Last Updated:November 28 @ 07:44 am

More Race-Hustling Results

By Thomas Sowell

Bob Costas is one of the premier sportscasters and a very smart guy, so it was somewhat surprising to see him join the chorus of those decrying the fact that the owner of the Washington Redskins is resisting the pressures to change the name of his football team.

The argument is that American Indians are offended by the name, though there is no compelling evidence that most American Indians are worked up about it. Nor is there any evidence that anyone intended the name to be insulting, either by this team or any number of other sports teams that have called themselves some variation of the name "Indians."

After all, neither individuals nor teams give themselves names that they consider insulting, whether they are calling themselves Indians, Vikings or The Fighting Irish.

Nevertheless, Dartmouth, Stanford and other colleges that once called their teams Indians succumbed to the politically correct pressures and changed their names. But that is no reason why the Washington Redskins should succumb to those pressures.

Among the reasons why they should not is the fact that being offended is one of the tactics of a race hustling industry that is doing more harm to Indians and other minorities than any name is likely to do. Some people are in the business of being offended, just as Campbell is in the business of making soup.

Shelby Steele's best-selling book "White Guilt" provides sharp insights into the many counterproductive consequences of white guilt that can be exploited by race hustlers, to the detriment of blacks and whites alike. The sports team gambit is just one of many.

So long as the race industry -- the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons, and their counterparts in various minorities -- can get political or financial mileage out of being offended, they are going to be offended. The only thing that will put a stop to this racket is refusing to be taken in by it or intimidated by it.

Looked at in isolation, Bob Costas' opinion about the names of sports teams is one that reasonable people might agree or disagree with. But, unfortunately, this issue is not something that exists in isolation. It is part of a whole grievance-generating campaign that poisons race relations. That campaign is conducted not only by the race industry but also by all too many in the media and in the education system, from elementary schools to the universities.

Young blacks are especially susceptible to the message that all their problems are caused by white people -- and that white society is never going to give them a chance. In short, they are primed to resent and hate individuals they have never seen before and who have never done a thing to them.

During the same week when Bob Costas was criticizing the name "Washington Redskins," the New York Daily News reported an incident in which a gang of young blacks attacked a white couple in a car, beating the man severely and dragging the woman out of the car by her hair down to the pavement, and beating her as well -- all the while shouting racist obscenities.

Episodes like this have occurred repeatedly, in dozens of cities, all across the country. The only thing that was missing in this particular episode were public assurances from police authorities and the mayor that race had nothing to do with what happened. Such dishonest assurances have been common in the wake of such plainly racist attacks. Officials in various cities are obviously trying to keep the lid on this incipient race war.

But you cannot keep the lid on forever. In 1961, James B. Conant's book "Slums and Suburbs" warned that "social dynamite" was accumulating in American cities. Just a few years later, ghetto riots erupted all across the country.

Social dynamite can accumulate among whites as well as among blacks. White extremist hate groups already exist, though they are a fringe, as the Nazis were once a disdained fringe in Germany. It was the people's loss of confidence in the respectable institutions of society that gave the Nazis their chance for power.

The blind and dishonest political correctness of our media and educational institutions on racial issues today can eventually forfeit the confidence of Americans and give similar extremist groups their chance to ignite a race war in the United States. And once a race war starts, it can be virtually impossible to stop.


Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    October 23, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    In honor of the passage of Obamacare, I think the owners of the Redskins should rename their team,,,, The Washington Epidural Melanomas,,,,or the Washington Excessive Sebaceous Excretions, or the Washington skin tabs,,,,,,or the Capital Carcinomas,,,,but forget the name of Washington Squamous cells as this might evoke the image of a discriminated female Indian in the minds of these politically oxymoronic mind bending thought police. Reality has finally become more entertaining than fiction in a land run by men the depth of whose brains can run only SKIN deep.

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  2. blakeis7Comment by blakeis7
    October 23, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Throw out all the sociology, history and political science text books currenty in use in American institutions of learning and simply distribute Mr. Sowell’s writings. His ability to see right through the bull-fog and devious motives of those in charge and others who put them there is unmatched.
    And by the way, how does one define a “community?” It seems we have hundreds if not thousands of “communities” all over the country and each has its own problems (which are never the result of any self-actions), its own needs (other peoples’ money for relief and mitigation), and its own special place in the world as judge, jury and treasurer.

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  3. oleteabagComment by oleteabag
    October 23, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    I agree with Mr. Sowell’s comments, but would add that I think a racial Civil War is EXACTLY what Obama wants, to give him an excuse to declare martial law and become the dictator he obviously so badly wants to be.

    Why ELSE would he be constantly fanning the flames, demonizing white people in general and Conservatives in PARTICULAR, and heaping insult on injury CONSTANTLY to fan the flames of anger that are growing in our country and threatening to blaze out of control?

    I submit THIS was the true reason for all the nasty, spiteful little stunts he pulled during the shutdown, such as blocking off open air memorials, disrespecting WWII vets, etc.

    With every hateful, provocative act like this he commits, he is virtually DARING Americans to violently rebel against his authority. He keeps upping the ante because so far, at least the white people have been smart enough not to take the bait, thereby frustrating his plans to set his urban tanks and DHS thugs into action against the America people. They’re not stockpiling all that ammo for NOTHING, yaknow.

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  4. wallybluComment by wallyblu
    October 23, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    Bob Costas sees Washington Redskins as a slur I see it as a badge of honor.

    Who’s the racist?

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  5. jagansComment by jagans
    October 23, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    This is one of the very few times when I disagree with Mr. Sowell. While I see nothing wrong with using the name “Indians” It is my opinion that the term “Redskin” carries a negative connotation. (At least it did in the cowboy movies) Just like the N word does to blacks.

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  6. gramma4freedomComment by gramma4freedom
    October 23, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

    Unfortunately, Chris Collingsworth got on the soapbox last week on Inside NFL on Showtime….I was soooo disappointed with his PC speech. Phil Simms had a good response – don’t do anything until there is a ground swell of support, which he hasn’t seen.

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