The Band Who Must Not Be Named

The Band Who Must Not Be Named

Simon Tam and the Fight for Free Speech

Panels Displayed in Dining Room

Simon Tam founded the first all Asian American rock band. He named it The Slants, which is a derogatory racial slur to those of Asian descent, but Tam sought to reappropriate it as a term of pride for his community. However, when he tried to trademark the name, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied his application, claiming the term was “disparaging” as it was associated with Asian Americans. Tam felt that the USPTO claimed that The Slants were “too Asian” for the name.

Through a series of panels and objects (on loan from Simon Tam), this exhibit shares Tam’s journey to the Supreme Court and his battle for free speech.

“Fighting for change always requires us to be rooted in love and compassion so that we don’t lose ourselves in the process. Apathy is not compatible with love.”

-Simon Tam