"Year of the Monkey" NBA promo t-shirts: racist?

Story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/02/02/demarcus-cousins-asks-kings-to-call-of-racially-insensitive-t-shirt-giveaway/

To summarize, the Sacramento Kings planned to give out promotional t-shirts on February 1, in honor of Chinese New Years (which is Feb 8), featuring a stylized graphic of a purple monkey and reading, “Happy Lunar New Year/Year of the Monkey/2016.”

February happens to be “Black History Month.”

Kings star player DeMarcus Cousins asked the team to pull the plug on the promotion because he found the shirts and the timing to be “racially insensitive.”

Is DeMarcus Cousins right, or is this an overreaction to something innocuous?

For the record, I’m going with “overreaction to something innocuous.”

While I can see the coincidence of timing is not ideal, it seems ludicrous to me that “monkey” in any context, even an appropriate one, is to be automatically considered an affront to all black people at all times.

Yeah, that kinda begs the question “who’d being the racist here?” The only ones really comparing black people to the monkey are the ones who want the t-shirt banned. I don’t think I would have thought anything of it, other than “what does the Year of the Monkey have to do with the Sacramento Kings?”

Being racially sensitive–even overly so–does not make one a racist.

Are you sure? I’m not. I don’t see a monkey and think “black people” but apparently some of the players on the King’s do.

Golly, I wonder why? I simply cannot *imagine *why an African-American man might be sensitive about being associated with monkeys. Why, it absolutely beggars belief.

The keep calling their guys ‘biggs’ and I think that’s racist, but no one ever really complains about that.

Seems some folks (king’s players) just gotta have a battle to fight.

If anything, this is unfair to monkeys - they didn’t ask to get entangled in our pseudoscientific astrologies and racial theories.

So we try to do something nice for Asians and black people shut it down because there happened to be a monkey on it? News flash, other things happen in February than just Black History Month. Like CHINESE FUCKING NEW YEAR.

Goddamnit, what a stupid overreaction.

This was my reaction to the story.

Link safe for work (well maybe not at the Kings). Watch the volume.

I hope the King's don't have some guy named Kong working for them.

This may rate as a microagression. Maybe. It doesn’t, I’m mocking the term.

The year of the monkey has existed long before black history month. Sometimes the lunar new year starts in February. Sometimes not. Damn racist moon cycle.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if THIS was the year some white guy on the King’s team kicked assed :slight_smile:

I looked at the t-shirt design, and was baffled at how anyone could see a racial connotation.

My oldest son’s (six years old) best friend for years now is black. I have three little boys, who I affectionately call “monkeys”. Because if you’ve ever been around a group of little boys under the age of six, they act pretty much exactly like monkeys. But, when my son’s best friend is around, I wouldn’t use that term. If my son’s best friend was white, I wouldn’t have a problem using the term.

It’s stupid. It has nothing to do with race. If anything, people who police this sort of thing are doing more harm than good, but it has affected me to the point where I’m not going to fight it. It angers me that this has encouraged me to stop using an affectionate term; rather than bringing us together, it forces me to treat this little boy differently because of his race.

Is it racist? No. Would I have stopped it if I was in marketing for the NBA? Yes.

This. It’s an NBA team, the cost of offending people, even if those people are overly sensitive is high enough that someone should have thought twice about it. And overly sensitive or not, pictures of those shirts are going end up on the internet used in some racist context, that’s enough reason to do something else.

I take it the Dukes of Hazard theme week has been canceled?

If the Kings do this every year with the appropriate animal then it’s an overreaction. If it’s the first time then it’s a bit insensitive.

Didn’t the Sacramento Kings actually have a gorilla as a mascot at one point? Did people consider that racist? (Yes, I know a gorilla is, scientifically speaking, an ape rather than a monkey.)

As a Chinese person, I don’t think its offensive, however I can totally understand the offense when it comes from someone who doesn’t know about the culture. So while its not offensive, I would remove it and replace it with something like Chinese fireworks or something. Taking other people’s feelings into account doesn’t mean you always have to push the limit when you’re right. Sometimes you can be right, but still understanding. No apology is needed, however, because the Kings are correct