January 28, 2013

The Navajo Express logo

I've seen these Navajo trucks on the road before. When I saw one parked in my neighborhood, I got a close look at the girl on the logo. I decided to investigate.

On the trucks, the girl's image is small and located on the cab door. I'm not sure why the company doesn't make her image larger and more prominent. Perhaps because it's offensive?

Here's the closest closeup I could find of the girl. Note the blue eyes and the pale skin. She could be Navajo, but everything about her screams "Caucasian." I'd bet good money that she's a white girl dressed up as a phony Indian.

A little sleuthing reveals that her name is Becky and she's the daughter of company founder Don Digby. She posed for the photo when she was 14. Sure, Digby or his wife could be Navajo, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Becky is now Becky Digby-Mackintosh, married, in her mid-40s, and an executive vice president with the company. Her eyes appear to be brown, not blue.

Did Don Digby doctor the photo of his daughter to make her look even more white than she already was? Because the eyes do look unnaturally blue.

And why? Because the blue-eyed Caucasian ideal sells better than a brown-eyed Indian? Because a little boy might not want to kiss someone who looks too "ethnic"?

(Radmilla Cody, Navajo and African American, beautiful but not in a white/heartland/Leave It to Beaver way.)

We don't know Digby's motivation, but everything about this image seems racist.

The logo is a false and stereotypical representation of a Navajo girl. It contributes to the idea that anyone can be an Indian by dressing as one. It's obvious how a real Navajo girl who saw it would feel bad about not living up to the Becky "Navajo" standard of beauty.

If you feel like defending this logo as cute, fun, or harmless, don't bother. We've already been over this ground ad nauseam. You won't have anything to say that we haven't heard a thousand times.

Company name

The other curious thing is the company name. The logo says "Navajo" on the trucks and on the website. The company owns the domain name www.navajo.com. In the text it usually calls itself Navajo.

But in the site links and the formal text, it calls itself "Navajo Express," not "Navajo." And the company also owns the domain name www.navajoexpress.com. I'm wondering if the Digbys changed the name from Navajo to Navajo Express at some point. Perhaps because the Navajo Nation made noise about trademark infringement and domain-name theft.

Only a couple of sites have a logo that says "Navajo Express" instead of "Navajo." I don't think the "Navajo Express" logo is anywhere on the Navajo (Express) site. So the Digbys seem torn between Navajo (old, less legal name?) and Navajo Express (new, more legal name?).

If you search Google Images for "navajo express" or "navajo express truck," you'll see the "Navajo" logo outnumbers the "Navajo Express" logo by 50-1 or 100-1. It's more evidence that "Navajo" is the standard or preferred company name and "Navajo Express" is a latecomer.

A typical company founder would explain the origin of the company's name and logo on his website. He'd take pride in using his daughter as the model. But not Don Digby. There's nothing about the name or the logo on the site.

It seems the company is embarrassed by the logo (keeping it small) and the name (officially "Navajo Express" to avoid a lawsuit?). And it should be.

Clearly, the company should get rid of the racist logo as soon as possible. If it feels the need to use a female image, it can replace the white girl with any of the thousands of beautiful Navajo girls out there.

It wouldn't hurt to change the company name too, but I don't expect the Digbys to do that. I'd settle for banishing Becky the blue-eyed wannabe to the dustbin of company logos.

For more on stereotypical company logos, see Chief Firewater Surfboard Cleaner and Ecko's "Weekend Warrior" Line.


Unknown said...

You need to listenin to the folks in the white coats, take your medication and stay away from the transport industry.

pamela d said...

When does this stereotypical age stop, and people start accepting logo's, people and companies for what they are, good and trust fearing... this is a good lesson to all people that judge, there are always fingers pointed back at you, so if you judge be sure you are God.

Unknown said...

I think it's bullshit that everything a person do has to be "tiptoed" around as to not offend anyone! It is his company, his daughter, and his image. He should be able to do what he wants with it!

Sick of PC said...

Clearly, you should get a fkg life. Although I applaud you being a donor to Hairclub, we do NOT and I hope we NEVER live in a homogenous society where nobody is ever offended by anything. Find something more important to research instead of lighting fires where no fuel exists.

Unknown said...

Your an idiot! The person that didthe handpainted picture messed it up by putting blue eyes...becky doesn't have blue eyes but it was never changed because senior liked it...so it was and advertising slogan ...the blue eyed navajo.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this logo on trucks in the Denver area and it's so startling to me that I got on "the google". I could be wrong but it seems that this is a business that has been white/European owned and operated since it's inception in the 40s with two different owners. Both the original male Indian Image and this odd female image have very blue anglicized eyes. The image and the name sound like a co-opting and fetishizing of Native American culture dating back to the 40s when majority culture had no clue how offensive and exploitive this is. I am white/European but I find it offensive to have to see this weird image on trucks. I know at least two Dine/Navajo people who find it offensive and I'm surprised that no one has organized and protested. On the other hand- American Indian people face so much harassment from whites when they stand up for their rights in this way- maybe they don't want more aggravation. Unless the owners of this company are Dine and want to keep things as they are, I think the owners should do the right thing and put a stop to this racism and cultural appropriation that belongs in the past- though it really never belonged anywhere. If there is Navajo support, maybe protesting is a good job for some white people like myself.