Trahant Reports – What’s In A Word?

Photo Credit: Mark Trahant

By Mark Trahant

May 23, 2016 – What’s in a word? When it comes to a Washington, D.C., NFL team … It’s a loaded debate. But when it comes to federal law, well, there’s a consensus in Congress that it’s time to modernize the language.

This is Trahant Reports.

Last week The Washington Post published a poll that said 9 out of 10 Native Americans were ok with the name of DC’s professional football team.

Whoa! That’s really one-sided — and it’s a so-called scientific poll that does not pass the small test. Why? First it’s a base idea to ask Native people for permission to use a dictionary-defined slur. Wrong is wrong. But getting past that, there is the problem of polling Native Americans. The Post said it surveyed 504 Native Americans nationally with a sampling error of 5.5 percent.

Sorry. That’s not possible. I won’t go into details, but at one newspaper where I worked we talked about surveying tribal members nationally and to make it demographically sound the sample size would have had to be ginormous in order to work. My publisher’s answer: “Too expensive.”

I know the Post poll is stunningly wrong because I have 40 years of reporting in all parts of the country. Are there Native Americans who don’t care which name the football team uses? Of course. But 9 out of 10? Not even remotely possible.

Speaking of words, President Barack Obama signed into law last week a bill to clean up the language in federal statutes. The measure was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, a New York Democrat, and passed by Congress, get this, unanimously. Gone are the dated words for Asian Americans, African Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Americans.

READ FULL ARTICLE:Trahant Reports – What's In A Word? » Native Voice One“. Native Voice One. N. p., 2016. Web. 23 May 2016.

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