June 19, 2014

On Hypocrisy

Nevermind the outrage every single American should be feeling knowing that someone (or someones) in a position of power was able to find a backdoor way to try to get the Washington Redskins to change their name.  Who was it, do you think, that called up a buddy at the Patent & Trademark Office and asked for a favor?  Where is the public outcry about abuse of power?  Considering the Big Picture, how do you feel, knowing American soldiers are fighting and dying, children are starving, illegal aliens are pouring across our borders, our country's name is the laughingstock of the world, and your elected representatives are using their energy and resources to force an NFL team to change their name?

The Redskins are my team of choice, but you know what?  I don't give a flip what their name is.  Sure, sure, there are valid arguments to be made about tradition, free choice, free speech, the historical element - but it doesn't make one bit of difference to how the team plays on Sundays.  You might argue that point for either side.  What you can never justify is our freaking government getting involved.  There are only about a gazillion things more important to the American people.

And, just in case you thought that the Patent & Trademark folks were simply trying to be consistent, consider this small sampling of trademarks that they don't find "bring individuals or groups into contempt or disrepute".
Figgas over NiggasThis pending trademark seeks to cover a line of “Apparel for dancers, namely, tee shirts, sweatshirts, pants, leggings, shorts and jackets.” “Niggas,” of course, is a slang version of the word “nigger,” a term considered highly offensive towards black Americans.
Kraut Kap: Another recently-filed trademark, this one for a line of plastic lids. “Kraut” was made famous in World War II as a derogatory term for opposing German soldiers, as well as Germans in general.
Dago Swagg: A label created for a line of clothing. ”Dago” is a corruption of the common name Diego, and is used in English-speaking countries as an offensive term for those of Italian descent, and occasionally people from other Mediterranean countries as well.
Cracka Azz Skateboards: Unsurprisingly, this trademark was taken out for a line of skateboards and longboards, as well as associated clothing such as bandannas. While the USPTO helpfully notes that “The wording ‘cracka azz’ has no meaning in a foreign language,” “cracka” is a slang version of “cracker,” which in this context is a term of derision for whites, used primarily within the black community.
You Can’t Make A Housewife Out Of A Whore: This trademark for T-shirts and hats appears to imply that women involved in prostitution can never transition into the domestic role of a housewife. Such an accusation would certainly “bring them into contempt or disrepute,” the stated reasoning for eliminating the Redskins trademark.
Blanco Basura: A seemingly innocuous phrase, Blanco Basura, rendered into English, is actually the highly offensive slur “white trash.” White trash is a derogatory insult that typically refers to poor, white Americans, who have a penchant for crime and a patent disrespect for authority. Apparently, they thought they could go unnoticed designing a hateful beer.
‘teensdoporn.com’: This is a classic example (Safe For Work) of a harmful stereotype used to justify condescension toward teens in the form of countless hours of sex-ed in high school. It wrongfully supposes that all teens are sex-crazed maniacs, who given the chance, will opt for trading their sexuality on a website for fame and fortune.
Mammy Jamia’s: A company going by the name of A & S Cairns Limited has decided to attach its good name to an antebellum slur used to refer to an enslaved black woman who was in charge of household affairs, particularly caring for white children. The product? Frozen fruits and vegetables. Was it really worth it, A &S?
Uppity Negro: Intended to be imprinted on mugs and apparel, this trademark references the frequently used adjective “uppity” to describe blacks who agitated for greater respect and civil rights in the Jim Crow-era South.
All Natural My Dadz Nutz Carmelized Jumbo Redskins: Available at MyDadzNutz.com, this line of savory peanuts is unlikely to run into trouble for applying “redskin” to a line of peanuts. One might argue the two terms describe different things, and so the overlap does not matter, but that hasn’t stopped the old name for Brazil nuts from fading away. Kaffir limes, meanwhile, are a discouraged name in the Oxford Companion to Food, as “kaffir” is a highly offensive term for blacks in South Africa.

Well, there is the answer.  The Redskins simply need to do away with the Native American-related images and use Mr Peanut as their mascot.

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