Suzan Harjo: Evidence supports removal of Redskins name

Suzan Shown Harjo, who was the lead plaintiff in the first trademark challenge to the Washington Redskins, tackles another poll that showed support for the controversial mascot:
The first part of this story covered the AP-GfK “nationwide” poll that sampled 1,004 persons about keeping or changing the racist name of the Washington, D.C., football franchise. A majority of respondents were white, conservative to moderate, pro football fans, and one-quarter were Tea Party supporters. The sampling included those in states that were ethnically cleansed of most Indian landowners. The predictable poll result was that most said don’t change the name.

That and similar polls are irrelevant, of course, when it comes to the case that three judges are now deciding for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. For purposes of Section 2 of the Lanham Act of the trademark law, the relevant persons are those who may be disparaged or brought into contempt or disrepute—in other words, Native American people.

The NFL franchise’s racist name has been litigated in two cases for 21 years. During all that time, no Native leaders, groups or persons have appeared in court on the side of Pro Football, Inc., while the major national Native American organizations have supported the Native plaintiffs formally as amici curiae.

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Fighting Racist Stereotypes in Sports, One Poll at a Time, Part II (Indian Country Today 5/29)

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Suzan Harjo: Racism wins every time when put to the public

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