Politics aside, Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer says, “words evolve” and that the ‘R’ word, like Negro, retarded, and 'gyp,' should be obliterated from the American vocabulary.
“If you were detailing the racial composition of Congress, you wouldn’t say: ‘Well, to start with, there are 44 Negroes,’" writes Krauthammer.
Krauthammer said that is an example of how a word–in that case ‘Negro’–no matter how it was used years ago, can offend.
“Similarly, regarding the further racial breakdown of Congress, you wouldn’t say: ‘And by my count, there are two redskins.’ It’s inconceivable, because no matter how the word was used 80 years ago, it carries invidious connotations today.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, and Fox News contributor, who writes about politics, did acknowledge that the team has an 80-year history that they wish to maintain. But, Krauthammer said, words “don’t stand still” in time.
He talked about using the word 'gyp' as a kid, which he thought meant “cheat,” but when he found out that it was a shortened version of 'gypsy,' he stopped saying it. He also pointed out that the word ‘retarded’ was once considered a more enlightened word than 'feeble-minded' or 'mongoloid,' but it is denigrating in today’s world.
He also crushed the analysis that polling results prove anything.
“I know there are surveys that say that most Native Americans aren’t bothered by the word,” wrote Krauthammer, “But that’s not the point. My objection is not rooted in pressure from various minorities or fear of public polls or public scolds.”
He concluded that his decision to not use the word anymore had nothing to do with “the language police": NBC broadcaster Bob Costas or President Obama who"would wag a finger.” He said he was doing it because the word is historically tainted and “simple decency” would tell someone that the word is derogatory.
“I wouldn’t want to use a word that defines a people — living or dead, offended or not — in a most demeaning way,” Krauthammer stated. “It’s a question not of who or how many had their feelings hurt, but of whether you want to associate yourself with a word that, for whatever historical reason having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations.”