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tv   Crossfire  CNN  October 18, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> redskins can't possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait. nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. it's an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent. >> as if washington doesn't have enough on its plate, suddenly the battle is urgent business. now, i can absolutely imagine the name redskins being offensive, but in an odd twist, most native-americans disagree. many like the spirit lake and the seminoles are proud of their heritage and proud it's being celebrated. so it's pretty hard to see this as anything other than a media creation and political correctness at its worst. >> well, fill couldn't disagree more. it's not political correctness when the dictionary defines the term as derogatory. i've been talking to native-american leaders and say this term originated when bounty hunters went out to killed
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native-americans, scalp them and bring back that redskin. i can understand everybody but we have good guests to sort it out. in the crossfire tonight, the legendary eleanor holmes norton, she's calls for changing the team's name. also rising star talk show host larry elder. >> not legendary yet. >> now, listen, i want to start with you. you know, we don't agree on very much, but one thin we have always agreed on is the important of familihood and fatherhood. if you were to go to a football game and see a native-american family and father there with his children, would you walk up to him and say hi there, redskin would you do that? >> i wouldn't do that, because it was be -- >> ludicrous. >> the owner back in 1930, george marshall was honoring the coach, who was part sioux. as you pointed out moss
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native-americans have no problem with the name. in fact about 11% do. you mentioned family. i'm happy you did. if i were bob costas and concerned about the native-american sensibility, i would be concerned about the fact that on the reservations, high unemployment, high alcoholism. why? because of the welfare state we have managed to make native-americansen. far bigger issue. >> you know, there's a perfectly fair argument that this is an offensive term, but to who will? polls is not great on this, but there was an am berg survey in 2004 that found 90% said the name didn't bother them chief robert had this to say -- frankly the members of my tribe, the vast majority don't find it offensive. i've been a redskins fan for years, and i would be offended if they did change it. who are your victims here? >> this is not about victims.
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it's interesting that uyou two cite -- >> i didn't. >> if you're going to interrupt me we're going to get to fisticuffs. >> the a.p. poll in march dern. >> let me explain what i think -- because i think that is fair. the american indians are, what, 2%, 3% of the population. the largest coalition of american indians, the american council of american indians is on record strongly for changing the name as a drogue toffee name, as defined in the dictionary i want and they represent 150 trins, the vast majority of federal tribes, and two thirds of the native-american population. >> now -- here's how it's usually posed, should they changed name, or does the name redskins offend you? i'm a third-generation washingtonian. used the name all my life until
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the indians, the american indians raised my consciousness to something i veteran of the civil rights movement, did not know. so when people hear that it's derogatory, they wonder, are they saying i'm a racist? and since i'm not, i -- i go into denial. therefore i deny that this name is derogatory. but if we have a fencef to advocate people about why it's derogatory, and to make them understand that it is not for us to decide what is derogatory. it is for those who receive it. >> understood, but congresswoman, as larry pointed out, native-americans have real problems. in fact, listen to what one virginia tribal chief had to say about president obama's support to change the name.
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take a listen. >> why would my president say that's offensive to me? what's offensive to me is this? we have 11 state recognized tribes, and he hasn't done one thing to get thor tribes federally recognized. >> what are you doing for the native-americans that you care about, to eradicate a lot of the other issues that are weighing on their minds. not doing to them -- >> no, i asked you the question. >> i am going to answer it. this has nothing to do with the congress of the united states, and by your referring this discussion making it look as the hometown team and the congress are the same thing, you are indeed conflaying. >> no, they have real problems that are being ignored. >> and you will find that overwhelmingly both democrats -- >> let me ask a question -- if obama had weighed in, as you
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know, if he owned the team, he would change the name. the bureau of indians afarce is still call the bureau of indians affairs, how come president obama hasn't done something like that, since he's so sensitive stanford changed their name was the became was deemed to be offensive? >> council of american indians, talking about a slur that justifies that. >> they changed their names, because there perceived to be a slur. look, we actually have learned a lot because of this controversy. it turns out that american indian and native-american, there's still a development there on those terms. there's no development when it comes to this question of redskin, and my question for you. this is a very serious question. i can't think of any other ethnic group we would be having this debate about if there were ane nick slur, if there was a group with the "n" word or insulted any other ethnic group.
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>> you really think they're the same? >> yes. >> president obama weighed in on this, he feels the nate was offensive, as i just now said, with the blackhawkss he invited them to the white house, if anybody said anything about the name black hawk broadband a slur, i must have missed it. >> redskins is what we're talking about. >> redskin is in the dictionary. as a derogatory term, so all these other terms we can talk about later, but i'm really concerned. would you accept a group to be a sports team to be named the "n" word? you wouldn't accept that. would you? >> i don't think they're the same. >> so you're going to determine what the -- the nix tear says it's a slur, 150 tribes say it's a slur. >> one more time, a poll by the a.p. said that only 11% felt the name should be changed. that means 89% either liked it or didn't have an opinion. this is trivial. this reminds me when oprah goes
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over to switzerland and is dissed because she can't buy a handbag. >> 80% of the fans across the country say it wouldn't change their minds about the team at all. i think what is important to understand here is that people identify it the name only because they are identifying with the team. the name is now what counts. if the name offense anyone, lie roger goodell has recently said, that's not what we intend, so even he has softened hi view toward the name. >> roger goodell is saying if one person is offended, it's something we should look at. don't you think there are people out there that are maybe offended by the term yankee? i want or fighting irish? so the dictionary is now the arbiter? >> here's my question. go ahead, i'm sorry. >> let me tell you who the arbiter is. this has gone before the
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trademark and patent commission. snyder has tried to patent other products using the name. for four times the commission has refused to do that, because it offended the law. he took this to a higher court when he lost in the trade mark patent commission, but for a texality this name couldn't be used today. it's now before the commission. based on their own precedence, i hereby predict that name will be found derogatory. >> i'm being a little facetious here i mao i might be more offended of being associated with the washington after the shutdown. >> that's a fair point. >> thank you. i'm going to call a time-out. we've been having a bit of fun,
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a bit of tension, but to me this is about a lot bigger than a team's name. i think we're ought so passionate because if we don't get this right it could mean the downfall of america. >> wow. >> if you think i'm exaggerating, i will explain. how much protein does your dog food have? 18 percent? 20? new purina one true instinct has 30. active dogs crave nutrient-dense food. so we made purina one true instinct. learn more at purinaone.com ♪ hooking up the country whelping business run ♪ ♪ trains! they haul everything, safely and on time. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪
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welcome back. we have d.c. delegate eleanor holmes norton here and talk radio's larry elder. they are in the crossfire
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tonight. we are debates fiercely whether washington redskins should change their name. we'll smoke the peace pipe later. to me this is about something much bigger than a football game. it's not really even a joke to me. i want you to know i'm part native-american and i take this very personally. to me this is really about what kind of country we are going to be. racial slurs are simply disrespectful and out of bounce. if someone were to use this term, you redskin, you redskin, against a native-american child in school, we would call that bullying. they use it against a co-worker, we would say it's harassment. doing it with the commitment of a crime, we would call it a hate crime. why so people be subjected to an insult.
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what about 8,000 years? what about that? to you, i really want to talk about this. i have a fear what this really comes down to is picking on groups that are too weak to defend themselves. most groups are so big, if you came against a black slur or jewish or japanese slur, we would stop it. aren't you concerned that the native-american community is so small, that they just can't defend themselves? >> i would think if a native-american were watching the show, they might say how weak or insecure do you think i am? do you think i have no ability to have self-esteem? i don't need you to tell me what i should be offended by. i'm more concerned about high unemployment, about alcoholism, about my people being dependent on the government. this is the trivial issue that
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the left-wince media gets involved. >> i have a heritage, and i'm offended, but more importantly the organization that represents 150 tribes, is also offended. do you think they're ought deluded? >> the polls i have seen have no problem -- >> i was astonished. announced it was no longer going to refer to the washington redskins by name in their publication, essentially putting a political agenda ahead of accuracy. it made me wonder how far should this go? should the fcc be fining espn every time they used the name? should kids? cools not be allowed to wear the jerseys? >> a number of sports writers never use the name. today in "the washington post," david seems to me a good analysis of why he doesn't use
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the name. the problem is here, i think, when the dictionary definition is trotted out, then we confront people with the notion that they have been using a slur. and that's very difficult if you want people to change the name. so for a moment i'd like us to forget that is the dictionary definition, and so focus on the fact that the organizations that represent the majority of american indians today say they want the name changed. we don't need the people who have used the name to feel that they have been doing something wrong, and i tried to purge anybody of any accusatory tone by telling them i myself have used it. >> but if you want the name changed, i imagine you want it changed everywhere -- >> don't imagine what i want. >> how far does it go? >> as far as i'm concerned, my consciousness has been raised on this name. i have no idea whether there are
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other names that have this kind of brutal history, so this is where i stand. >> congresswoman, i interviewed an executive with -- >> don't you talk about my packers. >> why? because it suggests slaughtering animals and packing them. should the green bay packers change the name? >> i resent the analogy -- there was a wonderful piece on "the washington post" that made me laugh, as you went through the names not only of teams, but of other things that people object to. and that really puts us in the category i quibbling. and i don't think -- here i don't think that is the way to accept a grievance that's been put on the table by american indians themselves who say, look, try another name. a number of things have been suggested. frankly i don't want to choose the name. i want you to know, though, this is my hometown team. i love the team.
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it's not the name i love. nimplgts bruce fit ritz is in charge of their vegetarian area. he's the one that said the name was offensive, so be sure to tell him trivial. >> people have found other names offensive. you tribes that move, and say no, we want to protect those names. >> how about the vikings? how about fighting eye rick? how about the rebels? >> don't want to take this to its logical conclusion, but that's where we're taking it. >> actually what i'm trying to do with is deal not with the hypothetical, but the reality that two thirds of the native-american community has come forward and wants this discussion. they have created some strange bedfellows, for once the president of the united states and crawhammer agree on something.
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do we have that sound? >> i don't know whether our attachment to a particular name >> i don't know whether our attachment over a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns people have. >> that's the president of the united states. now we hear from -- can we put his statement up? >> this is one of the biggest conservatives you almost always agree with. he says simple decency. i wouldn't want a word that offends. not who or how many have had their feelings hurt but of whether you want to associate yourself with a word if. for whatever historical reason, having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations. isn't this really about the
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character of the person speaking? you're somebody really tough on this point. you want people to have good character. you have spoken out against the crassness in our culture. especially in our xhubl. isn't this an opportunity -- >> you left out the part of the column where he said it is a close call. so he is not intense about. this he said it is a close call. i want to ask congresswoman norton this question. the nick nail for the ole miss is the running rebels. the confederate flag is offensive on a lot of people. >> when you see people changing the subject -- >> i'm not changing the subject. i'm trying to show you how trivial this is. and once we start down this path, we have to change the packers and the fighting irish. >> my answer is that i have no opinion on name that have not been brought forward by groups who believe they offend them.
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i am responding to what american indians themselves have said. >> we understand that. and i understand you don't want to wade into the other topics. but part of having a debate in a conversation about this one issue is taking it to its logical conclusion and asking where does this en. how is this related to other issues. >> i'm quite prepared. i'm quite prepared to say that when it comes to a slur, as defined in the dictionary, i know that i want to start there. where i will en, i don't know yet. >> there is a principle that you're announcing. >> it sounds like you don't know the definition of smut but when you hear it, you know it snxg when they tell me i'm using a slur, i know it. >> you are concerned with no himming principle, this could run amok. if the only thing we're worried about is people's feelings being
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hurt. >> the tipping point is it has already been found derogatory by a federal agency. >> so now -- >> end of discussion? >> no. now discussion can move forward. one area of agreement that i think everybody around this table will have. i think everybody at home will have. brown versus board of education is the high point. it ended segregation for our children. i don't think anybody wants to overturn brown. >> in schools. >> in schools, yes. so the reining behind brown was that by segregating these black children, it so hurt them psychologically that it made it almost impossible to compete. on that basis we were able to move forward. the american psychological association has said the same thing about native-american children when it come to these mascots and they are saying stop. would you support brown, children in this case? >> the reasoning about brown was not offending people. it was the 14 amendment that i
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have a right as a taxpayer to go to a school to which i'm qualified to go to. it wasn't about hurting people's feelings. that was a minor part of the whole thing. the major thing was about justice, equal protection under the government. >> we have one of the great jurists of america. >> i am a wrong about that in. >> you're absolutely right. the 14th amendment. but frankly, it was, in the case there is the dahl test. it has been controversial. >> that was not what it turned on. >> that's not what he asked. he said -- >> he applied, em, he said that the holding -- >> psychologists say it hurts american indian children wourk still think it should be used was the question. >> all right. stay here. >> if only 11% are opposed to the name, 89% say it doesn't hurt people. stay here. we're going to try to cease fire. is there anything you two can agree on? we also want all of you to weigh in on the fire back question. do you think the washington redskins should change their
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name? tweet yes or no using #crossfewer. [ male announcer ] this is jim, a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation -- s
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sed. we're back with eleanor holmes norton. it is van's favorite part of the show. let's call a cease fire. is there anything we can agree on in. >> larry said about perhaps we ought to be focusing on the condition of native-americans themselves. i would like to agree with him on that.
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>> great. >> same here. when we get involved in trivial issues like i mentioned the $38,000 bag that oprah had a problem with, he with lose that we have high dropouts and a lot of black men are behind bars. i think we ought to focus on what's important. >> good. >> i think we agree as well. >> i think we agree. i think that symbols are important. nobody wants to see the flag burned or the bible burned. >> a lot more people watching the show about this issue. i do hope this is the first conversation about native-american issues, not the last. >> i agree. there is a lot of work that needs to be done in those communities and we don't give enough attention to those problems. >> that's right. if you want to continue to be a part of this conversation, you can go to facebook or twitter to weigh in on our fire back question. simply this. do you think the washington redskins should change their name? right now, 41% of you say yes. and 59% of you say no. so the debate is going t

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