No Scalpers Allowed

We came uninvited. We stole your land. We spread deadly diseases among your populations. We dehumanized your culture and history. And we killed you in large numbers ahead of a long era of treating you as second class citizens. But before you judge us, it should be known that we draw the line at mascots that could be considered derogatory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just canceled six of the Washington Redskins’ trademarks after determining that the name is disparaging of Native Americans.

+ This is not the first time the patent office has issued such a ruling. So what exactly does this mean?

+ The times (and public opinions) have changed since those earlier rulings. The NYT’s Upshot wonders whether this is finally the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ team name. In the meantime, they point out that using the now “free” trademark presents a Catch-22: “It’s legal to use the name because a government commission found it disparages Native Americans, but you would then own a [business] whose name disparages a minority group.”

+ Esquire: Yes, a ‘Redskin’ does, in fact, mean the scalped head of a Native American, sold, like a pelt, for cash.

+ And for some history, here’s Michael Tomasky in the New York Review of Books: The Racist Redskins.

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