The code words “Geronimo – EKIA” were music to the ears of President Obama and members of his national security team who sat in the Situation Room with him on May 1 as Navy SEAL Team Six confirmed the termination of Public Enemy Number One Osama bin Laden. While most Americans are still celebrating what happened Sunday, some haven’t felt like they could fully bask in the news of OBL’s demise because the use of the name “Geronimo” to describe the operation offended them. ABC’s The Note reports on just how much this “issue” has escalated over the last couple of days as a result of the outcries from some in the Native American community:
The Senate Indian Affairs committee will hold a hearing Thursday on racist Native American stereotypes, a hearing that will now also address the Osama bin Laden mission and the code-name Geronimo.
While the hearing was scheduled before the mission, a committee aide today said the linking of the name Geronimo with the world’s most wanted man is “inappropriate” and can have a “devastating” impact on kids.
“The hearing was scheduled well before the Osama bin Laden operation became news, but the concerns over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemies of the United States is an example of the kinds of issues we intended to address at Thursday’s hearing,” Loretta Tuell, the committee’s chief counsel, said in a statement.
“These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating,” Tuell said. “We intend to open the forum to talk about them.”
The Senate committee is chaired by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Thursday’s 2:15p hearing will examine how Wild West shows, Hollywood films, and Indigenous-themed sports mascots have shaped the perception of Native Americans, according to a press release. [...]
Good grief. Ok, so maybe in retrospect to avoid a potential “controversy” surrounding the use of the name Geronimo, the Powers That Be could have picked a more “neutral” name (cough) but, really, does the issue need to rise to this level? No. Most Americans across the country could care less about the name, probably don’t even remember it. All most people know is that OBL is gone forever, which is a comforting thought. Escalating it to the Congressional level draws unnecessary attention to an issue that probably could have been resolved with a single phone call, as Cato Institute Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell calmly explains:
In other words, some common-sense sensitivity is a good thing.
But is there any reason why the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Akaka of Hawaii, can’t make a quiet phone call and say, “I know you guys didn’t mean anything, but in the future please stay away from using code-names that link bad guys to American Indians.”
Perhaps because political posturing always takes precedence over common-sense approaches to resolving both real and imagined problems?
To throw a little humor in the mix, to the WaPo’s Alexandra Petri:
[...] But say what you will about the history of wildly misappropriated terms for Native Americans — Washington Redskins, anyone? — the objection boils down to the fact that a code name for Osama that referenced anything with any redeeming qualities whatever would be drawing fire from some quarter.
So in case this happens again, here are 10 totallly inoffensive code names to use instead:
10. Flo From Those Progressive Commercials.
8. IKEA, if only so that you can say, “IKEA EKIA!”
7. Windows Vista
6. That Time “Crash” Beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture
5. This Guy
4. Headbands That Make It Look Like You’re Wearing a Tiny Hat
3. TSA Patdowns
2. Metro Escalator Outage
1. Moroccan Scott Cannon