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Re: Redskin

Posted by TheFallen on April 01, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Redskin posted by R. Berg on April 01, 2002

: : Redskin is a racial slur today, but what was the logic behind the word's origin? Because Indians scalped their victim, I'm assuming this has something to do with it's origin. Doesn't anyone know?

: The origin had to do with skin color (or supposed skin color), not blood. Under "redskin," the Oxford English Dictionary refers the reader to one of the definitions for "red": "Having (or regarded as having) a reddish skin." People of other races are similarly called black, white, or yellow, equally unrealistically.
: The earliest quotation in the OED for "redskin" is "Ye first Meeting House was solid mayde to withstande ye wicked onsaults of the Red Skins" .

I suspect it's in some way related to Columbus's original belief that he'd found the East Indies. Red Indians, though equally as racist, was an interchangeable though probably fractionally more polite (!) term for redskins, at least in the UK, presumably to distinguish them from Indians from India and West Indians too.