It’s a sad time in world affairs, as more than 400 years of history and tradition are being thrown away.
After a close election, the population of a tiny Spanish village has decided to change its name. It will no longer be known as Castrillo Matajudios, or, in English, Fort Kill the Jews.
Let us mourn this loss. But at the same time, let us celebrate America’s greatness, which stands in stark contrast to this depressing loss.
While the Spanish town of 56 residents gave in to outside pressure to change a historic name some felt was demeaning to a group of people, the Washington Redskins organization has faced every call for them to change their name and stood strong on the side of history.
And while Fort Kill the Jews (still technically the name) diffused the responsibility of upholding tradition by holding a vote so those in charge could say it was out of their hands, it’s Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder who stands alone and says “We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Both names are, as mentioned, steeped in history. Castrillo Matajudios goes back over 400 years, when the Spanish Inquisition raged across the country. With devout Catholics King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in charge, anyone who wasn’t Catholic was strongly urged to get out or suffer the consequences. Fort Kill the Jews is a direct descendent of that time.
However, mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez says the town, rather than being a haven of antisemitism, is descended from a Jewish community.
The Redskins name also goes way back, all the way to 1933, their second year of existence. And much like the town, the team also claims to be supportive of the group their name allegedly disparages. Snyder likes to point out the name was chosen to honor their head coach at the time, Lone Star Dietz, who may or may not have been an actual Native American.
But just because the facts changed, that doesn’t change the fact that the name is meant to support the minority group everyone insists is being offended. Sure, the owner who named the team, George Preston Marshall, was a known racist and Congress had to intervene to get him to integrate his team. But that doesn’t change what the name means today.
And what the name stands for today is tradition.
Yes, there is a tradition of calling the team the Redskins, so there is no reason to change it, no matter what the history of it is or the current outcry.
That’s something a little town in Spain could learn from the capital of the United States.
1. You’re the bad person for thinking of the self-hating Jew joke. I didn’t make one. ↩