On American television, Bomani Jones wore a T-shirt that said “Caucasians”. It had a cartoon picture of the grinning face of a White man with a dollar sign above his head. This was on ESPN on the “Mike & Mike” show on April 7th 2016.
ESPN “freaked out” and told him to cover it up. He met them half way and covered part of it.
On Twitter people said stuff like:
“@espn So when are you going to suspend racist @bomani_jones? Or is being a racial provocateur consistent with your “values?”#Never”
“I don’t blame Bomani for being a disgrace, I blame @espn for allowing it. @bomani_jones who hurt you? I’m serious, I don’t want ppl in pain.”
“@bomani_jones is a racist and should be fired @espn how does that go down if it’s a white guy with a “negros” shirt on? You guys are a joke.”
“@bomani_jones Your shirt is also racist,proving what? I don’t agree with Chief Wahoo, however, ALL races have worn him proudly. #Clueless”
“@espn @ESPNRadio @Espngreeny I refuse to watch M&M this morning cause of bomani’s shirt! Totally offensive! #AllLivesMatter #racist”
The T-shirt, designed ten years ago by Shelf Life Clothing Co., was modelled directly on T-shirts for the Cleveland Indians baseball team – but with the race changed. It uses a White American in place of Chief Wahoo, the team’s Native American mascot:
Jones on why he wore the T-shirt:
“The statement is obvious. This is the same thing. What we have here, this is the same thing that goes on with the logo for the Cleveland Indians. So to have a problem with the logo of this would be to have a problem with the Indians. But if you’re quiet about the Indians and now you’ve got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection.”
If he is racist for wearing a Caucasians T-shirt, then what does make those who wear Cleveland Indians T-shirts?
There are in fact already White mascots, like the New England Patriots, but they are by and for White people, they do not have racialized names, like “Whites” or “Caucasians” or “Europeans”, and their teams are not in states where White genocide has taken place.
Flipping the script does help some to see the racist double standards they have grown blind to. Unfortunately, it goes right over the heads of the very people most in need of getting the point.
Native Americans have been protesting Chief Wahoo every year since 1968.
The city government of Cleveland has recently banned Chief Wahoo’s image from its utility poles downtown.
Nike, which makes money selling sportswear featuring Chief Wahoo, sees little wrong with it.
The team itself has been moving towards using a “C” in place of Chief Wahoo since 2011, but baseball hats with Chief Wahoo’s image were a bestseller last year.
The owner, Paul Dolan, says there are:
“no plans to get rid of Chief Wahoo, it is part of our history and legacy”
sounding strangely like a Confederate flag waver.
Thanks to Mary Burrell for suggesting this post.
– Abagond, 2016.