Topic | civil rights

Racism With a Twist: The Trademark Struggle Facing Asian American Band, The Slants

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Four years ago, my band’s attorney suggested that we get a trademark on our band’s name. It’s pretty standard for bands to do – trademarks ensure that others don’t use the name, causing confusion in the marketplace. The job of the Trademark Office is to regulate the intellectual properties of businesses and artists. I never […]

A New Slant on Hate Speech

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office is refusing trademark protection to a Portland, Oregon based rock band called The Slants. Apparently, they believe the name the band is seeking to protect is disparaging to Asians. When I first heard about this I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand, it seems like a […]

Why for Some, SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Ruling Just Doesn’t Feel Right

While most of LGBT America celebrates the legal defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act, some of us are finding this moment bittersweet. We recognize the decision is a real and meaningful victory, but we’re worried about what this victory means for those of us who wish to exercise the right not to marry, and […]

Why I Support Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Right, But Not as a Strategy to Achieve Structural Change

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The pending Supreme Court decisions concerning the constitutionality of California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act have pushed discussion of same-sex marriage into the mainstream of the news cycle, with many civil rights advocates convinced that regardless of the court’s decision, eventual victory is a done deal. I don’t disagree. I’ve also argued […]

The Durability of Race

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the death of racism. Many believe that as the global demographics change and Generation Y rises, racism will fade in significance. Some even suggest that what we are witnessing in the Obama backlash is just death throes. That argument ignores history. Here’s what I mean. Neither the […]

Why Immigrant Rights are Human Rights

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A few years ago, a former Mayor of Portland, Oregon asked me the question “why are immigrant rights human rights?” I responded with a clumsy jumble of words having something to do with the United Nations and about ten other things adding up to a total of about 11 too many ideas all poorly articulated. […]