October 26, 2012

Flo Rida's stereotypical football uniforms

Rapper Flo Rida Donates Innovatively Offensive Indian-Themed UniformsUse of American Indian characters and imagery by sports teams is an issue we’ve discussed quite a lot here—but today we have news of an unusual side skirmish in the war against them. Hip hop star Flo Rida has given his high school, Miami-Carol City, a set of new football uniforms, and the Internet is offering its opinion:

Ugliest. Uniforms. Ever.

The outfits to be worn by the Carol City Chiefs starting with the 2013 football season feature a design on the helmet that resembles a sacred feather headdress and an Indian head logo on the, er, front of the pants. You could say the crotch. Many have.

And for those of you keeping track, the Indian head in this case is the noble, stoic kind (à la Washington Redskins, University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, and Florida State Seminoles) and not the cartoony kind (still going strong in Cleveland).
Comment:  The uniforms certainly are ugly. And the headdress on the helmet and the chief on the pants are horribly stereotypical. The school should discard them as soon as possible.

But I think the designer could make this uniform into something acceptable. Design-wise, the helmet isn't bad. If you turned the feathers into abstract streaks, like tiger stripes, I think the black-and-orange color scheme would work.

The biggest problem is the pants. If the designer turned the grotesque chief into another abstract stripe-like pattern, it might work. Do that and get rid of the clashing colors (white, gold, copper, two shades of orange, brown, etc.) too. Make the rest of the uniform a simple black and orange with white trim, as in the first uniform.

For more on Indian mascots, see Research Proves Mascots Are Harmful and 1491s on Redface and Blackface.

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