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Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah argued on Monday that the Texas Rangers as a team name “must go.”
On the heels of the Washington Redskins retiring its name and mascot amid pressure from critics and corporate sponsors, an op-ed written by Attiah made the case that “to know the full history of the Texas Rangers is to understand that the team’s name is not so far off from being called the Texas Klansmen.”
Growing up in Dallas, Attiah recalled going to Rangers games with her father as a child, but not realizing at the time that the Rangers “were a cruel, racist force when it came to the nonwhites who inhabited the beautiful and untamed Texas territory.”
“The Rangers oppressed black people, helping capture runaway slaves trying to escape to Mexico; in the aftermath of the Civil War, they killed free blacks with impunity,” Attiah wrote. “In the early 20th century, Rangers played a key role in some of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history along the Texas-Mexico border. Mexicans were run out of their homes and subject to mass lynchings and shootings. The killings got so out of control that the federal government threatened to intervene.”
The opinion editor warned that “Ranger racism” spanned decades, writing how Rangers “would be called on to protect white supremacy into the 1960s” and were “deployed to prevent school integration.”
She then accused the Texas Rangers of “revisionist history” after the team recently issued a statement condemning racism and bigotry.
Attiah, who was one of the signatories on the letter written in response to the Harper’s Magazine letter decrying cancel culture, concluded her op-ed by calling on the Texas Rangers name to be canceled.
“If the team ownership, as it proclaims, condemns “racism, bigotry and discrimination in all forms,” there is an easy way for it to prove that. The Texas Rangers’ team name must go,” Attiah concluded.
The column faced a backlash from some quarters on social media.
Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer jokingly reacted by sharing a “Going out of business, everything must go!” sign regarding sports team names.
“Let’s strike a real blow for racial justice and ban sports entirely,” media company Grabien founder and news editor Tom Elliot similarly said.
“Many pirates were involved in the slave trade. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ team name must go,” Spectator USA editor Amber Athey sarcastically suggested about another MLB team.
National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty added “Indians, Yankees, Vikings, and Irish” to Attiah’s hit list since sports organizations “can’t name a team after groups that commit atrocities.”
There has been a cultural shift following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a Black man, died after a White police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The television shows “Cops” and “Live PD” were canceled, “Gone With the Wind” was temporarily pulled from HBO Max and readded with historical context, White actors have withdrawn from voicing characters of color on animated TV shows, brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s have been retired, and episodes of sitcoms featuring blackface have been removed from streaming platforms.