Well, the debate is over as to whether or not the Washington Redskins’ is racist–because the U.S. patent office has settled that debate quite nicely. Six federal trademark registrations for the name have been nixed because it is “offensive to Native Americans,” and can not be trademarked thanks to a federal law that prohibits the protection of offensive and disparaging language.
“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote.
In a press release Jesse Written, the plaintiff’s lead attorney said, “The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place. We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”