Not only has the Washington football team filed a lawsuit against the five Native Americans who took their case to the Patent and Trademark Office board, their reason for doing so is simply breathtaking in its audacity.
The team, which has used Redskins as part of its name since 1933, says in court papers that the patent office board was wrong and that its trademarks are proper because the term was not offensive when the trademarks were registered. The team says canceling the trademarks, which were registered between 1967 and 1990, would violate the Constitution.
Lawyers for the five Native Americans argue that the Redskins’ lawsuit against them should be dismissed because the team’s real dispute is with the patent office.
I can think of a lot of names and words that probably weren’t widely considered to be offensive in 1967. At least not widely considered to be offensive among white people.
The team’s lawsuit is based on the idea that minorities shouldn’t be allowed to decide for themselves what is and is not offensive. It’s based on the idea that something only becomes offensive when white people decide that it is.