“Celebrate Diversity” Gun Shirt: A Response to Atrios

A lot of the time, I can relate to how liberals think since I’m a social liberal myself. But one thing that always seems to be the sticking point is their no-holds-barred view of guns and everything gun related. Case in point, Atrios posted this slam against Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit for wearing this shirt which featured an assortment of handguns with the phrase “Celebrate Diversity” below them. There are two versions of the shirt, and from what I can glean, Reynolds wore the black one:

Celebrate Diversity shirt

Now, Atrios’s beef is mostly with the slogan itself and the coloring of it on the white shirt, but there’s a liberal mindset here against all things guns:

The caption is “celebrate diversity.” The colors of the caption are commonly used pan-African colors: red, yellow, and green. While, for many, the “joke” (though, I’m not sure why it’s funny) is that here diversity is a diversity of guns. Ha ha. But, look, the clear message here is that the way to celebrate diversity, particularly that pan-African diversity, is to buy a bunch of fucking guns. In other words, celebrate diversity by arming yourself.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy one of these shirts, because I think it’s a dumb shirt (even though I am a gun-owner). But I think Atrios is whining far too much about a dumb shirt, after all, no one is forcing him or anyone else to buy one. and newsflash, it’s a joke t-shirt, it’s meant to make some people laugh and offend people who don’t like guns. But the thing that sticks in my craw is that he doesn’t even get the black joke. Sure, there’s the obvious joke, but there’s also the ribbing at black culture. What I see is a shirt which mocks blacks on two levels:

  • First, the “celebrate diversity” slogan and coloring is a jab at the Africa adulation that is so obvious in black culture. I’ve seen hundreds of people wearing shirts with pan-African colors here in the U.S. yet I rarely see photos of actual Africans display this level of racial pride. Explain that disconnect.
  • Second, the diversity of guns is a not-so-subtle jab at the underbelly of black ghetto culture, which glorifies guns (and actual violence) way more than the NRA ever has. It’s a mockery of a stereotype that actually rings true in some quarters. Go figure.

So, Atrios, the shirt is a joke. Sure, some WASP gun-owners who buy the shirt aren’t going to get it, but there’s a lot of dumb people in the world. It’s not worth getting worked up over. But I can guarantee you one thing, if a white boy wearing one of these shirts decided to stroll down a sidestreet of Crenshaw, chances are he’d probably get jumped and get his ass beat and robbed. And the shirt wouldn’t have a thing to do with it.

Celebrate that diversity.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds responds, saying “I don’t which is more embarrassing for Black, here — the comments of his critics, or the comments of his supporters?” Considering a troll has migrated over to our own site to stir shit up, I can’t say I disagree. But I still think Glenn is a cunt.

» Celebrate Diversity [Eschaton]
» Celebrate Diversity shirt [thoseshirts.com]

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. “”First, the ‘Likud Uber Allies!’ slogan and Germanic font is a jab at the fascist tendancies that are so obvious in the political platforms and actions of extreme right-wing Israelis. I?Äôve seen hundreds of brown people die for the racist and fascist policies of crazy old Jewish men, many of who experenced the Third Reich firsthand. Explain that disconnect.

    Second, the image of an S.S soldier wearing a yellow star is a not-so-subtle jab at the underbelly of hard-line Israeli right wingers, who glorify, advocate, and encourage racial violence (and actual genocide and mass displacement) to a level rarely seen in first-world nations. It?Äôs a mockery of a stereotype that actually rings true in some quarters. Go figure.”

    After all, Stephen, equating Jews to Nazis is just a joke. Oh what? Is the racial subtext and “mocking” not funny anymore?

  2. Anon, I fail to see how that is relevant. Also, you may have me mistaken with a neo-con who would find offense with your imagery. You won’t find any pity for blatant Israeli aggression or defense for illegal settlements in Palestine.

    But again, I don’t see the correlation here.

  3. All I did was take your words about blacks and transpose them to a situation regarding a different minority group.

    Would you defend as a “simple, harmless joke” a t-shirt that pictured an SS officer wearing a yellow star of David and holding a banner that says, “Likud Uber Alles!”

  4. Your example is specious at best and twists things. To answer your question, I would defend it with a caveat: the yellow Star of David is not funny and never will be.

    The satirical shirt you describe does ring true in some quarters of the Lukid party, but just as the gun shirt satirizes a caricature, your imagery is also a caricature of reality.

    There are obvious limits to where satire ends and bigotry begins, and I’ll give you two examples of how it could be obvious racial insensitivity:

    The gun shirt: A cartoonish black man with giant lips and an afro, wearing lots of gold chains holds open a briefcase full of different model handguns.

    The SS shirt: A cartoonish fat jewish man with a large nose and eyes is wearing the uniform and holding the sign. Also, he is standing in front of a building with dollars signs on it and is holding keys which says “bank.”

    Now, I hope I have described the kind of stereotype which goes too far.

  5. “Your example is specious at best and twists things.”

    Care to elaborate?

    “Now, I hope I have described the kind of stereotype which goes too far.”

    Yep. “Porch Monkeys” – Satire “Lazy Fucking N***ers” – Bigotry.

    Of course, those of us that don’t subscribe to your brand of relativism see how there is bigotry behind the use of BOTH of those phrases, but whatever. Thanks for presuming to tell minorities what bigotry is REAL bigotry and should provoke their ire, and what bigotry is just “satire,” harmless “mocking,” or “stereotype[s] that actually [ring] true in some quarters,” like your amusing little anecdote about the socio-economic ills of Crenshaw.

    [ED- Racial slur starred out.]

  6. Uh… no, don’t put words in my mouth. I only gave those as examples of what would be obvious bigotry and hate mongering. Your sensitivity miles may vary.

    The problem here is not the shirt, it’s the hyper-sensitive mindset that looks at it, and is offended by the slightest possiblity of bigotry. What used to require overt signs of hate-speech to spark indignation in liberals now only requires a possiblity of impropriety. We can go back and forth all day on what-ifs and theoretical shirts, but the fact is, you’re the one building up straw men and knocking them down in order to paint me as a racist.

    I pointed out facts and the truth, while your rebuttal was to come up with cockamamie extremes.

    Oh, and get a fucking sense of humor.

  7. “The problem here is not the shirt, it?Äôs the hyper-sensitive mindset that looks at it, and is offended by the slightest possiblity of bigotry. What used to require overt signs of hate-speech to spark indignation in liberals now only requires a possiblity of impropriety.”

    O really. So now, instead of “ribbing at black culture,” in such an obvious way that “it really sticks in [your] craw” that Atrios “doesn’t even get the black joke,” the subtext of the shirt only contains the “slightest possibility of bigotry” and “impropriety.”

    “[Y]ou?Äôre the one building up straw men and knocking them down in order to paint me as a racist.”

    I don’t have to construct straw men to do that. You’re the one who trots out the stereotypes about those violent negro hoodlums in Crenshaw in order to put a “witty” little flourish on the end on your piece.

    “Oh, and get a fucking sense of humor.”

    Ah, yes. The last defense of the modern bigot. “Some people just like to joke about darkies/f***ots/k**es! It’s not like the stereotypes exist for no reason! Get a fucking sense of humor!”

    Bigotry. What a comedy goldmine. Jackass.

    [ED- Racial slurs starred out.]

  8. I’ll pay you $100 to stand on the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Stocker Street from 9PM to 3AM on a Sunday night wearing a shirt which says “Hi, I’m a white kid from the suburbs.”

  9. Hell, if you’re not white, I’ll pay you $200 to stand there and wear a shirt that says “Hi, I’m a [your race] kid from San Bernadino.”

  10. “Considering a troll has migrated over to our own site to stir shit up, I can?Äôt say I disagree…”

    So, using the comments section of your public blog in order to question or challenge your inconsistent arguments is now trolling?

  11. You take up my challenge and I won’t call you a troll.

    Look, I’m not an extremist Klan member, nor am I racist. But you seem insistent on making it seem that way because I don’t find this parody shirt to be offensive to my very fabric of being. Whatever.

    Blind ideology swings both ways, and I’m calling you a troll for being an overly-sensitive, politically-correct, liberal asshole. Trust me, I have no problem shitting on asshole conservatives or actual racists, but I’m just calling it like I see it.

  12. Your challenge is nothing but a red herring to try to distract from the fact that you’ve been called on your fatally inconsistent arguments and mocking attitude towards black culture.

    First you say that the shirt is “ribbing at black culture,” “mock[ing] blacks on two levels,” and “a not-so-subtle jab at the underbelly of black ghetto culture.” Of course, you give your reasons why you believe this mocking to be deserved (which are the comments that lead me to believe that if not an outright racist, you certainly haven’t given much thought to what being black really is like) and say that despite all of this loaded racial commentary which was oh-so-obvious to you, the shirt’s just a joke and liberals should calm down.

    However, just a few posts later you say that the racial subtext of the shirt is virtually non-existent and represents only the ?Äúslightest possibility of bigotry?Äù and ?Äúimpropriety.?Äù

    Which is it, Sherlock? Does it make mocking satire, however deserved in your opinion, of black culture? You know, black jokes so obvious that it really bothers you that Atrios didn’t properly identify them? Or does the shirt really only contain the slightest possibility of bigotry and therefore should not bother anyone, black, liberal, or otherwise?

    I haven’t even gotten into how your representation of Atrios’ position on guns and gun control completely disregard the many statements he’s made about the topic on his site, even in the commments section of the very post of his that you’re criticizing, and therefore your whole “liberal mindset here against all things guns” comment is exposed for the fallacy that it is.

    “i’m not particularly anti-gun. I think gun fetishists are silly, and generally believe fewer guns would be a good thing, but gun control legislation ain’t my bag baby…
    Atrios | Email | Homepage | 08.03.04 – 10:17 pm | #”

    One thing we certainly can agree on though, Glenn Reynolds sure is a cunt. A lying, equivocating cunt who likes to wax poetic about the possibility of genocide against Arabs and Muslims.