A T-shirt with, say, the word Redskins on it would not attract attention, but that’s not what happened when Frederick Joseph wore a T-shirt with the word Caucasians on it.
Joseph recently strolled through the streets of Manhattan in the shirt that shows a white man’s face above the word, Caucasians. Joseph’s social experiment ended with some hurling insults, others rolling eyes.
Joseph described his stroll through Manhattan on his Twitter account, “A white guy walking by mistook the shirt for an actual team shirt and yelled “Go Skins!” I said “nah,” he then saw my shirt and yelled “asshole!”
Joseph, age 29, owns his own marketing agency called We Have Stories. In June, he received a humanitarian award from Comic-Con for creating a national effort that raised enough money for 70,000 children to see the movie Black Panther.
Joseph described other reactions to his T-shirt on his Twitter account. “Next, an older white lady stopped me in the street and said, “Why would you wear that? It’s disrespectful!”
Joseph said, “So I asked her if she would have said the same if I had on the actual team shirt or another team using disrespectful branding. She said “no, because that’s the logo!”
As he strolled through Manhattan, Joseph said he ran into other reactions. “The third person or rather people was a group of white guys across the street and one pointed at me,” Joseph wrote on Twitter. “I can see from the corner of my eye that two of them were seemingly trying to come across the street and have a word with me.”
Finally, Joseph summed up his stroll through Manhattan. “Basically, I was being shamed as a black person for wearing a non-disrespectful shirt with a white person logo on it. But people wear apparel and jerseys with logos depicting things such as a Native American and call them “redskins”… whew chile, the hypocrisy, and privilege.”
Joseph said he did not worry about encountering physical violence during his stroll through Manhattan because he is 6-foot-2 “and a half.”
Like a yo-yo bounces up-and-down, the tone shifted from cautious to thoughtful on social media. For example, one man tweeted, “So my question is this: If a white person who is reading your thread and sees the point you are trying to make and agrees with the logic, buys the shirt and wears it, wouldn’t many call that person a racist or white supremecist or some other insult?”
Another tweet issued a warning, “Yeah I was about to say I’m too small to be wearing that shirt not trying to get my ass shot. But I love what you did.”
Another woman said, “I’m gonna wear mine to Thanksgiving & see if this is the year they stop calling me Pocahontas.”
But several social posts suggested Joseph’s experiment was nothing more than a publicity stunt. His alleged stroll through Manhattan was a ploy that aimed to market his 100 percent, pre-shrunk, cotton T-shirt, which sells online for $19.99.
One man tweeted, “None of this shit happened, especially the old lady part. Or, one person looked at you funny and you embellished the rest. That shirt’s hilarious and you’re lying to sell t-shirts/get clout.”
Still, others warned him to be careful. “Be safe out there,” one woman tweeted. “I’m Caucasian and think what you’re doing is great. Conversation starter for sure. Still be safe – it’s crazy time.”