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February 15, 2013

The Art of Being Offended

Harry M. Covert

How to be offended? Let me count the ways. In this era when everybody is always exasperated, hurt, insulted, outraged and provoked by something, I am beginning to feel as though there should be a national day for crybabies.


Frankly, I’m offended. I’m a Native American, born and raised in the good old US of A. I’m offended at the faux fight to make the Washington Redskins change its name. This comes up often; and if anyone challenges this nonsensical stance, they become a pariah, insensitive, un-American or, politically incorrect.


I don’t feel the least bit troubled that as a boy we played cowboys and Indians in our neighborhood. Nor do I find it a slight to watch western movies where Indians are part of the story. What better hero than Tonto, the loyal sidekick of The Lone Ranger?


It’s a different time, of course, but we had cap pistols. We didn’t run around and try to hold up gas stations, or grocery stores with these toys.


Certainly there have been inequities in society and not all good. Isn’t it time to stop acting as immature adults and be grownups?


I’m not offended either when I read or watch one of my favorite British sleuths, Miss Marple. Throughout the Agatha Christie stories, Miss Marple uses the phrase, “Americans have a lot to answer for.” Or, I learned that British hotels looked down on their American cousins to provide “American rooms” and “television rooms.”


Offended? Absolutely not. “American rooms” back in the ‘20s and ‘30s had plumbing in individual rooms.


Attention-seekers bring up the Indian/Native American issue almost yearly; and, in my mind, it’s stupid.


I’m offended that Indians can run all kinds of gambling enterprises on their properties outside of federal, state and local jurisdictions.


I don’t intend to be insensitive here, but it’s somewhat silly going through life being offended?


Consider how the daily abuse for sports figures, reporters and columnists, attorneys, judges, sheriffs, preachers, teachers, speeders, umpires, referees in all sports, and business owners. The list goes on and on.


Nicknames like Indians, Redskins, and Braves honor the history of the nation. Back in Jamestown, Pocahontas was an Indian. Oklahoma’s Jim Thorpe was an Indian. Pro footballer and wrestler Wahoo McDaniel was an Indian. Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, was proud to be part Cherokee. One college shifted its name from the Indians to the Tribe. Now really, to what does this refer? Certainly not the Twelve Tribes of Israel.


Even the often besmirched U. S. Supreme Court has affirmed usage of Redskins for the professional football team. In the continuing saga, I wonder how many Indians and Native Americans buy tickets to the Landover games.


Maryland’s history includes The Nanticoke, Piscataway, and Susquehannock tribes. Each made its positive mark on the Free State.


It’s high time to stop being offended all the time. We are who we are and should be proud of that. There are so many opportunities out there for everyone. I doubt it will ever occur, but, if it does, would Rome name its new leader the Pope-ess? Or, Holy Mother?


In Potawatomi, Kemo Sabe is a wonderful word meaning “trusty scout” or “faithful friend.” Instead of wringing offended hands, think about being either or both.


As the old saw is remembered, “call me anything; just don’t call me late for dinner – or payday.”


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