Sometimes people crack me up. Particularly people who say things that make ne believe they think we’re stupid. Consider the folks at New Era Cap, the company that manufactured the caps that were yanked from stories in East Harlem yesterday after it was discovered the caps were decorated with colors and symbols that represented gangs. After agreeing to pull the caps from the shelves, the company released this statement: Recently it has been brought to our attention that some some combination of icons and colors on a select number of our caps could be too closely perceived to be in association with gangs…In response we, along with Major League Baseball, have pulled those caps.”
Excuse me while I catch my breath from laughter. This kills me. Maybe the smartest thing about the statement is that the company didn’t attribute it to anyone. Not CEO Christopher H. Koch. And not even the ubiquitous “spokesperson” that is usually thrown under the bus. Otherwise this is the most condescending bit of tripe I’ve read in awhile.
Anyone who has watched television, read a newspaper or magazine or been to the movies during the last, oh, 20 years, knows the red and blue bandanas, which were part of the decoration of the caps, represented the Bloods and Crips, the most notorious of the gangs that have terrorized our inner city youth. And let’s say not a single person at New Era had a clue about those gang symbols, the fact that the third cap was decorated with a crown symbol closely associated with another, less well-known gang, the Latin Kings, tells me this was no accident.
This was a blatent attempt by a company to pimp one of the most dangerous aspects of our communities for profit – pure and simple. And they almost got away with it. The caps were first brought to light by an article this week in the New York Post, which prompted local activists groups to picket the stores and call for the caps to be removed. The biggest concern was that an unsuspecting youth (thanks to the efforts of many the gangs have been somewhat diminished over the last decade) might by a cap and wear the wrong color or symbol into a neighrborhood and get cut or worse. “This was a clever design to get inner city youth wqho n=knew these colors and symbols.
It has recently come to our attention… Please. Don’t patronize us.
If no one at New Era was aware of the symbolism, then why were the caps available only in East Harlem and not, say, Salt Lake City?
So far, no nameless company official has responded.