[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]
A very proud liberal tradition of supporting civil rights and combating racism took a fascinating turn yesterday when the federal trademark board cancelled the Washington franchise’s racist, offensive trademark. Aside from the technical ability of the franchise and NFL to enforce trademark revenue, the move is a huge social slap in the face of the Washington franchise.
As a committed liberal I watch this fight very closely, for if nothing else all of us here seek change, how to think of it, idealize it, convince others and then watch it actually happen. Here a model runs right before us in real time, justice and equality are seriously on the march to change that filthy racist name, has been for a long time, yet it still will not change (yet). Watching this unique process and the inevitable happy result can give any liberal important clues on how to effect change in other issues.
Unfortunately opposition to changing the racism and easing the hurt resides in two dimensions. First is of course the deeply entrenched patriarchy power issue in the Washington ownership: white, male, soaked in multi-dimensional privilege, very much used to heeded authority and control. I do not understand this aspect of the authoritarian mind, but by God and all that’s holy they hate losing authority and control above all else, it matters not a whit what the issue is, no one tells them what to do about anything.
Second is a simple defiant racism in what I term the triple-down stage. Very unfortunately for us all the expanding United States wiped out with disease and violence almost all of the indigenous population here and eventually insulted and denigrated the remaining with racist and demeaning mascot symbols for our sports teams. Over the past 40 years indigenous American groups have very effectively organized to get those racist, hurtful mascot logos removed.
Current Washington NFL franchise ownership double-downed on the racism issue and flat-out denied there was any racism or hurt anywhere with their logo. Double-down is a gambling term to up your bet 100%, or double it, to basically attempt a big bluff. There’s nothing there, but I’ll double down to dare you to believe there isn’t, to force you out on a big money limb to call it.
[sigh] This isn’t blackjack in any sense, and of course after enough time passes with the absurd double-down slapped down it of itself becomes an issue, a primary hurt with the racist logo and a corresponding one in the outrageous double-down denial of it all. The freaking trademark board cancelled your trademark, you can’t even legitimately walk the street of this country and conduct business, chumps, yet you still stand there and say there is no racism or hurt in your denial?
No, there isn’t any hurt in the racism and we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong in refusing to change or acknowledging the truth. Washington NFL ownership is going to triple down, seriously, and appeal the ruling of the trademark board.
There was zero speculation in any of the reporting on the possible time span of appeal. A similar suit brought before the board took seven years to process on appeal.
Seven years, is that really what the Washington NFL franchise wants to inflict on America and all of its people, not just Native Americans? Again, this is not a god damn poker game, the Washington NFL ownership keeps bluffing about racism and seems oblivious to the searing hurt of it all. Native Americans will never, ever give up on changing that filthy name not out of some stupid ego game of control, but because my God it hurts every day, it should not and they will not cease in their efforts until the pain stops. Just as any of us would.
Even if it takes seven more years, oh yes, and there will be no loss on appeal this time. Basic commerce institutions have turned against the Washington NFL franchise, very soon in our lifetimes they will change their name and logo with a basic apology. Everyone will be relieved that the truth shines in the open, the hurt so blessedly gone and of course forgiveness and acceptance granted instantly to the Washington NFL ownership. We’ve all made mistakes, and if we were absurdly stubborn in fixing some, well, eventually it happened.
My personal favorite is the Washington Dragons, the Wizards are already a NBA franchise there and the imagery is hobbit cool.