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Roemer: Eliminating team names like Indians just another empty gesture that solves nothing | COMMENTARY

So, the Cleveland Indians are joining the Washington Redskins in changing their name to avoid offending Native Americans. Another giant leap forward for “social justice.”

Now, if we could only do something that actually improves the daily lives of Native Americans, who live in abject poverty at rates higher than any other minority group in the nation. That’s the problem with these empty gestures. They give the illusion of progress, but when it comes to impacting the lives lived by real people, they accomplish nothing. I wonder, if we asked average Native Americans which they would prefer, a good-paying job or changing the name of Cleveland’s baseball team, which do you think they would choose?

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By the way, what does it cost to change the name of a professional sports team? I have no idea, but I’m sure the patent and trademark attorneys will get a hefty sum. Of course everything will need to be rebranded with the new name and logo. Uniforms, signage, advertising, letterhead, business cards, and a thousand other things. I’m not sure how many Native Americans will get any of that money. Probably none. It’s too bad that money can’t be used to spur economic development for the people in whose name these changes are being made. Instead, we posture and pat ourselves on the back for being so “woke.” That’s what happens when the elite make decisions for others. They act to sooth their own guilty consciences at the expense of people who would rather just have the same opportunity to succeed as everyone else.

The elite are pretty good at making decisions for other people. They know what’s best for the down and out, even if they’re not down and out themselves. It reminds me of when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drove Amazon out of New York. Remember that? It was a great symbolic victory for AOC and her followers that happened to cost her constituents and other New Yorkers something like 25,000 good-paying jobs. At least AOC sleeps comfortably knowing she’s morally superior to the rest of us.

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I’m tired of the nonsense. Christmas decorations are now considered divisive. Christopher Columbus is cast as a malevolent monster who must be ripped from our social consciousness. Anything named “Thomas Jefferson” has to go, too. Schools. Streets. Buildings. It’s always a dubious endeavor to judge historical figures through the prism of current standards and mores.

Vacuous slogans are chanted in the streets by young people who have intellectual certitude, but little life experience. In other words, all they know is what they have been told to believe. Statues have to come down and Hollywood demands writers and directors check off all the diversity boxes when making new movies.

All this gives the impression of real change without actually accomplishing anything. In fact, it hinders real progress by making people numb to legitimate grievances, driving them away from bona fide efforts to improve the daily lives of people. By placing so much emphasis on the ridiculous, people become desensitized to actual problems and just stop listening. It’s hard to take legitimate concerns about diversity seriously when they are lumped together with complaints about how insensitive I am for decorating my house for Christmas.

If that’s what the demand is — that I stop putting lights on my house at Christmas — well, to be blunt, the people making that demand can go pound sand. Is that the attitude these so called social justice warriors are trying to engender? If it is, they are being remarkably successful. If we really cared about the lives of Native Americans we would do something that actually helps them and gives them hope for the future, not engage in meaningless mummery that does nothing more than minimize their plight.

Now, if you want to talk about the Minnesota Vikings, that’s a different story. Something really should be done about that team’s name. After all the Vikings raided, pillaged and terrorized much of Europe for hundreds of years. Surely, we shouldn’t be glorifying people like that by naming a football team after them!

Chris Roemer writes from Finksburg. Reach him at chrisroemer1960@gmail.com.

For any member of the community who would like to submit a guest community voices column for publication consideration, it should be approximately 700 words and sent to bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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