Yesterday we posted about the new "Latino" jersey premiering for the AHL's Rockford IceHogs on November 16, and besides one person on our site who respectfully disagreed, the majority of our Facebook and Twitter communities thought the #NoMames for a "Los IceHogs Night" was well-deserved.
Apparently, the IceHogs got the blessing of Rockford's local coalition of Latino leaders, as this report reveals.
Earlier today, our founder wrote his weekly column for NBC Latino, where he got the IceHogs and a member from Rockford's Coalition of Latino Leaders to comment about the "Los IceHogs" event. An IceHogs spokesperson apologized if the jersey and the event offended anyone, but at the same time admitted that a bit of controversy is good for business. In addition, a CLL member said this was "entertainment" and that if people were offended they should just "get over it."
They are missing the point, but you can decide by reading the entire NBC Latino column.
As for us and what we think? We can do so much better. Instead of spouting out the same old and stale stereotypes, the IceHogs could have gone a bit deeper. For example, play to how sports is a big part of Latino culture. Turn the hockey arena into a soccer or baseball atmosphere. Announce the whole game in Spanish. Honor Latinos who have played pro hockey (yes, many have played). The possibilities are endless. Too bad the IceHogs didn't challenge conventional thinking a bit more. If they did, they would have got the same national attention, but for the right reasons.
Instead, we get images that border on cultural racism, Latino groups that defend these images, and local clueless anchors who like to close their segments with lines such as these: "And Mimi, they're giving away free maracas next Friday night, too!" Oh boy, you know how those Latinos love their maracas! ARRIBA! ARRIBA!