Blackface Condemnation Strikes a Nerve

notepadHow was your Saturday? I had a solid day, doing my mom's taxes, playing euchre, watching a pretty good Mike Tyson documentary and my Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. And oh yeah, defending myself for condemning the wearing of blackface and staving off threats from blackface wearers and sympathizers.

It all started when I saw a photo of two Habs fans wearing blackface and afro wigs on Deadspin. That prompted me to write Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend. I couldn't believe these guys were allowed in the building, nor could I believe they were actually shown on television. Of course I had to write about it.

While I slept, friends of the two guys who wore the blackface and afro wigs found my entry. In addition to justifying the behaviour and ridiculing me for buying the media's lies and writing for hits, xmod threatened to bring down this entire site.

I have connections... ddos... ever heard of that..

A DDoS is a distributed denial-of-service attack and is usually carried out by consuming a web server's computational resources, such as bandwidth, disk space, or processor time. Somehow, despite xmod's threats, this site stayed online all day.

Then, the flood gates opened. All day long, comments poured in. Eventually I heard from one of the two men in the offending picture who went by the name "wantthis1488". He's the guy on the left and throughout the day we communicated both in the comments of that entry and via email.

wantthis1488 argued long and hard in defense of his blackface and afro wig. The arguments got more and more absurd, ranging from the movies "White Girls" and "Tropic Thunder" to the fact many Habs fans wanted pictures with the two and "we have now a black president". He closed with one final baffling threat.

wow man i am done with this forum u r going to be stupid and say that i am saying its ok to use th n word .. then it is no point to talk to you dumb ignorant douchbags thats how you said it.... what i was is that we are moving on and moving foward and u can now be proud .. and u can let go and stop trying to be the publics fan... and i have not even been contacted about this whole slander so i will be getting a hold of my lawyer .... ill see you soon mike

Assuming I survive his friend's DDoS attack, I'll be hearing from his lawyer. I'm more concerned with the several people who came to his defense and this promise wantthis1488 made in the comments.

ill do it again and again sweetheart ... and i dont have to tuck anything between my legs i am proud of what i did.... anyways everyone here is one minded theres no talking to you guys bye and toronto mike you said u were not doing this for promotion or to make yourself popular then stop twittering it and stop promoting it

That was my 9907th entry. In 9907 entries, I don't believe I've ever been as dismayed and disappointed in the general content of the comments. Still, amidst the ignorance, insensitivity, racism and generally offensiveness oozing from the majority of comments, a few sensible voices gave me hope.

Thank you Jim and Ajax Mike, for having my back and fighting the good fight, but I'll close this entry with the words of diehard Habs fan metricjulie.

Oh dear. Oh god. Oh, the humanity.

I am SO sorry, you guys. I, myself, am a Habs fan. I love Subban just as much as anyone and want him to develop in the AHL as long as he can before Montreal calls him up and ruins his career like we have seen happen so often (Latendresse, Price).

But man. Like Roy said, "The logic being used by the black face defenders is hurting my brain."

It hurts my brain too, and it hurts my pride and hurts to show my face as a Hab fan when these things happen.

Not to plug myself or anything, but I have written an entry on my blog called Your Guide To Being A Habs Fan: http://tinyurl.com/yzrm6fc

It's bad enough we are known for booing the US national anthem. I never thought I'd have to go and edit it to add a #6: Be blatantly racist, then defend your actions to the death.

It is so shameful that people are not only doing this, but that others are defending them and saying that they either "didn't know", "didn't mean to be offensive", "were supporting them, hence weren't trying to trash him so it makes it better", etc. Shame on all of you.

It is embarrassing enough to be a Habs fan without the people of Montreal looking like complete racists and senseless morons.

So for everyone on this thread who either wore blackface, defended blackface or was not completely appalled by blackface, I apologize. I apologize to the world for subjecting you to such blatant ignorance, insensitivity and hatred. And don't give me the "oh but they love Subban and were supporting him." DUDES PAINTED THEIR FACE BLACK. That is some aggressive perpetuation of racism. So don't even. Don't even.

Mike, you said "But thank you for validating my life-long hatred of Habs fans. Really... that's the fire you've truly fuelled here today."

and I don't blame you. I just hope that like me, you believe that 92% of the population ANYWHERE is stupid, and that somewhere in the shallows of Montreal are the 8% who are opposed to their behavior and are truly embarrassed and saddened that in TWENTY-TEN these events are still happening.

Because we exist, and we are so sorry for what happened.

A gentle reminder that there are reasonable, intelligent people who cheer for the Habs.


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Comments (23 - click here to join in!)

Tami

FYI - you can't get sued for slander as you never used the guys real names. You may get a cease and desist for the photo, IF the photo is copyrighted. But I am guessing, based on your flickr account, that the photo is under your own copyright protection based on the terms or service of flickr.

March 13, 2010 @ 10:15 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I feel I showed great restraint in not publishing his real name.

As for the image, it's from the RDS telecast. I'm sure they own the copyright, but I'd remove it if I got a cease and desist.

March 13, 2010 @ 10:32 PM

Down Goes Brown

This all remind me...

If I ever find myself at the center of some sort of international quasi-firestorm where I'm being held up as an example of everything that's wrong with an entire fanbase, and I'm clearly wrong, but I still feel the need to mount a vigorous and passionate defence... can you all remind me to run it through a spell-checker first? You know, so I don't come across as a complete mouth-breather?

Thanks.

March 13, 2010 @ 10:56 PM

Another Mtl fan

These two guys indeed lacked judgement and taste, and showed support for Subban in a poor way by defining him mainly by his colour.
However, please let me put something in context. You often refer to blackfaces and, indirectly, minstrels and bamboozling. Actually, these notions are virtually unknown in Quebec. There is no words in French for "minstrels", "bamboozle" and "blackfaces". Painting your face in black and wearing an afro to support your black favorite player is ridiculous indeed, but does not have here the "minstrel" connotation it has elsewhere. The absence of these notions in Quebec might explain why these guys were let in and why they were shown at RDS; normally, employees at the Bell Center screen out anyone or anything they deem offensive, and so do RDS. What these two guys did had more to do with ignorance than racism. They will surely know better next time.

March 14, 2010 @ 12:03 AM

Jim

You are so welcome, Mike. It was really kinda fun. To their credit, those guys basically kept their cool through some heated criticism and backlash. That said, man are they WRONG!

March 14, 2010 @ 2:03 AM

Ajax Mike

Ok, so wearing the blackface was ignorant. But now the guy has gone on record threatening a DDoS attack? Wow. I take it back. He's not ignorant. Just plain stupid.

March 14, 2010 @ 3:08 AM


Junior

Good on you, Mike. And yes, there's a whole lot of WTF to go around...

March 14, 2010 @ 10:29 AM

xmod

you had to make another day of this?

point proven.


thank you so much.


ps: i, like other idiots on this site, googled ddos....

lmfao, it worked.

have a nice life habs hater.

March 14, 2010 @ 12:03 PM

theactivestick

It's hard to top what Julie said, but for Julie and all other Habs fans that were offended by this: I'm one of about 15 people that I personally know that has already written to RDS, the Habs, and the Bell.

There is far more ignorance than you think out there, especially here in Quebec, so even if we were to give these guys the benefit of the doubt, that kind of ignorance has no place on TV, at the Bell Centre and in any kind of association with the Montreal Canadiens.

I've had doubts about letter-writing campaigns but if enough of us do it, maybe the security folk at the Bell will get slightly more educated and some upgraded training at the very least.

I don't expect RDS to stop airing offensive content since Benoit Brunet is still their colour commentary guy, but baby steps...

March 14, 2010 @ 12:05 PM

xmod

PS: google in the sens of finding what would piss off a site owner, i know shit about hackin.

Im a site owner myself, in fact I own 6 of them.


last u will hear of me of any of MY friends.

March 14, 2010 @ 12:05 PM

metricjulie

@theactivestick

Thank you. I know Number31 wrote to them as well, and I will translate my letter to them (I wrote it in French) in English & posting it on my blog later, just for my readers to see what is going on here.

Thank you, Mike, for taking such an active interest in this. We need to get it out there and you certainly have the reach to do so.

Numbers do show strength; maybe not immediately, maybe not obviously, but we will make a difference, if only to increase people's awareness of this issue. If only one blackface defender changes his outlook/opinion, this whole thing won't have been for nothing.

March 14, 2010 @ 12:21 PM

Leafer

I'm pretty sure xmod has said that he's leaving a few times, only to come back...

March 14, 2010 @ 2:17 PM

kidkawartha

"xmod
PS: google in the sens of finding what would piss off a site owner, i know shit about hackin.
Im a site owner myself, in fact I own 6 of them."
It's like being threatened by the dumbest guy on the block. I'm so very proud of him for "owning" 6 websites.
My only problem with the Subbanator post, Mike, is that you never, ever, bother to have a level argument with people defending racism. It's completely pointless, as one of their goals is simply to have their viewpoint legitimized by inclusion in a discussion, when all they deserve is to be mocked and treated with the scorn and contempt they so richly deserve. It's like trying to make apple pie with fresh Granny Smiths and a load of feces- the pie gets destroyed every time.

March 14, 2010 @ 2:58 PM

CoolJ90

I think xmod is Jimmy Fallon, since he either "lmao"s or "lmfao"s at everything.

xmod - "No, its more the fact that my friend is going through hell right now cuz of stupid sites like this that dont get what they where doing. they were showing SUPPORT for the guy. the name subbanator is actually going around already, and fans LOVED what they did at the game."

My favourite part of this is that he implies that they either came up with the Subbinator moniker, or are the reason it's popular. Not because of junior hockey or the World Juniors, no because of idiots in blackface. He's a regular Einstein.

xmod - "Look, im a reasonable person, and this is NOT what it was. and people like you and this site that dwell on PAST events actually PREVENT the evolution of mankind. its freakin 2010 and time to move forward and upward."

Yeah, let's start making jokes about slavery too since that's in the past.

xmod - "its only racist if you believe it is."

So if I go around shouting the N-word at black people, it's not racist if I don't think or mean it to be racist? Really? That's your argument?

xmod - "I am one that believes that history should be left in the past and we should be able to move on. If we dwell on the past like that, we wouldn't be able to do nothin! think about it."

So I guess he's never heard the saying those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.

I think it's clear that the Habs fans that are on the lower end of the intelligence scale are far too vocal. If I saw someone dressed like that at the ACC, I would be willing to dump my $10 beer on them and ask security to remove them from the building; though dumping my beer would probably get me tossed out too, but it would be worth it.

March 14, 2010 @ 3:35 PM

MississaugaBlogger.com

Calling this political correctness run amok doesn't sound right to me.

I think if the player these misguided fans were trying to support was Irish and they were dressed like leprechauns with boxing gloves carrying vats of whiskey we could laugh it off.

March 14, 2010 @ 6:24 PM

MississaugaBlogger.com

Calling this political correctness run amok doesn't sound right to me.

I think if the player these misguided fans were trying to support was Irish and they were dressed like leprechauns with boxing gloves carrying vats of whiskey we could laugh it off.

March 14, 2010 @ 6:24 PM

sein

"I think it's clear that the Habs fans that are on the lower end of the intelligence scale are far too vocal"

you guys always end your posts with stuff like that, your starting to look stupid too now. Just ignore them, I think xmod did, making him the smarter person.

March 15, 2010 @ 12:38 AM

furcifer

@sein
Huh?

How exactly did xmod ignore anything?

March 15, 2010 @ 2:36 AM

sein

I'll even be honest, he's my upstairs neighbor and the one that told me about this.

He has not spoke about it since yesterday, he moved on and already forgot about this lame site, you should do the same.

March 15, 2010 @ 8:20 AM

CoolJ90

@sein

I think it's clear that xmod and wantthis1488 are Habs fans. It is also clear that they are pretty vocal. It is also clear that they are on the lower end of the intelligence scale.

What exactly did I say wrong there? I didn't say all Habs fans are morons, just the there are some - which is true for all fan bases - and that these guys are doing and defending an act that is just plain dumb.

March 15, 2010 @ 12:37 PM

wantthis1488

hey toronto mike ... im sure you know who i am ... i want to say i have read about blackface and all the history behind it ... and i want to say i am sorry for saying that wearing blackface is right... i want to say i did not mean to be racist i had no bad intent at all ..... all i want to show support i am sorry to whoever i offened ... im sorry PK i hope you are not mad ...

March 15, 2010 @ 9:10 PM

Shawn B

@torontomike I agreed with most of what u said but u have to realize not everyone in this world is on the same page or wave length but we try to understand each other. Anyways you only lost credibility when u said u hate habs fans. So it's not ok to hate someone because of their skin color, but it's ok to hate someone because of their jersey color? I love the rivalry but there's too much hating going on lately. A reflection of the players attitudes towards each other? A serious blow to what was a "gentlemans" sport. Let's hope this is the end of the hating era. One love to all hockey fans.

April 5, 2011 @ 9:45 AM

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