Is This Shirt Racist? Petition Calls For a Boycott of Band Who Made It

Activism, Indigenous Peoples, Race and Ethnicity, Racism and Hate Groups

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A t-shirt parodying the popular Cleveland Indians mascot is coming under a lot of fire since its creators have recently debuted them. Musician Ian Campeau, who is known as Deejay NDN of the group A Tribe Called Red, is an outspoken cultural critic, who has taken aim at the so-called “Chief Wahoo” mascot.

Deejay NDN is the official mouthpiece of the musical trio and a self-described social media agitator. Far from being ineffective, Campeau’s efforts have been instrumental in getting the Nepean Redskins football club to change its name. Since his campaign launched, they decided to change their name to the Nepean Eagles.

Tackling racist sports mascots happens to be one of his favorite topics to address. Recently, in an Instagram post, he shared a note that was apparently written to the organizers of a music and arts festival called Westfest, set to be held on June 13-15 in Ottawa’s Westboro Village.

His group, A Tribe Called Red has been scheduled to Sunday night’s final set. Campeau explained, “we’re supposed to play Westfest next Sunday. The organizers have been receiving thinly-veiled threatening emails in protest to me performing. Here’s one of them. This is my hometown. So disappointing.”

Those threatening letters sent to the organizers of the event claim that the musicians are “divisive” and that Campeau is a “racist hypocrite” for notoriously wearing a “racist t-shirt”, mocking the Cleveland Indian’s mascot. Now, there is actually a call for a boycott…

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Campeau’s “Caucasians” t-shirt design is sold by Shelf Life Clothing (if you’re interested), and features a European version of the controversial Chief Wahoo image that needs no introduction to sports fans.

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What do you think? Is the t-shirt racist? Or is it highlighting American hypocrisy and racism?

(Article by Mike Ahnigilahi; images via Indian Country Today)

4 Comments

  1. To the extent that the logo/shirt could be seen as racist by a majority of white people who care about such things, yes the image is racist. I’d be on safe ground to suggest that its designers intended it to be that way. You can’t see the caucasian logo as racist without seeing the Cincinnati or Washington NFL logos as equally racist. I think it was a brilliant use of symbolism. More’s the pity that the intended audience won’t get it.

  2. I find it very odd that this person so upset about the bands’ activism wants to boycott because of them, but not because of the “alcohol and other aggressive behavior inducing intoxicants” they claim to be often consumed at the fest. So, edgy Native American Satire is unacceptable but Alcohol,aggressive behavior and other intoxicants aren’t worth a 2nd thought. Sounds like the biased rants of a bigot intended only to try to “stir the pot” and incite others, to me and not worth what’s left on the spoon afterwards.

  3. It’s clearly meant to be political satire, and those who protest the t-shirt for being ‘racist’, are being disingenuous or ignorant and, ironically, are defending the true racism of the target of the satire.

  4. white people aren’t oppressed….so how can it be racist?

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