PR from changing the name would be worse. I feel Con should have focused on the costs of changing the name more, but it's okay that he didn't. Basically, Pro didn't justify the issues of having to change a century old brand name. Being offensive isn't enough to warrant a necessary change of name, especially when the name (not the term, but the actual team name) was symbolically chosen by a native american to represent his people. Pro didn't provide enough realistic reasons outside of basically saying "we should be nicer."

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