Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
The links below lead to pages of a corporation that have grotesque costumes of "indians" for sale.
Please write a letter demanding that the corporation cease selling these costumes. Be sure to send your letter to the Better Business Bureau (address and e-mail below) so that it goes "on record" and to Gary Brouse with ICCR (e-mail address below).Facemakers, Inc.
140 Fifth Street
Savanna, IL 61074
Phone: (815) 273-3944
Fax: (815) 273-3966
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 08:25:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Facemakers, Inc. Racist Costumes
Your "Indian" Mascot Costumes are disgraceful and grotesque. They strongly indicate the Facemakers, Inc's racist attitude toward Native peoples. Do you have Asian costumes? African costumes? Hispanic costumes? If you did, can you image the type of feedback you would receive?
That is the type of feedback you are getting right now. Indians are people, not mascots, and not costumes. There is a movement among Native and non-Native people to stamp out these types of racist, stereotyping, degrading representations. Your website has been brought to their attention, as well as the Better Business Bureau in your area and the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility.
You need to remove your "Indian" Mascot Costumes from your website and cease selling them entirely. We also highly suggest that Facemakers, Inc. becomes educated about this issue. You can begin with the "American Indian" Sports Teams Mascots site:
Thank you for your attention to this matter and the immediate removal of the costumes from your website and product offering.
BBB Chicago & N. Illinois
330 N. Wabash, Ste. 2006
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 832-0500
Fax: (312) 832-9985
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
Phone: (212) 870-2295
Fax: (212) 870-2023
Gary Brouse: firstname.lastname@example.org
Correspondent makes a point
As of yet, I have not received a reply from this company....
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 12:11 PM
Subject: Ordering an African-American costume
To Whom It May Concern:
I was wondering if your company could make a costume such as above? I would like to suggest that our local high school use the above to use as a mascot to substitute the Indian mascot. I think that since Indian costumes are so popular in your line of costumes, and you are aware that Indians ARE people and apparently you find no offense in making them characters, your company shouldn't have any hesitation with a line of African American's costumes as well.
Since there are so few African American in this part of the country, maybe this costume would give some awareness to our youth as to how they look when going off into other parts of the world, so they will be better prepared to recognize an African American when they come upon one. These Indian costumes have certainly shown me what an Indian looks like, should I ever run into one of them! They surely must be extinct by now to have a company use people as "characters" or mascots, as you will.
I noticed that your Indian costumes range in price from $599.00 — $939.00 for a complete costume. Please give me a quote on what a costume depicting an African American would cost. Please respond with a price quote ASAP, as I think it's time these children get a REAL view of what African American people look like, other than Indians.
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 11:46 AM
Subject: Custom Costume Order
To Whom It May Concern:
I am following up on a previous letter that I have written to you. I have since gone on your web-page and noticed that I was to call a number to place my specifications. I am sorry that I cannot call, as I am way too busy. Enclosed is the same picture that was previously sent, but I would like some additions added to the costume and will be more specific in detail of the costume that I would like your company to make.
Our local school has eliminated the Indian mascot and they are looking for a replacement. I would like to support their endeavors and produce an alternative mascot with a price quote for them to consider.
As I previously mentioned in the last letter, I live in Vermont and since there aren't many Indian's to be found, I can tell you that African American's are even less likely to be seen in this State. So, to honor those African American's, I would like to propose to the school that since they have honored Indians for over 50 years, it's time to do some honoring of another race. Equality in this country is good, is it not?
[Costume/Mascot orders must be phoned in to discuss options, specifications, pricing, etc. Phone: 815-273-3944]
Now for my specifications:
Maybe the picture is not clear enough for you to understand what I would like, so I will be as exact as I can.
Black colored face with arms, hands and legs exposed. Barefoot as usual.
Face is to contain:
Nose: broad and flat and wide flare. I would also like a bone through the center of the flaring nostrils, since more people relate to that in African America's when one hasn't had a lot of exposure to them.
Lips: Wide, fully plumped with white shining teeth exposed.
Hair: Long and natty.
Eyes: Expressed with surprise with bright white orbs.
Clothing: Pants that are too short and frayed severely on the bottom, shirt is to be colorful with a sharp contrast to the pants... meaning they are not to be color coordinated. I would also like the shirt to be ill-fitted with the sleeves above the wrist.
Accessories: I would like shackles on the legs, but they need to have enough chain between them so that the mascot has freedom to run and spread his legs when doing a cheer.
A lack of response is an indication that you do not honor the African American's as you do the Indian's and this lack of attention will send a message that your company is discriminatory. I truly hope this is not the case.
I await a drawing of what I have described...along with a price quote.
Jan effectively demonstrated Facemaker's folly with her satirical messages.
I especially enjoyed Facemaker's Economy Line, which features a donkey, chicken, Viking, and Indian. I leave it to the reader to discern what's wrong with this picture.
Indian wannabes and imitators
Team names and mascots
. . .
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