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'Caucasians' tee mocks Cleveland Indians, becomes popular on reservations
CLEVELAND (Derek Drake) -- A number of sports teams are facing opposition from those who consider their team name, logo or mascot to be "racist."
One of those teams is the Cleveland Indians and their use of the logo named "Chief Wahoo."
Many believe the cartoon character is racist in it's stereotypical depiction of Native Americans in caricature form.
For one t-shirt company in Cleveland, one of their hot items is a t-shirt that changes out the script "Cleveland" for "Caucasians" replacing the red-faced "Chief Wahoo" with a white-skinned, blonde hair version with a different nose and replaces the feather with a dollar sign.
DJ NDN, born Ian Campeau, of "A Tribe Called Red" was accused of racism when he wore one of the shirts during a show last month in Canada. Campeau is also known for his human rights complaint that lead to the changing of Canadian football team Nepean Redskins to the Nepean Eagles.
"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," Tracy Bomberry told The Star.
After the controversy surrounding Campeau's wearing of the shirt, Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland told The Star that sales have "skyrocketed" even though the shirt has been his most popular since he began making them in 2007. With 25 percent of his recent sales going to Canada, they're becoming very popular on reservations.
"We have had over 3,000 shares on posts about the tee in the last month," Kirby told The Star. "We're working around the clock to keep up."
Kirby also said orders are coming in for the shirt from all around the world, but not all who are buying them share the same views.
"We are selling tees to a wide range of customers indigenous peoples and Chief Wahoo supporters alike," Kirby said. "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!"
Over the past few years, the Cleveland Indians have been deemphasizing the use of "Chief Wahoo" replacing it with a block "C" on many items. But the controversial caricature still lives on at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, or wherever the Indians may play on the road.
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