HANNITY: And in the "Battle Zone" on this Monday, as baseball season begins today, an old debate is heating up over the use of Native American names and images for sports teams and their mascots. Some say monikers like the Redskins, the Indians, and the Braves invoke racist images that are offensive to Native Americans. Others say those team names portray Native Americans in a positive light as rugged, powerful warriors. Should sports teams change their names to be politically correct? Joining us now from Los Angeles, we have author Russell Means, and also with us, from Oklahoma, "Frontpage" magazine columnist Dave Yeagley is on board.
All right, Russell. I understand it's your position in the United Indians. Do you believe that, sir?
RUSSELL MEANS, ACTIVIST/AUTHOR: I not only believe it. I know it, and I feel it constantly in every aspect of my life on a daily basis and so do our children. In the schools, on TV, it just continues unabated.
HANNITY: Explain as it relates to sports teams and sports names and mascots. What do you mean by that?
MEANS: Well, let's call it what it is. It's not politically correct or incorrect. It's hate speech, pure and simple.
HANNITY: If you say Washington Redskins, that's hate speech? Atlanta Braves is hate speech, in your view?
MEANS: And the tomahawk chop is is now the new obscene gesture that rednecks and and racist people in the plains states, at least that I know of, are using now instead of giving...
[Editor’s Note: At this juncture, Hannity asks Means whether he believes some people would find his use of the word "redneck" offensive.]
MEANS: I hope so because...
HANNITY: You hope so? OK.
MEANS: How does it hurt?
MEANS: Does it hurt?
HANNITY: Let me let me go to you, if I can, David. What are your thoughts on this?
DAVID YEAGLEY, "FRONTPAGE" MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: Well, I would like to hear someone articulate very carefully exactly what the offense is. I have yet to hear this. I would like to know, and I...
HANNITY: Well, why don't you ask why don't you ask Russell? Russell, why don't you articulate it? What is it specifically? You're saying if somebody you first of all, you're calling everybody that uses those names racist, anyone that does the chop you're saying is a racist, because I lived in Atlanta, and I know those people, and I know they're not racist, sir, but but that notwithstanding, this is your view.
MEANS: It's not only my view. It's the view of every intelligent Indian I've spoken to in the United States of America. These protests have been ongoing for over 30 years, since I sued the Cleveland Indians baseball team in 1970 for its its franchise worth over the mascot. The mascot is insulting. But what happens here, whether it's a college team or a especially from the the opponents of those schools. You have fraternities and sororities putting out T-shirts, for instance, and handouts and handbills with drawings, obscene drawings, you know, at different kinds of animals fornicating Indian men from behind.
COLMES: Russell and David let me bring David back in here. David, explain to me in what context could the words "Redskin" not be offensive?
YEAGLEY: Well, first of all, I I believe that that Mr. Means is sincere, and I would never want to be found trying to break down a good work that someone is trying to do.
COLMES: Well, to pick up on that, if some if people if so many people, like Mr. Means, and and he's not alone in this. If he's so many have?
YEAGLEY: Well, I'm I'm looking at to the future. It seems to me that modern American Indians have very little imagery to deal with. We have pre-reservation imagery of the warrior, the brave, the man that's courageous, the man that lives for his people, the man that will sacrifice his life for his people. This side of the war days, our image is quite different. We have the Indian alcoholic, the Indian suicidal, the Indian...
COLMES: And these are all stereotypes, which are very offensive.
YEAGLEY: Well, I I'd rather I'd rather hear of the Atlanta Braves than the Atlanta Alcoholics. I'm looking for what what do Indians have to build on for the future? We have very little. And and a mascot that calls to mind the kind of bravery that I spoke of, the kind of dedication to people, to one's own people I think this is admirable.
HANNITY: All right. David, we'll take it up when we get back. Now the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is scheduled to vote next month on whether or not they would condemn or whether or not the use of Native- American images in teams may violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We'll tell about that on the other side of this break. That's all coming up straight ahead right here on HANNITY & COLMES. More debate coming up.
COLMES: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes.
We now continue with Russell Means and David Yeagley.
David, if the word "redneck" is offensive to many people, even though derivation is people that work in the hot sun and their necks get red but that's become a pejorative. Why then "Redskin" is also considered offensive to a lot of people in the same vain that "redneck" is offensive for a lot of people. Why not erase that offense and do something about it?
YEAGLEY: Well, it seems to me that it it really misses the point here. This this tactic of concentration on names and on race frankly, this is not this is not the Indian way to go about resolving who thinks that all Indians are alike, all Indians think the same way, and all Indians identify as a race. I think what distinguished us from any other race in the world is the fact that we never united as a race against the white man. We were individual people.
COLMES: Well, let me let me give you some of your own words. You've written "The white man may have taken my land, but he took it like a warrior fair and square." But then you say, "Yes, he treated my people harshly, but he never denied their bravery, never besmirched their memory as warriors." But these are the same people who put your people on reservations, gave you small pox, painted the Indian stereotypically as drunks, sold turquoise mines to the Japanese. All these things white people did to the American Indian.
YEAGLEY: This is a tragedy. I'm not trying to rewrite history here. I'm trying to think of the future. I'm trying to use what little we have left to build a positive future.
HANNITY: What what did you mean when you said "American" "Alcoholic Indians"? Did I hear you right in the last segment?
YEAGLEY: Well, that that our modern imagery of the In real living Indian people in America today is is very, very sad problems. I think that these...
HANNITY: Let me get Russell in because we're almost out of time. the image of a warrior is complimentary to Indians?
MEANS: Thinking people, people who use both sides of their brain...
HANNITY: Are you saying David are you saying David's not a thinking person when you say that?
MEANS: What I'm saying...
HANNITY: ... insulting him?
MEANS: ... is thinking people and people who use their brains, like at Dartmouth, at Stanford, at St. Johns, at all the schools in the State of Wisconsin, the L.A. County school board have outlawed using Indian people or any ethnicity as a mascot.
HANNITY: All right. David disagrees with you. Is he not a thinking person?
MEANS: Of course, he isn't if does not object to hate speech...
COLMES: All right. We have to leave it...
MEANS: ... and this is what the Cleveland Indians are all about...
HANNITY: David, final...
MEANS: ... hate speech.
HANNITY: We'll give you the final 10 seconds, David.
YEAGLEY: Well, I am a thinking person. All those schools he named are liberal schools. I am a conservative. I'm a thinking person.
COLMES: I didn't know a school was a liberal school. Thank you both very much for being with us tonight.
HANNITY: What about Harvard, Alan?
COLMES: I didn't know you could define a school that way. That's all the time we have left for tonight. Join us tomorrow night. Our guests include Dick Morris, Oklahoma City Governor Frank Keating, and the author of a new Timothy McVeigh book, "American Terrorist." Thank you for watching HANNITY & COLMES. Have a great night.