The7Line, the Mets, MLB and perpetuating Irish Stereotypes on caps

It saddens me to learn The 7 Line is planning on releasing the cap below.

I will now hear from the “its just a cap” and the “its a leprechaun, it’s not a person” crowd.  I know you mean well.  Let me educate you.

I encourage you to read this article: Irish Apes and Acts of DeHumanization which has all sorts of images to walk you from the original racism this image is based on, to its evolution to showing up on a T7L cap.

But you won’t, because you like the cap, so let me excerpt from a different article called Apes, pyschos, alcos: How British cartoonists depict the Irish.

The old Irish caricatures of witless, heavy-browed thugs, sporting ill-fitting waistcoats and squat little tobacco pipes, are so famous as to have become neutered by overfamiliarity. They are cultural oddities you might now see displayed in Irish pubs as acts of ironic defiance. Despite this, however, more than a century and a half later, some still retain a poisonous sting.

Take, for example, the Punch cartoon that depicted the Young Ireland Party as a gorilla. It’s clearly horrifying that Irish intellectuals and lawmakers were routinely cast as apes, but the smaller details stand out. It’s perhaps the petty spite of including a jar marked “Pickled cabbage” behind “Mr G O’Rilla” that makes the jaw drop further still.

Ok now you’re thinking that hey, The7Line isn’t selling a simian logo, it’s a guy with red hair….let’s zero in on the leprechaun part of things.  I turn you over to Max Kellerman as recounted here in The Journal.

“My friend Brian Kenny was tweeting about this and someone asked him about the Fighting Irish. His father, the late, great Charlie Kenny, bog farmer from Ireland, walked the beat as a cop in Queens when he got here, was asked about the Fighting Irish and the leprechaun logo.

“And many Irish-Americans are not offended, but many are and should that also change?

The answer is yes. Unequivocally, yes.
Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalised people that offend even some among them should be changed. It’s not that hard.

Kenny had tweeted:

“Leprechaun cartoons are subhuman and offensive, and are used to keep us “in our place”. So, yes, bag them too. It paints us as a bunch of foolish, drinking, fighting, singing, dancing, & lying gnomes.

“For all saying ‘they’ve never met a single Irishman offended’: The Notre Dame mascot is an embarrassment.”

We live in an age where we should know better.  There’s no reason for this cap to exist.

It is unclear to me if this is a New Era cap…but it’s clearly a The7Line cap, using Mr. Met of the New York Mets, a team in Major League Baseball.  (Update – it has been pointed out to me that there clearly is a New Era logo on this cap, green on green)

Baseball has a recent good track record on such matters.  The Cleveland baseball team has chosen to modify its imagery.  Maybe this isn’t the same, maybe it is, regardless – why go here?  Why sell this cap?  The Mets once sold such a cap.  They no longer do.   I was stunned to see this design is back, even if from a fan-brand…but hey it’s a licensed fan-brand, so somebody somewhere involved with baseball likely approved this.

Let me make this super-simple.  Picture another ancestry.  Your choice.  Now make a Mr. Met version of that – would MLB ever allow whatever you just imagined?  Of course not.

I ask the parties involved here to reconsider.  I don’t think they mean to offend, yet I am telling them now that they do.  And if they don’t mean to offend, then pull the cap and sell something else.

For the rest of you, I encourage you to not purchase this cap.  There are plenty of other fine Mets caps you can buy, even from The7Line. Here’s a nice one. A nice NY on an apple.  Show your fandom that way, not by offending people of Irish ancestry and definitely not by perpetuating stereotypes.