Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Republican Racism Example #30: Products For the Fashion-Conscious GOP Bigot

A central thesis of this blog is that, while white racism never disappeared as a result of the African American, Latino and other civil rights movements from the 1930s to the 1970s, for a time many racists shied away from open public displays of white supremacist thinking.  The use of crude words like “nigger” sadly remained in the American vocabulary, but those who used such terms outside of the confines of home were socially marginalized.  No more.

Another argument I make in this blog is that the Republican Party, particularly since the Nixon era, has actively sought support from racists, and fed their anti-black, anti-Latino, and anti-Arab resentments, to the point that bigots are now proudly out of closet. 

You need no further proof than to scan the online wares offered by CaféPress and Zazzle.  Such websites sell bumperstickers, t-shirts, buttons and other products produced by smaller vendors.  The fashion-conscious Republican racist can now buy a full line of bigoted anti-Obama and anti-immigrant swag from such businesses.  CafePress has had an “anti-Mexico” gifts section at its website.  At Zazzle, vendors have sold an array of anti-Obama products with a similar logo: the date 2012 with a slash over the iconic Obama sunrise design from the 2008 campaign and the intentionally misspelled slogan “Don’t Renig.”  This, apparently, is an attempt at humor, an effort by bigots to encourage each other to not let the “nigger” president serve another term.

A pair of racist anti-Obama t-shirt and button designs available on the web.  (The top picture comes from the Eclectablog site at  The bottom picture comes from the website of the online store Bash'em Enterprises at

In the anti-Mexico page at CaféPress, customers can get t-shirts, hoodies and other clothing items that feature one logo that has a caricature of Obama dressed as a bandito (replete with sombrero.) Above Obama’s head is the phrase echoing a line from the Humphrey Bogart movie Treasure of Sierra Madre:  “Obam-igration Papers?  You don’t need no stinkin’ papers!”

A t-shirt you could get from the "Anti-Mexico" catalog at CaféPress.  (Image from the Latino Rebels website at 
Another anti-immigrant logo depicts Uncle Sam in a sombrero in front of the colors of the Mexican flag and flanked by crude drawings of an angry Arab and a bearded, leering Latino.  One hoodie sold at CaféPress encourages violence against undocumented workers.  On it, the slogan “Secure the Border” surrounds an automatic rifle.  CaféPress at one point said it would remove the products but the items remained available for sale this week.

Two more t-shirt and hoodie designs available from CaféPress.  (Image from Latino Rebels at 

Lest one mistakenly believe that these items are just bought by Klansmen who laugh at the simple-minded intolerance in the privacy of their homes, the “ReNig” bumpersticker has been photographed proudly displayed across the country.  Here are three examples:

The "Don't Re-Nig" stickers have been more popular than a decent person would hope. (Images from

Any shame that might have been temporarily attached to public racism has faded.  Thanks to Birtherism, the routine demonizing of undocumented workers, and the frequent dehumanizing of all Muslims as terrorists by politicians, hate radio and Fox News, the N-word and other racial  slurs have safely returned to public discourse.  We have Sarah Palin, Peter King, Tom Tancredo, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and other Republican racism enablers to thank for this giant leap backwards.

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

No comments:

Post a Comment