Tragedy: Bomani Jones fails to offend anyone with 'Caucasians' jersey

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday April 11th, 2016

Not funny. Not clever. Not offensive. Not . . . anything, really.

The shirt could have said Italians, and instead of a dollar sign there could have been an Italian sausage, or a silencer, or a really emotional mother. I'm part Irish too. A four-leaf clover is too innocuous, so how about breathalyzer reading 0.23? I'd find either one funny, much funnier than someone's attempt to stereotype caucasians - and isn't the reason obvious? As crazy as it will drive liberals for you to say so, caucasians are actually a rather diverse bunch. The New Yorkers are nothing like the midwesterners, who are nothing like the southerners, and we all think the ones in California are crazy.

See? We can do it and it's no big deal because it's all in fun, which is why it never works when liberals try to make some sort of big point by turning the tables. You can't offend people who don't go around waiting to be offended, and that's why Bonami Jones found it easy enough to get media attention with his stunt on Mike & Mike, but got nowhere in his attempt to show white people how it feels to be offended:

Jones initially joked that he wore the Caucasians shirt because “it was clean.” However, he went on to say that he really likes the T-shirt and that he was trying to make a larger point about sports teams using Native American names and imagery.

“This is the same thing that goes on with the logo for the Cleveland Indians,” Bomani Jones told Qerim, referring to the design of his Caucasians T-shirt. “So to have a problem with this would be to have a problem with the Indians. But if you’re quiet about the Indians, but now you’ve got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection. I think that’s a fair thing.”

Jones is talking about Cleveland’s controversial logo, known as Chief Wahoo, which is a caricature of a Native American with bright red skin, a hooked nose, and a headband that holds a single feather. His shirt substitutes Caucasians for Indians in the same font and reworks the Chief Wahoo logo to have white skin, blond hair, and a dollar sign growing out of his head in lieu of the single feather.

Ha! See? Get it? White people! Obsessed with money! Unlike, er . . . no one. Anyway, the massive march of white people protesting this racist indignity starts never, and the public demands for an apology will begin as soon as the Cleveland Browns make it to the Super Bowl. Yes, this has people so upset that the makers of the shirt (which has actually been around for 10 years) are suddenly reaping a windfall:

Sales of `Caucasians' shirts, depicting the Cleveland Indians' team mascot as a caricature of a white person, skyrocketed one day after ESPN's Bomani Jones wore one on a show, the shirt's creator said Friday.

Brian Kirby, who runs Shelf Life Clothing Co., told The Associated Press that more than 2,000 shirts have been sold since Jones sported one on Thursday while co-hosting the network's ''Mike & Mike'' show. At one point, Kirby said, traffic to his website was so heavy that the site crashed, and his internet host dropped him.

''I haven't slept since Thursday at 5:45 a.m.,'' Kirby said.

The site, which offers the shirts for $22 each plus shipping and handling, has since been restored. The company typically sells around 7,000 shirts in a year, Kirby said.

I'm happy for Kirby and his company. They made the shirt as a joke and not in some sort of angry fit of activism. They may very well agree with Jones's view on the team names but I like people who have fun with their opinions rather than get all dour and irritated - even if I don't agree with them. I'd consider buying one but it looks too much like the real Indians logo for this Tigers fan to tolerate. (If Native Americans want to be offended by the Indians, their performance on the field is usually a better reason.)

The point here is not that minorities are easily offended whereas white people are not. Most minorities are not that easily offended by things like this. Only those who take their cues from race-mongers join in the knee-jerk indigation, but they make a lot of noise and give the news media and politicians an excuse to pretend there is widespread indigation about things that almost no one actually cares about.

I've said before that stereotypical humor is funny. Most people understand that it's all in fun and not intended to hurt. But we've reached the point everyone is terrified to employ it because of that tiny percentage of people who will not only take offense but make a federal case (sometimes literally) out of it. We're all walking around terrified to say what almost no one has a problem with, because the few people who do will never shut up. What Bonami Jones did on ESPN unwittingly proved this. Try to offend people who don't have professional offense-mongers waiting to cue them to anger, and what you'll find is that most people are quite happy to laugh at themselves.

Although it's easier to do that when the joke is actually funny.

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