Ironically, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the comedian Bill Maher decided that it was not appropriate to oppose the name of the Washington professional football team, which is a dictionary defined racial slur associated with genocide. He likened the opponents of the name to politically correct people who have infested the Democratic Party and cost Hilary Clinton victory. It is implausible that white backlash against opposition to the name of the team mobilized voters for Trump. The controversy over the name is the most intense in the Washington DC area. The District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland went resoundingly for Hilary Clinton. Second, Trump won largely because of underemployed white working class voters who have not seen wage increases in decades. In particular, three states, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and 80,000 votes in those states cost Clinton the victory. It would be absurd that a controversy over the name of a team playing in the DC area had as much to do with outcome in those three states as loss of manufacturing jobs. And lastly, the poll Maher cites is flawed and done by a newspaper whose business is helped immensely by the owner of the pro football team. Re-think your commentary on this one, Mr. Maher. Here is the episode.
An Asian band wants to own the slur and call themselves the "Slants." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had declared that the band could not use that name because it is disparaging. The Washington football team had filed an amicus brief in the case. Interestingly, the lead band member is no fan of Dan Snyder and does not want the case associated with the pro football team. The cases are not similar. In one instance, a band wants to empower itself and own the slur. In another case, an owner of a football team who is not Native American wants to use a name that is a racial slur and that all the Native Americans I know find to be deeply offensive. In one case, the issue is empowerment. In the other case, the issue is cultural appropriation by a majority culture. It would be nice if the law allowed the Asian band to call itself whatever it wants but not allow a trademark for a team that is not Native American and is using a slur for Native Americans. I am not sure the law works that way, but will we see as the Supreme Court takes up the case this term. For more see, this article.
Josh Silver is one of the founders of RWF and is a life time fan that wants the name changed!