Gosh, it's almost like someone is missing part of the context that makes something racist.
- Offensive. It doesn't need to be offensive. Anything can be offensive, but that's one strike against it if it is.
- Denigrating, Othering, Isolating. Instead, it could denigrate or be used in a way denigrating a group (in this case the group is 'race' but since 'race' isn't a real thing, it's hard to define. It totally can be racist against people not of that race or religion, depending upon how it was applied.)
- And that group or race needs to be damaged by it - usually by already being downtrodden. Punching down is racist, punching up is humor.
You know what the major difference between Native Americans who live on reservations or registered with tribes? Only 30% have health insurance. The median family income is 40% less than the median American. They can't get home loans - no, really, they can't, because banks often cannot or will not apply for custodianship of their homes. They suffer unemployment, dispossession, and yes, racial bias as well as denigration of their traditions and images. (I'm rounding here, btw.)
You can look this up. It's pretty simple why you might ask those who suffer instead of those who don't.
So...we should what, only poll those who don't have health insurance and who have low incomes? Their opinions regarding what is offensive is more important than those in a different demographic?
I do not deny that discrimination exists, or that folks on reservations face challenges, but how does that make them the statistically important group to study about what a football team should be named?
Tyndmyr wrote:A word can totally be a slur in one context and not in another. That's remarkably normal, in fact.
Maybe if the word had a dual meaning, but that's not the case here. The court ruled that "redskin" was a slur when they named a football team that. It's also still currently a slur. No amount of white guys dressing up and yelling "REDSKIN" at a football game will make it ok.
Do you think that naming a team after a racial slur today would be wrong, but would somehow become not wrong 50 years from now when people identified that slur with a team? Actually, it doesn't really matter what you think, because the law is pretty clear that if you pick a disparaging name, we're not going to protect your right to its exclusive use.
Slurs are not fixed in stones. New ones arise, old ones lose their sting. Of COURSE a slur can be made ok. The question is how you do so.... Personally, I think that repeated use of it in the context of a slur probably makes it more offensive, and use of it in other contexts makes it more mundane. So, you shouldn't use such a term to refer to an individual(and certainly not in a derogatory fashion), but another use of the word may be fine.
As for your "the law totally justifies my moral stance" argument, uh...you realize that this is a split decision subject to an appeal, right? And the Redskins won the last appeal. Plus, legality isn't inherently moral anyway. Relying on copyright law for morality seems...dubious. Have fun defending the RIAA and company.
Tyndmyr wrote:These are different groups of people being polled. The second set is a significantly smaller subset of the first set. I do not contest that if you slice subsets small enough, and are permitted to pick any subset you choose, you will eventually find one that finds the term offensive.
So you admit that a large group of people find the term disparaging. That's it. That is the condition. That condition is met, so the United States Government need not defend the racist asshat who owns this team any more.
How did you go from "significantly smaller subset" to "large group"?
Look, you seem to think that ANY group with an opinion is enough reason for selective enforcement. That seems to remove enforcement altogether. Would it be valid to poll users of The Pirate Bay on if protected trademarks of major media labels are "offensive" and should be revoked? Why or why not? What result do you think such a standard would have?
Tyndmyr wrote:That's trivially true for essentially anything.
Oh, really? You find me a significantly large group of people who find the term "Seahawk" to be disparaging and I will write a legal brief in support of your lawsuit. I'll even pay for postage, because I like you.
I suspect it would be as simple as finding a group of fans of whatever sportsball team is in a rivalry or whatever with the Seahawks. Or perhaps PETA. Those guys seem to hate everything involving animals, and a seahawk is certainly that. They tried to rename fish "sea kittens".
People will do all kinds of stupid stuff. If your standard of "large" is entirely mutable, and can be any cherry picked subpopulation of whatever, you can get whatever result you want. There are pages devoted to hatred of anything you can imagine hating on the internet, and probably to many things it's never even occured to you to consider hating.