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Lena Rothman

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I would like a conversation that includes class and racial experiences related to shame.In particular owning/admitting privilege and how to

I am not bringing up this topic to shame anyone or make anyone feel guilty. Brene Brown did mention how having privilege makes one feel guilty and maybe ashamed. When I have asked someone of a higher class to talk about class as privilege I am often met with anger and defensiveness and although I am not the one with that particular privilege I often times am made to feel guilty for bringing it up. I have white skin privilege and know I have done the same to people of color in the past.I am beginning to see that there is a triad to be built here maybe we need to add denial into this discussion of shame and vulnerability.Or how does shame,guilt and denial keep us from connecting with one another?

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    Apr 2 2012: Hi Lena,

    I'd like to offer a very real experience of how this concept of shame/privilege has affected me (and many other minorities) here in the United States.

    The quick version: I manage and perform in an all-Asian American band called The Slants that works to empower communities of color through re-appropriation, addressing stereotypes, and creating discussions around race. We perform/speak at schools, Asian festivals around the world, and have even gone into state prisons to perform and talk to white supremacy groups hurting other people of color behind bars. When we filed for a trademark on our name though, the U.S Trademark Office denied our application, saying our name was offensive to people of Asian descent. Despite giving them evidence such as multiple examples of other Asians using the term "slant" in a positive, self-referential manner, lifelong Asian activists writing in support, and doing a national survey which showed that the overwhelming majority of Asian Americans in the U.S supported our use, the Office continued its denial. No people of color were involved in the decision at all.

    The full story can be read here: http://www.oregonlive.com/music/index.ssf/2011/03/portland_band_the_slants_and_t.html

    It seems to me that the idea of "shame" over our own country's spotted history in terms of dealing with race overpowered reason by creating disservice to the very groups they said they were protecting. Multiple other communities of color were rejected for the same reason (can't trademark "disparaging" terms). However, the Trademark office protects terms like "Kracker" (referring to whites), "Redneck," and "white trash," even if they're being used in ways other than self-pride/empowerment.

    Strange indeed!
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      Apr 3 2012: Hi Simon,
      Thanks for including the link to the article about your band! I'm going to read it tomorrow (gotta hit the sack soon) when I'll have more neurons awake to do the job with...

      My first take is that it sounds like a great, bold, and worthwhile project. Your reference to this country's 'spotted history in terms of dealing with race' was put a lot more diplomatically than I'd have said it...

      more later!
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      Apr 3 2012: Good morning, Simon...
      What the....? I read the article about your band's trying to trademark your name. The government's response is just...well, lame, IMHO.

      Listened to your songs too - I like. I drive up to Portland & Seattle from No. CA a few times a year. I'm hoping the next time I come through there your band will have a gig so I can see you guys live.

      Here's a couple of ideas just off the top of my head...how about trademarking: "The Band Formerly Known as The Slants" (stealing a page from Prince). Or maybe: "Slant_: The Band That Dare Not State It's Name?"...or "Slantz".... well, you've probably thought of all these already...

      Anyway, much success to you guys. Simon, I hope to hear more of your thoughts here...
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        Apr 3 2012: Hi Sandy,

        We're kind of in a long line of groups who've been dealing with this issue. For us, it became something much bigger than just protecting our band's name; if we win the trademark, we'll ultimately have the opportunity to turn the tide for all minority groups that want to re-appropriate terms. It's been an interesting few years and we're still fighting it!

        If you don't come up here, I'm sure we'll be down there in the near future. We tour quite a bit so we're all over the place :)
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          Apr 4 2012: Hey Simon,
          I see your point about your case being a groundbreaking one, with positive results for a lot of folks. It sounds like you haven't given up the fight, to which I say, right on!

          Let me know if you guys ever play in the Medford/Ashland area, or maybe Redding...those are the closest places to Mt. Shasta (where I live) that would have a venue your band might play in. We used to have a cool little music venue here that attracted bands from here & there, but alas, it went bankrupt...
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        Apr 4 2012: We have been planning to play in Medford at Johnny B's for some time now...the last time we scheduled a show, we were snowed in. But perhaps this summer when we come down the coast for our tour...

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