2000 - California DMV Cancellation of "Redskin" License Plate

Go to the printable text version


3. Neither the Department nor respondent can represent a precise date upon which the Department first issued the subject license plates to respondent. However, respondent contends that the Department issued him the plates before he was married which indicates a date at least twenty years ago in 1980.

4. The Department's records do not show on the application for the plates, the meaning, for the letter figuration of "RDSKINS" as intended by respondent.

5. Respondent George Correa explains he has been an avid and faithful supporter of the National Football League professional football team in Washington, D.C. that is known as the Washington Redskins. He attaches no racial connotation to the plates.

6. Respondent has not had any Intent in using an offensive or vile term in connection with the license plates.

7. The Department's policy making personnel have determined that the letter configuration of "RDSKINS," or any similar lettering that conveyed the term "redskins," was inappropriate for placement on environmental license plates issued by the Department to owners of automobiles registered in California.

8. Mr. Eugene Herrod ("Mr. Herrod'), the sole witness called by Complainant declares that the word "redskins" has an emotionally distressing affect upon him as a Native American. Mr. Herrod's perspective is that the word has a negative racial connotation that amounts to a racial slur or epithet.'

Mr. Herrod is a "full blood" Muscogee-Creek Indian of Oklahoma. He is active in Native American affairs, which includes his membership on the Board of Directors of Southern California Indian Center, Inc.' Mr. Herrod is fluent in the Muscogee-Creek

1 "American society remains deeply afflicted by racism. Long before slavery the mainstay of the plantation society of the antebellum South, Anglo-Saxon attitudes of racial superiority left their stamp on the developing culture of colonial America. Today, over a century after the abolition of slavery, many citizens suffer from discriminatory attitudes and practices, infecting our economic system, our cultural and political institutions, and the daily interactions of individuals. The idea that color is a badge of inferiority and a justification for the denial of opportunity and equal treatment is deeply ingrained. [P] The racial insult remains one of the most pervasive channels through which discriminatory attitudes are imparted. Such language injures the dignity and self-regard of the person to whom it is addressed, communicating the message that distinctions of race are distinctions of merit, dignity, status, and personhood. Not only does the listener learn and internalize the messages contained in racial insults, these messages color our society's institutions and are transmitted to succeeding generations." Delgado, "Words That Wound: A Tort Action for Racial Insults, Epithets, and Name-Calling," (1982) 17 Harvard Civil Right-Civil Liberties Law Review 133, 135-136.

2 Mr. Herrod represents that the Southern California Indian Center is "probably the oldest and largest" social service American Indian organization in Southern California. He asserts that the corporation serves the needs of more than 80,000 Native Americans in Southern California.


 Page - Decision 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Return to DMV Complaint Guidelines
Return to American Indian Sports Team Mascots homepage