Atlanta progressive metal outfit Mastodon have issued a statement via their Facebook page, defending a new Thanksgiving-themed t-shirt being offered on the band’s online merchandise store, which some fans have labelled as being racist. The band’s intent, they say, was social commentary.
The accused t-shirt depicts a smiling, bearded pilgrim pointing a blunderbuss at the head of a kneeling Native American woman who is holding up a platter of Turkey below a slogan reading “Happy Thanksgiving!”, and the band’s name below the two figures, sitting amid seasonal items.
The t-shirt caused some controversy over on the band’s Facebook page, with many fans commenting on the “racist” nature of the shirt, one commenter saying, “Probably not the best shirt idea for a band with only white people in it. A pilgrim with a gun to a kneeling native’s head…smh.”
However some defended the band, saying that while the item was in poor taste, it served as a satirical comment on the nature of the Thanksgiving holiday, considering America’s historical treatment of its indigenous peoples, which the band’s new statement seems to confirm.
“Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today,” open the band. “This shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling.”
“We may have a sick sense of humor,” the band continue, “but we are far from being ‘Racist’ as some of you who might not get it are calling us.” The ensuing comments from fans were largely positive, agreeing with Mastodon’s stance on both Thanksgiving and the t-shirt.
In September, Odd Future leader Tyler, The Creator was taken to task by OF members Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians over what they considered to be racial insensitivity perpetrated by the iconoclastic rapper in his own merchandise, which featured a stereotypical blackface image.
You can read the band’s full statement and view an image of Mastodon’s “Happy Thanksgiving” t-shirt, below.
Mastodon “Happy Thanksgiving” T-Shirt
Mastodon Thanksgiving T-Shirt Facebook Statement
Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today.
this shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling.
we may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being “Racist” as some of you who might not get it are calling us.