Hail To The Redskins?

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.

Image

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  The trademark on the name “Redskins” was revoked because it is derogatory term today, and was still a derogatory term at the time the team was named.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.

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#yesallwomen

I used to believe that I had never been sexually assaulted.  I used to believe that I was too ugly to get that sort of attention.  I never had any fear of rape because what man would want me?  However, the more I read from rape survivors, these strong people that pushed past the trauma they had endured, the more I realized just how common it was and just how narrow my definition of “sexual assault” was.

I never thought of the time some guy forced his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants at a concert.  My date didn’t even attempt to stop him, while I tried to shove this stranger off of me.

I never thought of the time I went on a date with a guy that wouldn’t take me back to my car until I had sex with him.

I never thought of the time that I woke up with my “boyfriend” finishing inside of me.

I never thought of the time that some guy stepped into the line to the ladies room to ask if I felt like sucking his cock.

I never thought of the time I was cornered by three guys while I was walking my dog so they could grope my chest.

I never thought of the time that a store owner offered to give me my stuff for free if he could take bondage pictures of me.

I never thought of these because I firmly believed that I should have been lucky to get that sort of attention.  I should have been flattered!  I was always too fat, too ugly, too pathetic for men to notice.  They were doing me a favor by acknowledging me.  The least I could do was let them use me.  I had one thing that men wanted, and that was the only thing I was good for.  I always wanted to scream for help, to stand tall and tell them “No!”  But there were times that I couldn’t.  I was weak.  I was prey.  I was a woman.  More than that, I was a woman that was constantly told no man would ever want her.

It took me over a decade to realize that they were wrong.

My feelings matter.  I am more than a warm, wet hole.  I am a human being, and I deserve to be treated with that sort of respect.  I have intelligence.  I have opinions.  I have a voice.  I finally understood what those men had done to me, and I wanted to hate them for stealing my trust in humanity.  I wanted them to hurt.  I wanted them to feel as scared and unsure as I did.  I wanted them to feel threatened back into a corner with no hope of escape.

I don’t anymore.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve forgiven these men.  Nor have I forgotten their faces.  I never will.  I wish I was a better person in that respect.  Maybe one day I will be able to move past it, but today is not that day.  I just want them to have changed.  I want someone to have opened their eyes to their behavior since I was too weak to do so.

With that said, I am not so jaded and blinded to think that all men act that way.  There are far more good people in the world than terrible, in spite of what the internet may speculate.  I have been opened up to the fact that sexual assaults happen far more often than most people would like to admit and the majority of them will go unreported.

We all have to change.  We all have to start treating each other with love and respect.