Government says no to Asian-American band that wants to call itself ‘The Slants’

Government says no to Asian-American band that wants to call itself ‘The Slants’

The SlantsSome will see it as a victory for in the struggle to banish racially insensitive terms from the American vernacular. Others will see it as the latest example of the nation’s decline into a culture of humorless, thin-skinned automatons.

The Daily Caller reports:

A six-member, Portland, Ore. band composed entirely of Asian-Americans has been fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for over four years in an effort to trademark the band’s name — ‘The Slants.’

When the band first applied for the trademark in 2009, the PTO refused on the grounds that the name was offensive to Asians, citing two crowd-sourced reference sites — Wikipedia and the ever-colorful Urban Dictionary — in the denial.

Simon Tam, the group’s band manager and bassist, is quoted as saying, “We wanted to apply for the name on its own merit and see what the reaction would be.” The reaction was a flat refusal, predicated on the grounds that the word was a racial slur. That was back in 2009.

In the time since, Tam and company have tried every strategy they could to make the name seem palatable to the PC police, from enlisting the services of Duke University linguist to claiming it’s a “a reference to musical chords.” No dice.

The story calls to mind other recent victories/defeats, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. In September an employer was required to pay $280,000 in damages to a former black employee at whom he had directed the n-word. The fact that the boss was himself a man of color had no bearing on the outcome.

Meanwhile, those offended by the Washington Redskins team name and logo remain on the war path (oops, opposed), though principal owner Dan Snyder has said he won’t give in to demands that he change both.

As for The Slants, who refer to their style of music as “Chinatown Dance Rockm” they’re taking their case to federal court. “You shouldn’t be allowed to deny a right based on somebody’s race.”

Related Articles

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.