Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month, folks are looking to trademark one of the most racially charged words and symbols in America — yes the N-word and even the swastika are up for grabs.
In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to get rid of a federal law that prohibited disparaging trademarks. The court stated that the law violated free speech under the U.S. Constitution. Now, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), there have already been seven trademark applications filed for the N-word.
One White man, Steve Maynard of Virginia, helps people obtain trademarks and he’s already put one application in for the N-word. His company Snowflake Enterprises has submitted applications to trademark a version of the N-word that could appear on hard liquor, clothing and beer. In short, he intends to turn the word into a brand.
Maynard even detailed one item showcasing a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with the N-word and a question mark underneath it. Of course, Maynard argues that he’s “not at all” racist. “We want to desensitize it, we want to provoke questions, we want to spark conversation and not suppress,” Maynard told WUSA9. He chose to remain anonymous in the video since he was getting death threats from White supremacists for also planning to trademark the swastika.
“We’re now opening the door, chipping away at what’s acceptable under cultural norms,” said Attorney David Bell, a trademark expert. “I think it could be a slippery slope, where you get more people and companies thinking, ‘This is okay.’”