'Caucasians' shirt, parody of Indians mascot, a hit in Canada

DJ NDN (right) sports a

DJ NDN (right) sports a "Caucasians" shirt in this promotional photo of the Canadian hip hop trio A Tribe Called Red. (Files)

SPIRO PAPUCKOSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:12 PM ET

A Cleveland T-shirt company's cheeky answer to controversial team nicknames and imagery of Native Americans used in professional sports has gone viral.

Shelf Life Clothing Co., created by designer Brian Kirby, is selling a parody of the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo logo, creating a "Caucasians" line of shirts and hoodies that has become a hit north of the border in the last month.

"We have been selling a modest amount of shirts to Canada for years ... but nothing like the volume of the last month," Kirby told QMI Agency in an email interview Tuesday. "We are a mom and pop business, working day and night to make sure everyone who wants a shirt gets one."

The Indians and Atlanta Braves of MLB, and the National Football League's Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs have received criticism in the past from some native organizations over their continued use of their names, mascots and logos.

In June, Canadian hip hop trio A Tribe Called Red was accused of racism prior to their appearance at an Ottawa-area music festival after Ian Campeau, known as DJ NDN, stirred up controversy for wearing the "Caucasians" T-shirt in a promotional shot for the group.

"I'd say about a third of our sales since the story about A Tribe Called Red being boycotted for wearing the "racist shirt" broke have been to Canada," Kirby said.

As for why people have bought the tee, Kirby says some wear it with a reverse-racism attitude, while others feel being white and wearing it doesn't bother them one bit.

"I feel like DJ NDN's story about A Tribe Called Red being condemned for the "racist" shirt really fulfills the concept of the shirt when it was designed eight years ago -- holding up a mirror to those who wear an ethnic caricature on their shirt and not realizing how it is comically absurd in this day and age," Kirby said.

Kirby said he designed the shirt after moving to Cleveland from New York and noticing the cultural impact Chief Wahoo had on the community.

"I saw a double wide garage door with Wahoo's face two cars wide across it, and it struck a chord," he said.


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