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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WaPo: U.S. patent office cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”

Could this mean Chief Wahoo’s days are numbered?

Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 12:17 PM | 173 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, cleveland, indians, mascots, nfl, washington

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   1. kthejoker Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4729403)
Does this mean I can start flooding Amazon with Redskins jerseys of my own?
   2. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4729409)
I'm fairly liberal, and think the PTO is overstepping it's bounds. One thing that has been proven over and over is US citizens have the right to be offensive.
   3. JE (Jason) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4729431)
I'm fairly liberal, and think the PTO is overstepping it's bounds. One thing that has been proven over and over is US citizens have the right to be offensive.

Does the PTO have a habit of making decisions perceived to be influenced by partisan politics? (This decision conveniently comes only a few weeks after Harry Reid got 49 fellow Ds -- Rs weren't solicited -- to sign a letter addressed to the NFL urging the name get changed.)
   4. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4729436)
I'm fairly liberal, and think the PTO is overstepping it's bounds. One thing that has been proven over and over is US citizens have the right to be offensive.


Nothing is preventing the Redskins from continuing to use the name, the question is, is the government obligated to restrict the speech of others using the name?
   5. GregD Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4729444)
Perceived to be is doing a lot of work in your sentence Jason. You can perceive it as solely partisan and be irrefutable on those terms

I am no expert on the details and am ambivalent on the decision

I don't think though your question as asked can possibly lead to an answer
   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4729456)
Does the PTO have a habit of making decisions perceived to be influenced by partisan politics?

Perceived to be is doing a lot of work in your sentence Jason.


The Office also revoked it in 1992- back when it was composed of Reagan/Bush I appointees (later after multiple appeals was reversed on the grounds of Laches)
   7. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4729460)
You can extend free speech protections over offensive language and still be unwilling to allow it to be trademarked. Speak away, but you don't get Federal protection to make money off of you offensive speech (but can still make money off of it, you just have to do it without Federal protection).

That said, I am fairly disinterested in this. No ox to gore here.
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4729472)
The main reason I posted it comes from my question in the header -- does this mean Chief Wahoo is subject to the same decision? Internet lawyers, what say ye?
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4729477)
Dan Snyder is a turd. My god is the man a turd.

So, what are we talking about again?
   10. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4729497)
The main reason I posted it comes from my question in the header -- does this mean Chief Wahoo is subject to the same decision? Internet lawyers, what say ye?

I am not a lawyer but I'm guessing someone would have to bring suit as they did in this case. Personally, I find the name to be 100% racist and the arguments against it to be 100% moral equivocation so that's all I'll say about it. I won't convince anyone who doesn't agree and they won't convince me I'm wrong. This whole thing makes me cringe. I wouldn't call a Native American a "redskin" to his face and that's the bottom line for me. Opinions will vary, etc etc.

edit: Just to clarify, I'm talking about "redskins" and not "Chief Wahoo", though the smilin' indian logo isn't great. Indians, I think is neutral, though. It just needs to be respectful.
   11. dr. scott Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4729504)
The main reason I posted it comes from my question in the header -- does this mean Chief Wahoo is subject to the same decision? Internet lawyers, what say ye?


Maybe, but it took 8 years for the PTO to rule on this case.... so its more likely Cleveland shuts down the mascot on their own before the PTO does anything.

or what Shooty said...
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4729521)
I'm fairly liberal, and think the PTO is overstepping it's bounds. One thing that has been proven over and over is US citizens have the right to be offensive.


100% agree. I hate the name, and of all the "offensive" names out there, this is clearly the worst of them (it's more or less is indefensible...I can see arguments for Indians ,Braves and Blackhawks...after all we have the Fighting Irish, Cowboys, or Trojans as a perfectly acceptable team names)

You can extend free speech protections over offensive language and still be unwilling to allow it to be trademarked. Speak away, but you don't get Federal protection to make money off of you offensive speech (but can still make money off of it, you just have to do it without Federal protection).


And it still seems like a giant overreach of authority.

Dan Snyder is a turd. My god is the man a turd.

So, what are we talking about again?

In other news the Sun rose today, Republicans and Democrats are fighting each other, the Simpsons are on the air.
   13. thetailor Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4729526)
I wrote this about a year ago on this topic:

http://thereadzone.com/2013/06/28/the-washington-redskins-name-change-controversy-is-redskins-actually-offensive/

Bottom line is that there is no real evidence that the name was racist in origin, nor does it seem to be a "slur" today (e.g. carrying information beyond identification of the target group. For instance, ##### is a slur because it says more than female. N-word is a slur because it says more than black.

Also, the District Court had declined the last request to cancel the trademark on laches, but made its own judgment that the petitioners had failed to carry their burden also: "finding that Harjo and the other plaintiffs had failed to show that “the use of the term “redskin(s)” in the context of a football team and related entertainment services would be viewed by a substantial composite of Native Americans… as disparaging.”

That said, there was so much momentum even a year ago that it was obvious it would eventually change. The meaning of words change over time. If enough people begin with the premise that the word is offensive and work backards from there ... well ... now it's offensive and should be changed.
   14. Hank G. Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4729531)
Snyder has steadfastly refused to consider a name change, saying the name and logo honor Native Americans.


Perhaps Snyder could change the name to A$$holes and honor himself.
   15. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4729549)
Would need one of the lawyers to give a better answer, but it's my understanding that, assuming this isn't overturned in court, that the Redskins simply lose the legal presumption that they are the owner of the mark and would still retain their common law rights and be able to demonstrate infringement.
   16. JRVJ Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4729553)
Words change meaning over time.

Using this rationale, Coca Cola could eventually be revoked as a trademark if it were to become a slur (let's say, for the sake of the argument, that very dark skinned black people start getting called "Coca Colas", and that even though the Coca Cola company fights that usage left and right, it becomes common).

Not entirely sure that I would feel comfortable with that (and yes, I understand that Coca Cola is a Brand name from the Word go, and Redskin was not).

P.S. Upon reading this, I just realized that they also took down the logo of the Redskins (not the name, the actual image of an Indian man).

Is that image supposed to be offensive?
   17. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4729563)
I still think retaining the name and changing the logo to a potato is the optimal solution here.
   18. Mark S. is bored Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4729569)
Would need one of the lawyers to give a better answer, but it's my understanding that, assuming this isn't overturned in court, that the Redskins simply lose the legal presumption that they are the owner of the mark and would still retain their common law rights and be able to demonstrate infringement.


An article on VOX talks about just this.

"The Lanham Act gives the senior user of a mark the right to prevent others from using a mark that is likely to cause confusion, regardless of whether the mark is registered," says Jeremy Sheff, an intellectual property law professor at St. John's.

This protection falls under the category of common law trademark rights, and it means that even if the Redskins' trademark registrations are cancelled, they'll still be able to go after other people using the marks on merchandise on the grounds that they're confusing customers. They may not, however, be able to collect monetary damages from infringers (as they currently can), and it would be difficult to enforce these rights in response to people making products overseas.

It's theoretically possible that a judge would restrict the team's common law rights on the basis that the marks are disparaging, but unlikely — and we probably won't find that out until the team actually sues someone using the name and logo.

   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4729570)
Does this mean I can start flooding Amazon with Redskins jerseys of my own?


Yes. Yes it does.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4729578)
nor does it seem to be a "slur" today


There are quite a few Native Americans who seem to disagree about that.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4729586)
nor does it seem to be a "slur" today


As always, the litmus test is to go up to a random member of said group and address them as such.

I never could get some idiot I was once arguing with to go up to a female Jew, Black or American Indian and call them, respectively, Jewess, Negress, and squaw.
   22. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4729587)
From a business perspective, it matters not whether it's a "slur". The name is no longer much of an asset, given the way a significant part of the populace seems to feel about it.

No Washington Redskins fan is going to quit going to games to get drunk and yell ridiculous things if the team becomes the Washington Braves or even the Washington Snyders. Changing the name not only improves how your product is perceived by a lot of people, doesn't really hurt it with core fan base (the die hards will get over it), and gives you the opportunity to re-sell merchandise to your fanbase (and the opportunity to heavily mark up "classic" merchandise in a final sale).

Mainly it frees your marketing organization to focus their resources on one of their key responsibilities, building fan attachment in a broader base of fans.

Mr. Snyder?
Flounder: [drunk] Hello!
Dean Vernon Wormer: 0.2... Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.


It's over Flounder. Stop pretending to be a businessman instead of a what you are, a winner of an internet bubble lottery, and either grow up or hand the team over to a professional to manage.
   23. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4729598)
There's too much money to be made from merchandising a name change. I'm guessing some kind of consent decree, followed by a gala final year of the Redskins and a new name for Christmas.
   24. Canker Soriano Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4729614)
I still think retaining the name and changing the logo to a potato is the optimal solution here.

That's the best solution I've heard yet. During kickoffs, the crowd could go "ooooooooooooooh...... gratin!" when the kick is finally made.

It also lends itself to a compromise team name: the Potato Skins.
   25. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4729628)
As always, the litmus test is to go up to a random member of said group and address them as such.

No, the litmus test is to go up to a random member of said group and address whether the name is offensive in that specific context.

If the vast majority of Native Americans find the use of the name *in the specific context* then that's a good argument that it's offensive in that context. Not simply if they find the name offensive in the absence of the context the name is being used in.

The "Negro" in United Negro College Fund isn't offensive simply because the word is offensive when not used in that specific context. Sames goes for Friends of the Retarded. Or one of the hundreds of registered trademarks referring to the Irish as Paddy.

Now, Redskins may in fact be offensive within a football context - I'm not really sure one way or the other. But you can't simply pretend context of usage doesn't affect the connotation of how a word is used.
   26. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4729641)
"Washington Homo Sapiens." Cha-ching!
   27. Canker Soriano Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4729653)
"Washington Homo Sapiens." Cha-ching!

They could go the Community route and just call themselves the Human Beings.

Of course, they'd have to choose a look for the mascot, somewhere on the color wheel between Seal and Seal's teeth.
   28. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4729656)
Man, there are a lot of wacky trademarks in existence.

HYMIE AND GOLDIE KLINKENSTEEN
CHEF HYMIE GRANDE
ALL NATURAL MY DADZ NUTZ CARMELIZED JUMBO REDSKINS
BAKED BY A NEGRO
OLD PEOPLE ARE NOT CRANKY THEY'RE JUST GETTING TIRED OF STUPID
STUPID BLACK MEN
POLACK SPRINGS
POLOCK JOHNNY IS MY NAME POLISH SAUSAGE IS MY GAME

The trademark search thing is fun.

I remember Polock Johnny's, didn't know they still existed.
   29. SandyRiver Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4729657)
Nothing is preventing the Redskins from continuing to use the name, the question is, is the government obligated to restrict the speech of others using the name?


Might have the opposite result, short term at least, of what is desired.
   30. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4729660)
JEW CREW
PAY PER JEW
ROOTS FOR CHRISTIANS, FRUIT FOR JEWS (what?)
JEW BUCKS SMART MONEY. RICH COFFEE.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4729661)
If the vast majority of Native Americans find the use of the name *in the specific context* then that's a good argument that it's offensive in that context. Not simply if they find the name offensive in the absence of the context the name is being used in.


It's the position of the National Council of American Indians that the term is offensive in any context, when applied to Native Americans. They passed a resolution condemning its use all the way back in 1968, and have stuck to that position ever since. For more information on their position, see this white paper published in 2013.
   32. Shibal Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4729664)
As always, the litmus test is to go up to a random member of said group and address them as such.

I never could get some idiot I was once arguing with to go up to a female Jew, Black or American Indian and call them, respectively, Jewess, Negress, and squaw.


Really?

So you would have no problem going up to a female Jew and saying "hello, female Jew"? What about saying "Hello, American Indian" to the Indian guy who is going to fix your car? Or "greetings, African American" to the black girl at the counter?

Your litmus test is lacking a bit of sense, me thinks.

   33. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4729668)
The PTO's test seems rather wide-reaching.

- Would the mark be understood, in its context, as referring to an identifiable group of people?
- May that reference be perceived as disparaging to a substantial composite of that group?

By this, "Idiot Republicans Bar & Grill" wouldn't be eligible for a trademark.

(Personally, I don't think that the government should be making any judgments about the trademarks. If someone wants a company called Newt Gingrich Banged Herman Cain in a Stripclub Alley Pizza and Submarines, let the defamation laws deal with it, if at all)
   34. AROM Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4729673)
One thing that has been proven over and over is US citizens have the right to be offensive.


I would hope so, because nothing can be said or written that doesn't offend somebody. And I'm sure posting this will offend somebody.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4729682)
No Washington Redskins fan is going to quit going to games to get drunk and yell ridiculous things if the team becomes the Washington Braves or even the Washington Snyders. Changing the name not only improves how your product is perceived by a lot of people, doesn't really hurt it with core fan base (the die hards will get over it), and gives you the opportunity to re-sell merchandise to your fanbase (and the opportunity to heavily mark up "classic" merchandise in a final sale).


This is a very good point, there is a ton of money to be made with a rebranding. And I think if you do it out of a sense of "politeness" that your fan backlash will be somewhat limited. Snyder has to know that sometime in the next ten years the pressure on him to change his name is going to be too great for him not to. The Redskins changing their name is inevitable(in my opinion) so milk it for what it's worth.
   36. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4729689)
It's the position of the National Council of American Indians that the term is offensive in any context, when applied to Native Americans. They passed a resolution condemning its use all the way back in 1968, and have stuck to that position ever since. For more information on their position, see this white paper published in 2013.

So, essentially, your position is that Jefferson Keel is Emperor of Native Americans.

When we need to determine if "Paddy" is offensive in a specific usage, who's the official determinant? Do we ask Michael Higgins or does the cabinet vote on it? Or does the EU have authority here? Who is the Ultimate Official Arbiter of Irish-Related words? Or does we summon Michael Collins in a seance? Or do the same with Oliver Cromwell and assume anything he calls an Irish person is a slur?

If we're gathering evidence that use of Redskins in that specific context is offensive to Native Americans, we should ask Native Americans. When someone starts National Council of American Indians Eats Poop Coffeehouse, then we can ask the National Council of American Indians if that specific context is offensive to members of the National Council of American Indians.
   37. BDC Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4729696)
Nothing can be said or written that doesn't offend somebody. And I'm sure posting this will offend somebody.

You heartless reptile, those were the very words my late grandfather mimeographed and tacked up on utility poles around town before he keeled over from his heart attack.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4729699)
If the vast majority of Native Americans find the use of the name *in the specific context* then that's a good argument that it's offensive in that context. Not simply if they find the name offensive in the absence of the context the name is being used in.


As post 31 points out, it's pretty much the native american version of the N word. I'm not one for political correctness on every perceived insult(example, I have no problem calling a non-mentally handicapped person a retard) and think that we go too far with our over sensitivity, but there are a few words/slurs that are generally not acceptable in any context (and for the love of god, don't pull the "if they can say it, then why can't we argument." that shows the complete lack of awareness from the utterer)
   39. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4729713)
Could this mean Chief Wahoo’s days are numbered?

Not to mention the tomahawk logo?
   40. Srul Itza Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4729754)
Also, the District Court had declined the last request to cancel the trademark on laches, but made its own judgment that the petitioners had failed to carry their burden also: "finding that Harjo and the other plaintiffs had failed to show that “the use of the term “redskin(s)” in the context of a football team and related entertainment services would be viewed by a substantial composite of Native Americans… as disparaging.”


Courts have also held that Baseball does not operate in Interstate Commerce, so as to be subject to anti-trust laws. Just because a judge says it, does not make it so.
   41. steagles Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4729790)
I still think retaining the name and changing the logo to a potato is the optimal solution here.
the only way that could be more of a poke in the eye of political correctness is if the new potato logo was carved to match the face of the current one.


i also think that if people push this too far it could result in the first corporate name sponsor in major american sports.

does anyone want their local team to be the "washington spam fighters"?

actually, that's awesome. i'm gonna trademark it.
   42. Shibal Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4729793)
When we need to determine if "Paddy" is offensive in a specific usage, who's the official determinant? Do we ask Michael Higgins or does the cabinet vote on it? Or does the EU have authority here? Who is the Ultimate Official Arbiter of Irish-Related words? Or does we summon Michael Collins in a seance? Or do the same with Oliver Cromwell and assume anything he calls an Irish person is a slur?


Duh.

White liberals, of course.

   43. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4729832)
As post 31 points out, it's pretty much the native american version of the N word. I'm not one for political correctness on every perceived insult(example, I have no problem calling a non-mentally handicapped person a retard) and think that we go too far with our over sensitivity, but there are a few words/slurs that are generally not acceptable in any context (and for the love of god, don't pull the "if they can say it, then why can't we argument." that shows the complete lack of awareness from the utterer)

If it's truly unacceptable to Native Americans in all situations, then it would be unacceptable to them in the specific context of a football team. *That's* the relevant thing to find out, not whether the word is unacceptable removed of any context or whether a specific political advocacy organization disapproves.
   44. thetailor Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4729841)
As always, the litmus test is to go up to a random member of said group and address them as such.
This is a Deadspin-caliber comment.

I'm Irish. I have no problem with the Fighting Irish. I have no problem with the Celtics. I do have a problem with imagery depicting the Irish as drunks. Along the same lines, I have no problem with St. Patrick's Day, but I don't like how disrespectful people are about it.

If someone came up to me and said "Hey, Irish", I would not be offended. It would just be ####### weird. Like if someone said "Hey, tall" or any other random descriptor of who I appear to be.

Whether "Redskin" is offensive or not depends on what the word signals and carries with it - not whether someone would say it to your face or not. "Whether or not you'd call some stranger that to their face" has been parroted a million times by people all over the internet; it has never made sense, nor will it ever make sense as a test.

Words can be used to disparage, or not. It's a complicated issue.

Just because a judge says it, does not make it so.
You're right about that. But they have thousands of pages of official record, expert testimony, firsthand witness testimony, and oral argument to help govern their decisions. We have ... twitter.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4729842)
The macro view, as I see it, is that team names like "Redskins" and "Braves" and "Indians" are anachronisms that stand out as such in the modern world, and it's recently gotten to where it's enough so as to be detrimental to the owners of those teams, or will very soon. These names harken back to a time when deaf-mutes were commonly referred to as "Dummy" and don't seem materially different to me from having a team called the Detroit Darkies.

These team names will be gone soon.
   46. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4729844)
So, essentially, your position is that Jefferson Keel is Emperor of Native Americans.


Well, no, not really. If you go to page 22 of the white paper I linked, you can find a list of Native American organizations that officially oppose the use of terms such as "redskin" and consider them slurs, including (but not limited to) the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Muskogee, and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma, the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Gun Lake Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the Menominee and Oneida Indian Tribes of Wisconsin.

If the NCAI opposes the use of the term "redskin" (and it does), it's because they're expressing a preference held by a large number of their constituents.

(Also, as noted, the NCAI has consistently opposed the use of the term "redskin" since 1968, when Jefferson Keel was 21 years old and nowhere near a position of authority in the organization.)

If we're gathering evidence that use of Redskins in that specific context is offensive to Native Americans, we should ask Native Americans.


See above.
   47. thetailor Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4729845)
As post 31 points out, it's pretty much the native american version of the N word.
You're beginning with the conclusion. If it is indeed the NA version of the N-word, it should have been canceled 50 years ago.

The actual discussion is whether it is a slur, is offensive-- and if so, to what portion of that demographic.

More NA probably believe that "redskins" is offensive today than did so ten years ago thanks to the fact that it's constantly being shoved down people's throats that it is offensive. But it likely was not offensive for a very long time, if it ever was.

The University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey found that an overwhelming ninety percent of Native Americans said the “redskins” moniker “does not bother them” and that only 9% found the name “offensive.”
   48. thetailor Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4729847)
FWIW, I agree with what #46 says. If they say it is offensive, it is. If it wasn't, and then became offensive, it still is. If it is, it is -- I just hate the white liberal & liberal politician cause celebre that has been made out of it.
   49. TerpNats Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4729851)
I still think retaining the name and changing the logo to a potato is the optimal solution here
Or, in the case of the Cleveland Indians, ditching Chief Wahoo and making the Taj Mahal the new logo.
   50. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4729853)

Well, no, not really. If you go to page 22 of the white paper I linked, you can find a list of Native American organizations that officially oppose the use of terms such as "redskin" and consider them slurs, including (but not limited to) the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Muskogee, and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma, the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Gun Lake Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the Menominee and Oneida Indian Tribes of Wisconsin.


Or, instead of asking administrations of organizations whose job is political advocacy, ask the actual individuals supposedly being insulted. If it's truly offensive to Native Americans in that specific context, then poll the actual Native Americans.

If we want to poll, say, what conservatives think of Barack Obama's performance as president, we poll conservatives. We don't simply ask conservative advocacy groups what the official conservative stance on Barack Obama's performance is.

If the NCAI opposes the use of the term "redskin" (and it does), it's because they're expressing a preference held by a large number of their constituents.

Why should we believe what an organization says? If we want to know the preference of a large number of their constituents, let's poll a large number of their constituents. Have Gallup do a poll. Ask 10,000 Native Americans if they are offended by __________, the blanks being the Washington Redskins and 10 other randomly selected NFL teams. If they're offended, the polling will indicate it, no need to consult Self-Appointed Official Racial Arbiters.

While I'm not of the belief that crackers is all that offensive for a white person, how would *you* know that it isn't? Did you consult with the Official White People Rulers?
   51. billyshears Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4729858)
I'm of the view that it's sort of offensive to use any word referring to any ethnic or religious group as a mascot for a sports team. The word "Jew" isn't inherently offensive, but I wouldn't be so thrilled with an expansion baseball team representing my hometown called the Long Island Jews, even if they tried to tell me the team was celebrating elements of my culture.

Edit: To address the point raised by #44, I think this is particularly true for groups with a significant history of persecution (I recognize that this does not necessarily exclude the Irish).
   52. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4729859)
I'm Irish. I have no problem with the Fighting Irish. I have no problem with the Celtics. I do have a problem with imagery depicting the Irish as drunks. Along the same lines, I have no problem with St. Patrick's Day, but I don't like how disrespectful people are about it.


I'm Irish too,and my wife finds imagery depicting the Irish as drunks or monkeys or drunk monkeys (very common in 19 Cent. US of A) as being laugh out loud hysterical... However, she's not amused by racist depictions of the Chinese.
   53. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4729861)
Why should we believe what an organization says? If we want to know the preference of a large number of their constituents, let's poll a large number of their constituents.


You don't think that the positions of the democratically-elected leadership of those tribes reflect in any way the positions of the electorate that voted for them?

It probably isn't possible to poll Native Americans without the involvement of the tribes in that process, since they're the ones who hold the membership records that would be needed to conduct a fair and uniform survey.
   54. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4729864)
Another thought... I'm not at all sure that the specific word 'Redskins' is the issue (or 'Indians' or 'Braves' or even the caricature of Chief Wahoo). If there were a team called the Atlanta African Americans, would most of us be cool with that?

I would suggest that most of us would not be cool with that. I can't say I myself would especially care for calling a team the Washington White Guys; there is something distasteful about making a mascot out of any class of people.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4729866)
Or, instead of asking administrations of organizations whose job is political advocacy, ask the actual individuals supposedly being insulted. If it's truly offensive to Native Americans in that specific context, then poll the actual Native Americans.



One poll that says 67% find it offensive.

or

there was a poll ten years ago with self identified Native Americans(and this is the poll that the NFL references) which said 90% of them didn't find the term offensive.


or one by the Oneida tribe that says 59% find it offensive.

but none of them are actually good polls so they aren't that helpful.

   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4729867)
The macro view, as I see it, is that team names like "Redskins" and "Braves" and "Indians" are anachronisms that stand out as such in the modern world, and it's recently gotten to where it's enough so as to be detrimental to the owners of those teams, or will very soon.


And when that happens those names will be gone, this would seem to be a self-correcting situation.

But how are names like "Redskins" and "Braves" and "Indians" fundamentally different than:
Yankees
Hoosiers
Tar Heels (yes that was most definitely originally intended as an insult)
Canucks
Fighting Irish
Aztecs
Ragin Cajuns

   57. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4729876)
Johnny (56): I think names like Yankees and Hoosiers that are regional rather than racial in nature are acceptable, if not desirable. As for things like Fighting Irish and Aztecs, my comments in #54 would apply.
   58. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4729877)
But how are names like "Redskins" and "Braves" and "Indians" fundamentally different than:
Yankees
Hoosiers
Tar Heels (yes that was most definitely originally intended as an insult)
Canucks
Fighting Irish
Aztecs
Ragin Cajuns


Most of those weren't the victims of genocide in our country's history. Yes, that matters.


   59. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4729884)
I would suggest that most of us would not be cool with that. I can't say I myself would especially care for calling a team the Washington White Guys; there is something distasteful about making a mascot out of any class of people.


As pointed out, there are the Fighting Irish that nobody seems to have a problem with, and some will argue that there is no real difference between the Fighting Irish and the Braves.

Obviously the term "Indians" falls into the category you are talking about, and I agree there, as we have had this discussion before, in order of offensiveness it goes

Red Skins
-----gap----
-----gap----
Indians
-----gap----
Braves/Blackhawks

I think an argument can be made for Braves or Indians, I just can't see how anyone can accept Redskins though. (Imagine if we had teams in support of females, the equivalent to redskins would be the B word or maybe the C word, equivalent to Indians would be Women, equivalent to Braves would be Amazons. For Asian equivalents we would have Ch word or slanteyes equivalent to the RedSkins, maybe Asians for Indians and Samurai/Ninja for Braves equivalent. For white men it would be Rednecks or Honky's equivalent to Red skins, WASP equivalent to Indians and Patriots for Braves)
   60. Kurt Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4729893)
I completely disagree with the USPTO's decision to revoke a trademark they had previously issued. They can't give something and then take it back. I mean, what are they, a uh, an agency that uh... well, an agency that gives something and then they're dissatisfied and they wish they had, had never uh... give, given it to the person that they originally gave it to?
   61. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4729897)
It probably isn't possible to poll Native Americans without the involvement of the tribes in that process, since they're the ones who hold the membership records that would be needed to conduct a fair and uniform survey.

If the organizations wouldn't assist in conducting a fair and uniform survey, then that's evidence that their high and mighty judgment on what Native Americans believe shouldn't be taken seriously.

I assume, of course, that you've never quoted a poll of what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws, deferring only to the official positions of the National Rifle Association when determining what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws?
   62. thetailor Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4729910)
What matters is whether the people *who it refers to* think its offensive or not. What anyone else thinks *doesn't* matter.

Whether or not the Native Americans were victims of genocide in this country, in fact, does not matter, because other portrayals of Native American imagery may not be considered offensive to them (e.g. Blackhawks/Braves). I do not think Fighting Irish is offensive, in fact, it's awesome. I would think Drunk Mic Bastards would be offensive. Who decides? Irish people. Same goes for every other team which references some kind of identificable demographic (Yankees, Patriots, Canucks).

Allowing outsiders the right to determine whether or a term is (or should be considered) offensive is dangerous turf, because that invites value judgments on the people themselves and the context of their history. The only people who should get to weigh in on whether something is offensive or not is those people themselves. Case closed. Full stop.
   63. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4729923)
If the organizations wouldn't assist in conducting a fair and uniform survey, then that's evidence that their high and mighty judgment on what Native Americans believe shouldn't be taken seriously.


Nowhere did I imply that they would do so. But since you questioned their authority to act as representatives of their members' will, I assumed that you'd also reject them as the source of the demographic information needed for the polling sample, for similar reasons.

I assume, of course, that you've never quoted a poll of what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws, deferring only to the official positions of the National Rifle Association when determining what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws?


That is not a good comparison, in that the NRA does not have the ability to determine whether or not a given individual is allowed to purchase a gun, while the tribal authorities are the ultimate judges and sole arbiters as to whether or not a given individual is a member of the tribe.
   64. dr. scott Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4729930)
Not to mention the tomahawk logo?


the Tomahawk logo is already a compromise as before they went back to that, there was a screaming Indian head... not to mention Chief Nok-a-homa, and his bleacher seats tee-pee.
   65. Bhaakon Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4729934)
I assume, of course, that you've never quoted a poll of what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws, deferring only to the official positions of the National Rifle Association when determining what gun owners believe to be reasonable gun control laws?


The NRA membership is for people who agree with the NRA's position (or at least don't find them objectionable enough to prevent them from joining for whatever fringe benefits the organization offers). Native American tribe membership is determined by happenstance of birth. Surely you can see the problem with conflating the two.
   66. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4729944)
Also, for the record: my paternal grandmother thinks that it's offensive. She's not a Native American herself, but she grew up on a reservation in South Dakota and had first cousins who were half-bloods, so she is a bit closer to the issue than the average white person. For whatever that's worth.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4729945)
National Council of American Indians that the term is offensive in any context, when applied to Native Americans

While I agree with the position on Redskins, the irony here is a bit rich.

Tar Heels (yes that was most definitely originally intended as an insult)

This is not clear at all. The UNC website. And Wiki really has no good info:

At the time, tar was created by piling up pine logs and burning them until hot oil seeped out from a canal. The vast production of tar from North Carolina led many, including Walt Whitman, to give the derisive nickname of "Tarboilers" to the residents of North Carolina.[1] North Carolina was nicknamed the "Tar and Turpentine State" because of this industry.[1]

Somehow, these terms evolved until the nickname Tar Heel was used to refer to residents of North Carolina and gained prominence during the American Civil War. During this time, the nickname Tar Heel was a pejorative, but starting around 1865, the term began to be used as a source of pride.[1]

In 1893, the students of the University of North Carolina founded a newspaper and christened it The Tar Heel, which was later renamed The Daily Tar Heel.[1] By the early 1900s the term was embraced by many as a non-derisive term for North Carolinians by those from inside and outside the state of North Carolina.[1]


Note the citation [1] is just to an aritcle on the UNC alum site. That article has a bit more detail. Basically the term was, not surprisingly, used derogatorily when the purpose was to insult (some) NCians and used proudly by NCians.

The difference with most of the names cited in #56 is that these are mostly examples of the group using the name to refer to themselves. If the U of Indiana wants to call themselves Hoosiers, folks in Louisiana the Ragin Cajuns, etc. then it's a pretty clear sign that they have accepted/re-purposed the moniker.

The Aztecs would be a different story.

Nobody would object if a high school on a Sioux reservation called their teams the Fighting Sioux. U of North Dakota using that name is clearly different.
   68. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4729983)
The NRA membership is for people who agree with the NRA's position (or at least don't find them objectionable enough to prevent them from joining for whatever fringe benefits the organization offers). Native American tribe membership is determined by happenstance of birth. Surely you can see the problem with conflating the two.

But active involvement in the political apparatus of the tribes and the advocacy groups stemming from there is *not* determined by happenstance of birth.

   69. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 18, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4729994)
As pointed out, there are the Fighting Irish that nobody seems to have a problem with, and some will argue that there is no real difference between the Fighting Irish and the Braves.


People who argue that are silly.

It's really as simply as Us vs. Them.

Most Indian nicknames in this country, save ones for reservation schools and some universities, were not done because of a strong association with local tribes, but in the same way a school picks a Bronco or a Tiger or a Rocket. It's viewed as a cool (or mean or strong) other thing to use as a nickname.

But Notre Dame is the pre-eminent Catholic university in the country, and the school most Irish Catholics grow up as fans of/dreaming of attending (and all of the other Fighting Irish nicknames I've ever seen were also associated with Catholic School). That's Us. If Yeshiva University opted to employ the Fighting Irish as a nickname, that would be comparable to most of your Native American sports nicknames.
   70. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4729999)
Most Indian nicknames in this country, save ones for reservation schools and some universities, were not done because of a strong association with local tribes, but in the same way a school picks a Bronco or a Tiger or a Rocket. It's viewed as a cool (or mean or strong) other thing to use as a nickname.


And I don't see a problem with that. It's something cool. What is wrong with that? Aztecs, Samurai, Knights, Cavaliers, Trojans, Braves, Patriots....they are fundamentally no different.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: June 18, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4730045)
And I don't see a problem with that. It's something cool. What is wrong with that? Aztecs, Samurai, Knights, Cavaliers, Trojans, Braves, Patriots....they are fundamentally no different.


Lots of Indians are still around and live in this country. I don't think that applies to Cavaliers and Trojans.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4730048)
Lots of Indians are still around and live in this country. I don't think that applies to Cavaliers and Trojans.


Applies to Patriots. I don't see why it has to be extinct to apply.

And I'm not using the term Indians, I said it was in regards to terms like Braves. Technically speaking, there are no more Braves around, at least not in regards to the connotation of that term.
   73. Nats-Homer-in-DC Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4730053)
The USPTO rule about disparaging names existed but was not enforced 50 years ago when the Redskins first applied for the trademark. Since then 2 things have changed
1. The term is less commonly used as a slur than it was.
2. A political movement arose seeking reforms to free speech rights to protect certain groups within their political caucus

I don't understand how 1 may have influenced the USPTO to reverse its rulings. And I hope that a non-partisan bureaucratic agency isn't acquiescing to the demands of 2.
   74. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4730076)
1. The term is less commonly used as a slur than it was.


The terms "wop", "kike", "chink", and "paki" are less commonly used as slurs than "back in the day", but that doesn't mean any trademark with those words in the name would be acceptable because they were unchallenged when first used.

It's also possible that 50 years ago the people being disparaged didn't have the organizational strength to challenge something like a popular sports team.
   75. Howling John Shade Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4730082)
The USPTO rule about disparaging names existed but was not enforced 50 years ago when the Redskins first applied for the trademark. Since then 2 things have changed
1. The term is less commonly used as a slur than it was.
2. A political movement arose seeking reforms to free speech rights to protect certain groups within their political caucus

I don't understand how 1 may have influenced the USPTO to reverse its rulings. And I hope that a non-partisan bureaucratic agency isn't acquiescing to the demands of 2.

3. Some of the people the term actually refers to filed a case arguing that the term was offensive.
   76. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:42 PM (#4730097)
It's the position of the National Council of American Indians that the term is offensive in any context, when applied to Native Americans. They passed a resolution condemning its use all the way back in 1968, and have stuck to that position ever since. For more information on their position, see this white paper published in 2013.

"They've been consistent in their lies about the origin of the word for 45 years!"

As post 31 points out, it's pretty much the native american version of the N word.

As post 76 points out, that's bullshit. It was an inoffensive synonym that fell out of popular usage, save in the context of team nicknames. Decades later, activists made up a story claiming an offensive origin, unsupported by the historical record. People with an inclination toward believing such stories -- ahem -- have run with it, ginning up wider-spread outrage at the obvious "fact" of the word's inherent offensiveness. The end.
   77. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4730098)
#60 is awesome. That is all.
   78. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4730100)
Some of the people the term actually refers to filed a case arguing that the term was offensive.

Get me attention and lawyers willing/wanting to make a name for themselves, I can find people that think the word "the" is offensive.
   79. Howling John Shade Posted: June 18, 2014 at 10:07 PM (#4730105)
Some of the people the term actually refers to filed a case arguing that the term was offensive.

Get me attention and lawyers willing/wanting to make a name for themselves, I can find people that think the word "the" is offensive.
While that's quite possibly true, I'm not sure why it's relevant. I was just pointing out that a lawsuit being filed by Native Americans was a significant difference between 1950 and now. Agencies approve lots of things and then go back on those decisions when they are legally challenged.
   80. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4730108)
The terms "wop", "kike", "chink", and "paki" are less commonly used as slurs than "back in the day", but that doesn't mean any trademark with those words in the name would be acceptable because they were unchallenged when first used.

At the time they were first used, they didn't have more than half a century being primarily used in the context of a football team. We're talking the context of the word and its usage in 2014, not what my great-grandfather thought. For the same as paddy wagon, an older usage of the word has phased out of the English language. Just like if I call you a mountebank or a blackguard now, those words have a different meaning, transformed by years and years of usage.

If you asked a random person what a wop or kike or chink is today, they'd probably identify it first as a racial slur. Ask a random person what the word "redskin" is and I'm fairly certain -- though not positive as the polling is varied and the questions usually suck -- they'd identify it as the football team or perhaps a potato. Even if Redskin was in fact the biggest racial slur in 1870 or whenever (and there is disagreement on this issue), the fact that it's meaning and it's connotation have been altered significantly over the course of the last century. That shift does, in fact, make redskin different from wop or kike or chink or other words that are still primarily known in the context of a racial slur.

One can't just wave their hands and pretend that semantic shift doesn't happen. It's not limited just by the actual meanings (see the word gay), but the underlying intent and connotation. Calling someone retarded has the same meaning it does 100 years ago, but the connotation is different - 100 years ago it was the word used to replace pejoratives in use at the time.
   81. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4730111)
While that's quite possibly true, I'm not sure why it's relevant. I was just pointing out that a lawsuit being filed by Native Americans was a significant difference between 1950 and now. Agencies approve lots of things and then go back on those decisions when they are legally challenged.

I'm not saying that they're lying about being offended, but lots of people are offended by lots of thing. There are still people that are offended by the word devil in products. If the USPTO has the ability to get involved (I don't think the government should be picking and choosing marks) I don't think the USPTO should be getting involved in something like this unless the conduct is so particularly egregious that there's no other reasonable conclusion that someone reading the trademark can draw. I think the burden should be a helluva lot higher in this situation than simply saying that some unknown amount of people and a political advocacy group find it offensive.

I'll ask the people in support of this again, why should a cafe called Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop be turned down a trademark? There is in fact nothing in § 1052 that suggests that ethnic origin is a special protected class for trademark disparagement. All that is required is that it disparages a specific group of people (and Republicans are an easily identifiable group, because of voter registration, far more easily specified than Native Americans). I'll still disagree, but at least there's an underlying principle involved to disagree with rather than joining onto the progressive fad of the month.
   82. Srul Itza Posted: June 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM (#4730118)
If Yeshiva University opted to employ the Fighting Irish as a nickname, that would be


the coolest thing ever.
   83. BDC Posted: June 18, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4730129)
Interesting discussion. I'll just observe that analogies are perilous here. There's no other name and situation quite like "Redskins." It's a casually demeaning term that once seemed cool, now seems quaint, offends not a few, and is going to provoke a bitter if brief backlash from fans once done away with ... or who knows, maybe it'll live another century as a kind of defanged relic of racism ...
   84. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4730133)
Even if Redskin was in fact the biggest racial slur in 1870 or whenever (and there is disagreement on this issue), the fact that it's meaning and it's connotation have been altered significantly over the course of the last century. That shift does, in fact, make redskin different from wop or kike or chink or other words that are still primarily known in the context of a racial slur.


So the gist of your argument is because the previous generations of white people had no problem using a slur as a sports team name (mainly because the people being slurred were too busy either being killed or marginalized to protest), it's too late to complain about it now?
(Ignoring that those people did complain about almost 50 years ago.)



   85. GregD Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4730134)
   86. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4730137)
Calling someone retarded has the same meaning it does 100 years ago, but the connotation is different - 100 years ago it was the word used to replace pejoratives in use at the time.

If you look at a 19th Century DC map, St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Anacostia was simply called "Lunatic Asylum". Other cities had hospitals for the "Criminally Insane".

Less than 50 years ago the hospital on Upton St. now known as "The Washington Home and Community Hospices" was called the "Washington Home for the Incurables". It featured the world's last nickel Coke machine along with the smell of death.

And I strongly suspect that the last time "redskin" was actually used as a non-ironic racial slur was probably somewhere in the era of "classic" Hollywood westerns.

I don't give a damn if the Redskins lose their trademark, since I don't like the idea of having to put up half your life's savings to get their permission to sell "licensed" memorabilia over the internet, and any ruling that loosens a team's monopoly hold on trademarks is a victory for diversity and competition. But although Snyder's blowing it through his butt when he claims that the Redskins name was chosen to "honor" Lone Star Dietz**, it's equally absurd to suggest that the name was chosen for reasons of racism, or that fans who want to keep the name are "racist" for their preference.

**The truth is much more pedestrian. When the franchise began as the Boston Braves in 1932, it played its home games in Braves Field. When they moved to Fenway Park the next year, they changed the name in order to avoid both superficial contradiction and / or confusion.
   87. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4730138)
Has everyone seen Congressman Steve King's eminently reasonable take on the issue?

God Bless Twitter.

Obama raids Redskins by weaponizing USPTO. Cancels Redskins logo! Free people will not tolerate a Kim Jong POTUS.
   88. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4730141)
There is a popular candy here in Aus. called Redskins. They are little, red(what else?) strips of chewy sugar.
We also have Coon cheese. But then again we are all racist bastards down here, so there is that.
And I just offended everyone who grew up without parents...cr*p!
   89. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4730147)
So the gist of your argument is because the previous generations of white people had no problem using a slur as a sports team name (mainly because the people being slurred were too busy either being killed or marginalized to protest), it's too late to complain about it now?

If the word is transformed, pretty much. Is there any evidence of people in 2014 using it as a racial slur?
   90. Dale Sams Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4730148)
#88 foreign racism is good for a chuckle and a facepalm. It's the domestic pin head dancing that's offensive. As always, much more offensive than the actual terms.

"Let's ask some Vikings". F**K off.
   91. Dale Sams Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4730149)
If the word is transformed, pretty much. Is there any evidence of people in 2014 using it as a racial slur?


If the word means potato or DC football team...why is there a ####### Indian on the helmet?
   92. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4730150)
If the word means potato or DC football team...why is there a ####### Indian on the helmet?

It's still a word referring to Native Americans, but now one with no common usage of negative connotation, as a result of the semantic shift that took place over the last century.

Again, Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop. Yay or nay?

   93. Dale Sams Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4730151)
Again, Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop. Yay or nay?


Any analogy made to a traditional white group is an instant fail. That's perilously close to a men's rights or white heritage argument.
   94. Baldrick Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4730158)
Again, Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop. Yay or nay?

How about a cafe called Your Analogies are Idiotic and Demonstrate a Complete Lack of Respect for People Who Have Historically Been Utterly F***ed Over By Our Government and Society and Who Ought to Have Some Modicum of Say About the Way Corporations Depict Them For Profit

I would go to that cafe.
   95. zachtoma Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4730161)
Haha, some epic goalpost-shifting by DJS here wrt who gets to say whether or not the word is offensive. It's almost like a comedy routine.
   96. Dale Sams Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4730163)
Again, Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop. Yay or nay?


I'll cast that vote after Resolution: "Atlanta Negroes fans dress up in blackface, bring spears to the game and chant 'Unga-chukka unga unga unga-chukka!'" is voted on.
   97. zachtoma Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:59 AM (#4730167)
"Who says it's offensive?... OK, not them, they don't count, who else?... No, not them either. Got anything else?... Come on, now you're just being ridiculous!... Look, why don't you just ask me if 'Redskins' is offensive? It's not, okay."
   98. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 19, 2014 at 01:14 AM (#4730182)
Any analogy made to a traditional white group is an instant fail. That's perilously close to a men's rights or white heritage argument.

No, it's not. The Lanham Act makes *no* reference to racial or gender restrictions or any kind of subgroup in the context of disparagement. It's not a false analogy, it's an *identical* argument. Only that persons are disparaged by the mark. It doesn't say "trademarks may not disparage persons based on race, gender, or nationality."

Do I have to post the whole text of § 1052 or do I have to do all your ####### work to make an honest argument for you?
   99. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 19, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4730186)

No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it—
(a) Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols


Trademark for Republicans are Idiots Coffee Shop. Yay or Nay? It would be a mark that disparages persons living or dead.

   100. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 19, 2014 at 01:28 AM (#4730188)
How about a cafe called Your Analogies are Idiotic and Demonstrate a Complete Lack of Respect for People Who Have Historically Been Utterly F***ed Over By Our Government and Society and Who Ought to Have Some Modicum of Say About the Way Corporations Depict Them For Profit

I missed the relevant Lanham Act text that makes this the slightest bit relevant to whether or not a trademark should be revoked by the USPTO, outside the general disparagement clause, which makes no reference to which groups are more deserving of being protected from disparagement as others. It's a pretty big act so presumably you have the relevant text, else you would be making a dishonest argument, which we know cannot be true.
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