September 06, 2011

TeePee Games responds to criticism

After I and others began sharing the link to the racist TeePee Games website last night, the controversy exploded. Thousands of Facebook users must've seen the site, and some wrote to the company.

One of them posted a response from TeePee Games about five hours after the controversy erupted. She writes:I did contact them and heard back already. They are surprised at the feedback they are receiving claiming they ran their ideas by Native Americans who said they were not offended by the caricature or terminology they used. (uh huh) Regardless they are taking it down.The actual TeePee Games response:Thank you for your email and we warmly welcome the feedback you've taken the trouble to share with us. We had not expected this type of reaction, in fact we have spoken to Native Americans about our branding and they could not have been more positive.

We're a company based on the United Kingdom where we pride ourselves on multi-cultural ethnic diversity, it would never be our intention of offend any culture, not least native American Indians.

The theme we chose for our product and its launch was, frankly, a caricature of the Native American theme that we learned about from cartoons and movies during our childhoods. We selected a cartoon artwork style and enjoy the references in context of our product. We are certainly not setting out to make any political or cultural statement.

As our pictures have caused offence we will be removing them and any offending terminology from the web site. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Comment:  Looks like they sent everyone the same response.

They've temporarily taken the offensive "management team" page offline. The less offensive but still stereotypical "about us" page is still there. And of course they're unlikely to abandon the whole "TeePee Games" concept.

I've love to hear what the "Native Americans" they consulted had to say. Were these people genuinely enthusiastic about the stereotypes? Or were they being polite while masking their true feelings? Were they even real Natives?

Repeating racism is still racism

To note the obvious, reusing racist caricatures and calling them caricatures doesn't change the inherent racism. Duh.

This is a good example of the hipster racism mentality. It goes something like this:

"Other people are racist, but we're just using the stereotypes to make fun of their racism. Our actions are indistinguishable from theirs, but our motivations are totally different. We're not racists us!"

Note the magical power of intent at play. Again, it goes something like this:

"We were just spoofing old cartoons. We never intended to offend anyone. Therefore, we don't have to think about the consequences of our actions. Our pure motives are their own justification for the results."

Sheesh. For more on the subject, see The Dudesons, Polish Jokes, and Minstrel Shows and Okay to Stereotype in "Satires"?

Below:  The Dudesons say, "We're not racists ourselves. We're just mocking other people's racism."

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