There we were out in Portland, Oregon, on a eating and sightseeing jaunt, back in 2015, on the way to Spokane. We made a special effort to visit a street market in an Asian neighborhood, and it was well worth it.
The Jade International Night Market is an annual event, held in the Jade District of east Portland, not far from our B&B at an urban farm (yes, how Portland can you get?) There were many food vendors, community groups, friendly neighborhood people, and, headlining the entertainment lineup, a local group called the Slants. You may have heard of them by now.
The Slants’ case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The question, of course, is whether the band’s name is too derogatory to be registered as a trademark. The ironic nature of choosing the name for an ethnically Asian rock band to “take back” a racial slur is apparently too subtle for the Trademark Office to appreciate, and I would be in wholehearted support of their efforts to justify it, were it not for Washington’s football team. If the Slants win their case, we will have the Redskins to kick around for, I guess, ever.
Of course the Slants can call themselves whatever they want. There have been way more offensive rock band names, both self-descriptive and not (NWA, anyone?), but the court case is about registering the name as a trademark, and permission to sell merch without smirch. And, how many self-identified members of the ethnic group have to be offended; and how many of everybody else?
Here’s my (admittedly short-term, but! how! elegant!) solution for the Redskins: change the mascot to a potato. Everybody’s happy – until, of course, the tuber-Americans get offended. And as for the Slants, I wish them well, both in the court case and as musicians. And, oh, yes, there’s a food connection (this IS a food article, right?): they gave me a snack, a special Slants edition of an excruciatingly healthy Left Coast product.
A portion of your payment goes towards their legal fees. So, go buy some, and Good Luck, Slants!