Today the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration.
I did not read the full 177-page legalese order. I tried. It’s too much. I’m sure that there is an unbiased “for Dummies” version on the internet somewhere, and when I find it I will read it. I doubt it will change my mind.
There is an image that is making the rounds on Facebook that really got to me.
As you can see, this was a very well thought out argument. It brings up an excellent point. White people used to be called Crackers, so Cracker Barrel is offensive. How can we stand by and let that restaurant take advantage of that hatred and intolerance?
Because a cracker barrel is an actual thing. A barrel full of crackers. Not white people (AKA the “whip-crackers”), but legitimate edible crackers. Soda crackers. People would gather around the cracker barrel in the general store and chit-chat. No one ever used the term “cracker barrel” in a demeaning and intolerant fashion. It was never used to insult an entire portion of the population based on their race.
Redskin was. Redskin was a term that was applied to Native Americans. (Also to certain potatoes, but they don’t get offended.) It was (and is) a derogatory term. If you don’t think that there is a problem with the term, take a visit to the nearest reservation. Call the Native Americans there “Redskins” to their face and see how you feel afterwards. If you’re okay with yourself, you might be Dan Snyder. If you’re a human being, you’d probably NOT DO IT because you know it is wrong. I don’t doubt that there are more than a few people that would use that sort of ignorant term behind closed doors, but never directly to their target’s face.
However, that is what the Washington Redskins are doing. They are walking right up to people and telling them that they are “less than”. Less than what? Take your pick. They are different, so they don’t have to be treated fairly. The trademark on the name “Redskins” was revoked because it is derogatory term today, and was still a derogatory term at the time the team was named. You can’t trademark “Niggerfaggots” either, because it is designed to be insulting and demeaning to an entire group of people.
Now to be fair, the common assumption when someone says Redskins is the football team. It isn’t a generally used insult towards Native Americans now, but they are the ones that want the name changed. Native Americans are the ones that petitioned the Patent and Trademark Office, and they are the ones that have brought forth enough evidence to prove it isn’t a complimentary name. I understand that the Washington Redskins have been a team and a brand for over 80 years, and they are one of the highest valued teams in the NFL. It is up to them if they are going to change their name. I doubt that they will anytime soon, but it will eventually happen. My only hope is that they do it because they realize it is the right thing to do, and not because the government had to step in and force their hand.