In his column today [November 22, 2006] in the Washington Post, liberal columnist Courtland Milloy wrote about his visit to the Omaha Nation reservation in Macy, Nebraska where he was hoping to visit 19 year-old Jillian Pappan who is leading a fight to have the trademark for the name “Redskins” revoked.
He was unable to talk to Jillian who was away at college but spoke to some other students at the public school for their thoughts on the issue. The students who aren’t part of the petition now before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office voiced their support though the real burning issue for them was to get a college education.
The argument made in Pappan’s petition is that the law prohibits trademarks that disparage any race and that the name “Redskins” is disparaging to American Indians.
Yet Milloy points out a bit of irony, if not hypocrisy when he mentions that the Omaha Tribe school was called “home of the Chiefs” and used an image of a tribal leader as its logo. When Milloy asked one of the students about this, she said that “I believe the use of natives to represent the spirit of a school or team can be good or bad, depending on how it’s used. When native people use them, we do not disparage ourselves and subject our people to ridicule.”
So let me get this straight. Just because someone has Indian heritage they are incapable of disparaging their race? Is she saying that others without that heritage automatically disparage Indians? Once again I refer to my childhood. Back then we loved playing Cowboys and Indians. Yes the Cowboys always won, but we always felt that the Indians were cunning, brave and were good warriors. In other words, a very tough opponent and one not easily defeated.
If that’s disparaging I need a new dictionary.
The students behind the petition see this as some sort of injustice that needs to be corrected, an idea that has been put in their head by liberal educators who see our youth as a very fertile ground to breed the next generation of liberal activists. In reality it is another example of political correctness run amok. And that would be bad for all Americans, native or otherwise.
Don Irvine is the chairman of Accuracy in Media.