Bomani Jones's shirt satirizing the use of Native American ethnic groups as mascots sparks outrage among White social media users.
The tables have turned: sports journalist Bomani Jones sent ESPN and white social media into a frenzy when he donned a brilliant T-shirt for his guest-hosting on the show “Mike & Mike”, mocking the offensive habit of American sports teams to use ethnic minorities as mascots.
Jones’ shirt was in the style of the Cleveland Indians logo, with the team name reading “Caucasians” instead, complete with the Chief Wahoo mascot replaced with a blond white character who has a dollar sign sticking out from his head, rather than a feather.
Inevitably, Caucasian naysayers took to social media to slam Jones for his wardrobe choice. As Twitter user Justin DePrimo tweeted, “What happens if @Espngreeny wore an “African Americans” shirt on the air?” Jones clapped back with, “or…Indians?” This tweet was one of many hating on Jones’s shirt, all of which he was quick to retort.
His point is obvious, given that Native Americans have consistently been subjected to their culture being exploited for the benefit of multi-million dollar corporations. The outrage expressed by predominantly white individuals about a satirical shirt is ironic when considering that they seem to have no issue with teams like Cleveland’s continued use of Native American ethnic groups as mascots.
Sources revealed to TMZ Sports that “ESPN freaked out”, requesting that Jones hide the graphic by zipping up the front of his jacket to obscure the image. According to TMZ, ESPN stated that “As the show progressed, we felt Bomani had made his point and had openly discussed why he was wearing the shirt, and we wanted to keep the focus to the topics of the day.”
In a later interview with ESPN host Molly Qerim, Jones joked that the reasoning for his outfit choice was because “it was clean.” He continued on to say, “I really like the shirt. I think it’s funny, it’s like the Cleveland Indians shirt. Exactly the same as the Cleveland Indians shirt with just one small change. That’s it.”
Jones furthered his stance by arguing that the money sign behind the character’s head was the most telling, calling it “very helpful because people will buy this stuff. The reason they won’t get rid of Chief Wahoo – it’s completely indefensible – is because they can still sell stuff with it.”
“This is the same thing that goes on with the logo for the Cleveland Indians, right? So to have a problem with the logo of this would be to have a problem with the Indians,” he continued.
“But if you’re quiet about the Indians and now you got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection.” – Bomani Jones
Jones’s parallel between his shirt and the actual mascot of Cleveland’s team demands attention to the problematic double standard that race often provokes in our country. His opinions, while slammed by the typical offended white population, were championed by other social media respondents who expressed overwhelming support of Jones’s statement.
Was Jones’s satirical shirt justified? Please comment, like, and share!
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