“Caucasians” T-shirt That Mocks Cleveland Indians’ Wahoo a Best-Seller

 Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland designed the "Caucasians" logo T-shirt.
Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland designed the “Caucasians” logo T-shirt.


Source: Indian Country Today, 8/4/14


A new sports-logo T-shirt has become a hot seller in Canada and parts of the United States.

The words “Caucasians” with the image of a grinning caricature (reminiscent of the Indians’ Chief Wahoo) across the front hints at how offensive Native mascots on professional sports teams can be. The Toronto Star reported that it is a “hot fashion item” in the Ontario First Nations community.

“People’s reaction has been all positive and they see the humour in it both on and off the reserve,” Tracy Bomberry, Six Nations of the the Grand River, told the Star.

Her inspiration to wear the shirt came after learning that Ojibwa singer Ian Campeau, aka, DJ NDN of A Tribe Called Red was accused of being a “racist hypocrite” for wearing one, the paper said.

Campeau from A Tribe Called Red wears the "Caucasians" T-shirt.  (cbc.ca)
Campeau from A Tribe Called Red wears the “Caucasians” T-shirt. (cbc.ca)


According to MetroNews.Ca, an email was sent anonymously to Westfest, a popular music festival in Ottawa, Canada, where Tribe Called Red was scheduled to perform. The individual who sent the email threatened to boycott the concert because Campeau was spotted wearing the T-shirt.

“I thought how hypocritical that he would be accused of racism for wearing a shirt that turns the tables in a satirical way of how our image as native people has been misappropriated by the Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins and the like,” Bomberry said.

Campeau, his band, and staff members of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), including First Nations Chief, Shawn Atleo, filed a lawsuit to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario claiming that the Amateaur football team, the Nepean Redskins, use of the R-word was racially discriminatory, and sought to quell its use. The tribunal dismissed the complaint in March, but the team changed its name to the Nepean Eagles.

Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland said that the interest in the T-shirt “skyrocketed” after the Campeau controversy. “We have been selling a modest amount of shirts to Canada for years … but nothing like the volume of the last month,” Kirby told QMI Agency in an email interview Tuesday. “We are a mom and pop business, working day and night to make sure everyone who wants a shirt gets one.”

RELATED: Cleveland Indians Slowly Phasing out Chief Wahoo

Kirby noticed the cultural effect of the Chief Wahoo logo in the Native community after moving to Cleveland from New York. He said that the overall interpretation of the shirt shifts. “Interpretation of the shirt ranges from a ‘reverse racism,’ ‘see how YOU like it’ intent, to a ‘see, I’m white and it doesn’t bother me to be caricatured!’ attitude,” Kirby told the Star.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/08/04/caucasians-t-shirt-mocks-cleveland-indians-wahoo-best-seller-156210

‘SCALP EM!’ Racist T-shirt for Sale After Florida State BCS Victory

Simon Moya-Smith, 1/14/14, Indian Country Today Media Network

Unauthorized fan merchandise surfaced on the web recently after the Florida State University Seminoles defeated the Auburn University Tigers at the BCS Championship last week.

Among the bevy of fan merch, one specific T-shirt has FSU officials rushing to see that it is discontinued.

The T-shirt, marketed as a “Florida State University 2013 National Champs Vintage Tee,” and manufactured by RowdyGentlemen.com, has the words, ‘SCALP ‘EM!,’ emblazoned across the chest. Below the text is an arrow and tomahawk.

Liz Maryanski, vice president for university relations, told Indian Country Today that on January 10, FSU officials began measures for an “emergency cease and desist” of all sales of the offensive T-shirt.

“We would never license that shirt,” Maryanski said. “That term is extremely derogatory and it’s offensive.”

Maryanski said that during such infringement issues, FSU employs a third party company, Collegiate Licensing, to address the matter. The company will then contact the unlicensed vendor directly, she said.

“Generally, they act very quickly,” she said.

Maryanski said that even if infringement were not an issue, FSU would work diligently to see that the T-shirt is eliminated.

“This is an infringement issue, but even it wasn’t, we would do everything in our power to shut it down,” she said.

Maryanski also said that FSU is “honored” to be able to use the Seminole name and is “very protective” of it.

RELATED Why Jim Warne Will Be Pressing Mute Button During Tonight’s BCS Game

Gary Bitner, spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, told Indian Country Today that the tribe is confident that FSU will make sure the shirt is discontinued.

“They (FSU) move quickly and effectively to do what needs to be done,” Bitner said, adding that the tee is a “terrible shirt.”

“It’s too bad that in 2014 we still see this kind of image and stereotypical presentation,” he said.

The Seminole Tribe’s Tribal Council authorized FSU to use its name and symbols and has an ongoing relationship with the university, Bitner said.

“The relationship between Florida State and the Seminole Tribe is one of mutual respect,” he said.

As of January 13, the T-shirt has not been taken down from the website and is still for sale.

Representatives of RowdyGentlemen.com did not respond to Indian Country Today’s request for comment.

An undefeated FSU beat Auburn 34-31 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on January 6.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/14/scalp-em-racist-t-shirt-surfaces-following-florida-state-bcs-victory-153092