WaPo editor slammed for saying Texas Rangers name 'must go' due to racist past, critics say 'let's ban sports'

Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said the Rangers 'were a cruel, racist force when it came to the nonwhites who inhabited the beautiful and untamed Texas territory'


                            WaPo editor slammed for saying Texas Rangers name 'must go' due to racist past, critics say 'let's ban sports'
(Getty Images)

Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said Texas Rangers should retire their team name in an op-ed written shortly after the Washington Redskins changed its name and mascot caving to pressure from critics and corporate sponsors. Attiah claimed 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."

Attiah recalled that she would often go to Rangers games with her father as she grew up in Dallas. At the time, however, she didn't realize that the Rangers "were a cruel, racist force when it came to the nonwhites who inhabited the beautiful and untamed Texas territory." 

Texas Rangers (Federalists) reconnoitering between Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia, Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"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 editor claimed "Ranger racism" had spanned decades, adding that Rangers "would be called on to protect white supremacy into the 1960s" and were "deployed to prevent school integration." She also accused the Texas Rangers of "revisionist history" after they recently issued a statement condemning bigotry and racism. In the conclusion of the letter, which was written in response to the Harper's Magazine letter denouncing cancel culture, Attiah called on the decades-old 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," she concluded.

Washington Post's Karen Attiah speaks onstage during "From Anguish to Action How to Lead During a Crisis" panel at 2018 Glamour Women Of The Year Summit: Women Rise at Spring Studios on November 11, 2018, in New York City. (Getty Images)

The Global Opinions editor faced a major backlash for her column on social media. Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer poked fun at Attiah 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," Grabien founder and editor Tom Elliot said.

"Many pirates were involved in the slave trade. The Pittsburgh Pirates' team name must go," Spectator USA editor Amber Athey in a sarcastic comment. Meanwhile, National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty quipped that he couldn't "name a team after groups that commit atrocities, so Indians, Yankees, Vikings, and Irish, got to go too."

The Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer sparked nationwide outrage and protests against police brutality and racial injustice. As a result, a number of TV shows like "Cops" and "Live PD" were pulled from the air, brands such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's were retired, and a number of TV episodes featuring blackface were purged from streaming platforms retroactively.
 
 

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