athletic team names
Ruben Navarette, Jr. improperly compares
naming an amateur sports team with a word sometimes used for the Palestinian
resistance to foreign occupation with the nickname of the Washington football
team, saying that both are innocuous (Op-Ed, Jan. 3).
Apart from the fact that most of the world outside the U.S. believes that the Palestinian
cause is just, the term intifada
has a broad base. It is derived from the
reflexive/medio-passive form of the Arabic verb nafada [the d is dad, not dal;
strictly speaking, it should be printed with a diacritical dot under it],
shake off, shake out, thus itself meaning shiver or tremor. It is understandable that Palestinians would
use it to describe their effort, but I seem to recall that one American
professional team (I forget where) is actually called the earthquakes, and no
one cares. So Navarette
is certainly right that intifada is harmless.
football is another story. The teams
nickname never meant anything but a slur against Native Americans, designed to
portray them as bloodthirsty savages, until the teams apologists cooked up the
idea that it connoted courage. It is
just as offensive as employing the n-word to imply that African Americans are
In short, intifada is appropriate; the
r-word for a football team is not.
Indeed, the Post should stop printing it in the Sports section (or
elsewhere) and get behind the movement for the team to change its name.