Kade Ferris: "Siouxper Drunk" Tshirts Were Intentionally Offensive

As you may have seen, there is a new, brewing controversy at UND once again. This time the issue that has arisen is not as easily written off as a case of misunderstanding being perceived as racism, but rather it’s a case of some students using a purposely offensive meme (in this case a t-shirt design) to cause a stir that has offended the university’s Native American population and is now reverberating across the internet and the nation’s media.

First reported by the blog, Lastrealindians.com, some UND students posted a series of photo of themselves wearing t-shirts that carried the phrase “Siouxper Drunk.’’ Beneath it, a characterized Indian head that was similar to the retired Fighting Sioux logo was pictured drinking from a beer bong.

The outcry has started to make national news at this time.

While the first reaction of some is to call this an act of open racism, this may not be such an open and shut case. Instead, it seems that this is more of a case of some young adults purposely, yet carelessly using an apparent racial stereotype to make a splash in social media.

Almost as quickly as they posted the pictures they were taken down, but not before they were screen-captured and shared widely.

Before we jump to conclusions and lambast them in the court of public opinion as racists, a few questions should be answered.

First, it is apparent that they wanted to do this; they wanted to cause a stir. Why?

Second, what should be done about this by the University and by North Dakota? While these young adults do have the first amendment right to wear this shirt, they do need to understand that as adults there are often consequences for what you do or say.

What are your thoughts?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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