The Slants: Fighting For The Right To Rock A Racial Slur

Published in KUOW.org on

Litigation Director Cecelia Chang and Simon Tam explain different perspectives in the Lee v. Tam case on federal trademark law.

Cecelia Chang, legal director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), said that the uptick in racially and religiously motivated hate crimes over the last year underscores what's at stake.

"There's a real world cost to normalizing that kind of speech, particularly in a country of immigrants," she said.

In an amicus brief she filed on behalf of AAJC, which supports neither party, Chang acknowledged that many of the people behind the brief are fans of The Slants and generally "support efforts to reclaim and re-appropriate derogatory terms, but believe that socially progressive reclamation movements are not an excuse to open federal trademark registration to vile epithets and hateful marks."

The justices are expected to issue a ruling by June.