What’s In A Name?


What’s the big deal? I mean it’s ok because we use slang all the time, right? Wrong. The name “Redskin” is not just the name of the Washington, D.C. football team. If you Google this term, you will find the following definition: “Redskin” is a term for Native Americans. Its connotations are a subject of debate, although the term is defined in current dictionaries of American English as ‘usually offensive’, ‘disparaging’, ‘insulting’, and ‘taboo.'”

What’s the big deal? Names are emblematic and expressive, symbolic and even sacred. How so? Just read your Bible. Every name in Scripture means something, and no name was given to mean nothing. Moses means drawn out of the water, a name representing how Pharaoh’s daughter found the babe in the ark on the River Nile. Elijah means “the Lord is my God,” a name reprimanding Israel for worshiping the false god Baal. And Jesus means Jehovah is salvation. Another name for our Lord is Immanuel, which means God with us.

So what’s the big deal? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark. Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups. Here’s a look at the Redskins’ logo and team imagery throughout the years.


Robert Raskopf, a lawyer who has been representing the team since the 1992 case was filed, was not concerned about the ruling. He noted that Wednesday’s decision came from a divided panel of judges, with one of the three dissenting, and that the earlier case was won on appeal. In that case, the court did not rule on the merits of the case but ultimately said the plaintiffs did not have standing to file it.
(Tom LeGro and Natalie Jennings / The Washington Post)

So what’s the big deal? In our polemically, politically correct culture, if you offend one, you offend all. It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but the hopefully innocently yet to some harmfully and improperly chosen name means more than just a mascot and is more than just a moniker for a football team. On the other hand, Dan Snyder, the Redskins owner, is adamant that the name is not going to be changed. In fact, this whole U.S. Patent Office thing has happened before, and been overturned.

So, what do you think? Should the Washington Redskins change their name? Or is this whole name thing much ado about nothing? Come on; just think about it; other terms that have offended the least amongst us have been changed recently. The Redskins name may not have been any big deal in the past, but it sure has become a big deal now.

One thought on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Very well put; I do believe that when we offend one – we offend all…

    Kenneth C. Wright
    CPHD Zoning Inspections Supervisor

    This E-mail and any of its attachments may contain Arlington’s County DCPHD proprietary information, which is privileged and confidential. This E-mail is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this E-mail, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this E-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the original and any copy of this E-mail and any printout.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s