March 31, 2010

"Hanging" Louis Riel t-shirts offend Métis

Louis Riel hanging T-shirts offend MétisManitoba Métis groups are outraged about T-shirts being sold online that feature an image of Louis Riel with a noose around his neck.

The image is accompanied by the text, "Hang with me on Louis Riel Day."

Louis Riel Day is a February holiday in Manitoba.

"I really feel disgusted when I see something like that," said Gabriel Dufault, president of the Franco-Métis Association in Manitoba. "It's obviously the work of one with a troubled mind.

"It's racist in nature and I don't see any humour in this at all."

Riel was a former MP and leader of the Métis people, and is considered the founder of the province of Manitoba.

He was hanged for treason in 1885 at the age of 41 after leading Métis resistance in Saskatchewan against the Canadian government.

Today, he is regarded as a folk hero by many for his defence of Métis rights and culture.
Comment:  Some online commenters questioned Dufault's reaction to the shirts:We have seen t-shirts depicting the pope, presidents, prime ministers, etc. just as offensive sold on-line.

I could see how someone could deem it in poor taste or even 'offensive' (a grossly overused term in its own right) but racist?

Don't agree or disagree with me: TELL me...HOW is it racist?
Show us the t-shirts featuring the pope, presidents, and prime ministers being hanged. Until you do, this shirt singles out a Métis person because of his race-based actions. That makes it discriminatory on the basis of race, or racist.

For more on offensive shirts, see Lucky Brand Sells "White Lightning" T-Shirt and Duluth Shop Sells "Drunk Indian" Shirts.


Rob said...

Someone on Facebook comments on the t-shirt:

WOW. F* those people! That's really, really nasty behavior. They knew exactly what they were doing.

I actually don't find it particularly racist, just unbelievably callous. Idiots will try to make a buck off anything.

Rob said...

A noose image is generally racist in intent. For more on the subject, see Why Noose Images Are Racist.

Anonymous said...

Awesome shirt! I'm getting one!