If you were on social media at all on Tuesday, you probably noticed black squares filling your feed with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday.
The trend originally began under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused as a way to disrupt the music industry “that has profited predominantly from Black art” for a day, The New York Times reported.
However, the blackout initiative was quickly adopted as #BlackoutTuesday by social media users, mainly on Instagram, as a way to “stand in solidarity” with the Black Lives Matter movement, with many pausing typical social media posts for a day and instead posting a black box.
Several football teams, from the San Francisco 49ers to the Washington Redskins, participated in the trend.
You would think that anybody in support of the movement would be thrilled to have another participant, but that wasn’t the case when the Redskins tried to join in.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saw the NFL team’s tweet as an opportunity to call the team out for its name — which has been a controversial topic since it was changed from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins in 1933.
“Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name. https://t.co/XTlIJrfNx4
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only person to call the team out for its “racist” name.
“How about starting with blacking out your logo and change your teams racist nickname. That’s how you can combat racism. Look in the damn mirror,” former NFL player and Oscar-winning filmmaker Matthew Cherry tweeted.
How about starting with blacking out your logo and change your teams racist nickname. That’s how you can help combat racism. Look in the damn mirror.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 2, 2020
It’s no surprise that the Redskins received backlash for participating in #BlackoutTuesday considering the number of times the team name has been attacked over the years for being “racist.”
Activists have attempted to get the controversial name changed for decades through petitions and lawsuits, claiming the name is offensive and has a “racially derogatory” connotation toward Native Americans.
In 2004, however, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a poll to determine whether Native Americans actually found the name offensive.
Only 9 percent said they did. The telephone poll surveyed a random sample of 768 Native American adults in the contiguous United States between Oct. 7, 2003, and Sept. 20, 2004, with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.
Another telephone poll conducted by The Washington Post between Dec. 16, 2015, and April 12, 2016, determined nine out of 10 Native Americans did not find the NFL team’s name offensive. The poll surveyed a random sample of 504 Native American adults across the country with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points
Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, celebrated the results of the 2016 poll.
“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride,” Snyder said, according to The Post.
“Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.”
The team has not yet responded to the backlash it received over the #BlackoutTuesday tweet.
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