San Francisco Giants Ban ‘Culturally Insensitive Attire’ at Games

Giants fans cheer during a 2012 World Series game at AT&T Park. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Giants fans cheer during a 2012 World Series game at AT&T Park. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants have changed the team’s ballpark code of conduct to prohibit culturally insensitive attire and behavior. The move comes after a June incident in which a fan wore an Indian war bonnet to Native American Heritage Night at AT&T Park.

A handful of Native Americans at the June 23 game confronted the bonnet-wearing fan, and one of them took the headgear away. Security guards intervened, and two of the Native Americans were handcuffed and detained by police, then released.

The Giants announced last week they had met with the people involved in the episode and “engaged in a very productive dialogue about how we can learn from the incident and move forward in a meaningful and productive way. This includes redoubling our efforts to educate and raise awareness with our staff and fans about culturally appropriate behavior and attire.”

The team’s revised conduct rules for fans now say:

The Giants are proud of the rich diversity of our fan base who cheer us on at AT&T Park. It is in this spirit that we urge all fans to be mindful and respectful of each other. Any fan wearing culturally insensitive attire, using obscene or abusive language, engaging in antisocial conduct offensive to those around them or displaying any other offensive behavior is subject to removal from the ballpark. If you observe a fan acting in this manner, please contact Giants security by texting the word “FOUL” to 69050, followed by your message. Please do not take the matter into your own hands.

Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said the new language is an attempt to respond to a changing fan population.

“Our fan base has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, and we sponsor a number of heritage nights and community cultural nights,” Slaughter said. “We just want to make sure that everyone respects each other and is aware of different cultural sensitivities.”

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  • Danielle

    Some of your facts stated in this are false. It was not just one man with the war bonnet but a group of them passing it around. It was not a group of natives. It was a native women and man. They did not take the war bonnet, they explained the disrespect the man was showing. The man got biliherant until the native woman cried. at this point one of the man’s friends gave her the war bonnet. Another of the friends had already left and brought back security. It is all on tape. The natives were wrongfully detained, with the use of excessive force.

    • emceeski

      Except, in written testimony by one of the detained individuals (http://bighorse.net/post/89740986519/how-the-san-francisco-giants-celebrate-native-american), a member of their group “snuck up behind the fans and took away the warbonnet, and it ended up in the young woman’s possession.”

      You steal somebody’s hat, you get kicked out of the game. Notice that I haven’t said anything about the race of the individuals involved because that absolutely does not matter in this situation of theft.

      • Danielle

        you mean this article that you link where it actually states this immediately after “the fans were actually apologetic and offered to give it to her. Except then they also justified it since they said it belonged to a friend in their party who was Native American.”?

        the war bonnet is not just a hat. It is a culturally secret items that is earned in the tribes where it is used. each other is a Medal of Honor. It is a selfless deed performed, a battle fought or a victory.

        To say race has nothing to do with this is naïve at best and intentionally misleading at worst. They were disrespecting a culture. The man openly mocked the war bonnet verbally and physically.

  • WhiteRabbit660

    So who is going to define “culturally insensitive”? It’s not always that clear-cut. Someone somewhere is always going to be offended by something if see something they interpret a particular way. Where is the line drawn and who draws it? Again, some things–e,g. blackface are seemingly obvious, but others like fan face painting (“disrespectful” to native peoples?) are not.

    This is just the kind of BS feel-good **** I’ve come to expect from SF and California in general. Well intentioned do-gooder stuff that’s great in theory and garbage in action/real life. Maybe the should enforce a official Giants fan uniform. Everyone wears exactly the same thing or they’re not let in to see the game. Like prison–hey orange, part way there! That way the Giants can make $$$ and they can ensure no one wears insensitive attire. Oh, wait, ex-cons might be offended!

    • Danielle

      This article respond to your statement perfectly http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/clueless-things-white-people-say-racism/

      • WhiteRabbit660

        The point I was making is the definition, or lack of one, in the policy makes it purely subjective and impossible to enforce fairly. A clear standard is required. And it’s not provided and that’s an issue. The extreme and obviously sarcastic far end if the spectrum would be to require fans to all dress the same way–that provides a clear standard albeit extreme.

        I know it’s much easier to throw out a link to a what amount to bunch of tenets derived from a political philosophy than address points, but a real debate is more fun and potentially enlightening. Accommodating a wide range of experience, reli gious views, cultural views and reconciling them fairly is a difficult task. Example: balancing the right of one person to wear somewhat revealing clothing while sitting next to someone who believes in a strict interpretation of shar ia. Being “uncoverd” is deeply offensive to that person. Does that require the other person cover up? How much covering? You’re missing the big picture if you don’t acknowledge the complexities of balancing everyone’s needs and rights and limit this one set of political views out of a particular lens.

        • Danielle

          I often forget that people often only have what media they have seen to go on. The link was responding to the sarcasm in the post. I wanted you to see what we deal with regularly.

          The official policy has not been released but is being carefully worded. The only thing that had been released is that they are considering a policy. They are considering the policy because of what happened (which was racial profiling in response to a native woman standing up against the abuse of one of our david items, whether the author of this post wishes to admit it or not). this has been an issue that we have fought against for many decades now. We are finally making headway.the Giants are being very careful in the wording of the policy so that it does only coverculturally offensive things. Things which stereotype the culture, mock it. they will not be taking it to the extremes that you are thinking and they are being sure that it is not vague.

          • WhiteRabbit660

            Thank you for clarifying. Sadly we get half-baked stories and missing facts, and my sarcasm was meant to call out what I saw as folly of vague pleasantries that sounded good but achieved nothing but a “feel good moment”, marketing, were counter-productive, and failed to face complexities. I see all too much of that where the cure/reaction ends up being worse than the disease and achieves the opposite of what was intended.

            If I’m in error in responding to those half pieces (rather than reality) my apologies.

            Based on your input it sounds like this is going to be more thought out and provide some clear guidance. That’s beneficial and helps meet the need and core objectives. My issue was never with intent (again, often well intentioned things have unintended consequences that work against the core objectives). If this is being considered thoughtfully and carefully then real progress can be made.

            Thank you for taking time to discuss and enlighten. Most appreciated.

          • Danielle

            the original article was written by Native American journalism student. Regular media was completely ignoring the issue. When they finally did pick up the issue most of them chose to gut it. or falsify the issue. I even saw one article claiming that the natives involved were being drunk and disorderly (none of them were drinking. I now two of them don’t touch the stuff). and then you see articles like this one, which take the pieces that they want from the original article and completely dismiss the rest. Case in point, if you look at my comments that I already put up here correcting some of these items listed, you will see that he came back with clothing one line out of the article that healing completely disregarding the follow-up sentence.

            the stereotyping and mascot issue is an issue of racism.the people who put on these headdresses have no concern for those they harm by doing so.

            Or children grow up knowing the war bonnet is sacred. The feathers are sacred and symbolize acts of value, selfless deeds, battles fought and victories. The sacred pipe is holy and only designated people may possess them. When they see someone wearing a war bonnet or a mascot dressed in our regalia it lowers their self worth.

            Suicide rates for natives are higher than other ethnicities. Our youth, even more so. On one reservation, pine ridge, there was roughly 420 known suicide attempts last year. That’s an average of more than one per day. There were a further 15 confirmed suicides. the commonality in all of them when they opened up: hopelessness caused by poverty, the violence cause by substance abuse caused by hopelessness, knowing that to live means probably continuing the pattern of hopelessness or moving off the reservation to a world where people only see the stereotypes, where they have no value as humans because of these stereotypes. And having the constant risk of our children being taken from us, on and off the reservation. This was just one reservation.

            If you look at the statistics you will note that, just in our youth, it averages out nationally to one successful attempt every 45 minutes confirmed.

            That is why we fight.

          • WhiteRabbit660

            Again, thank you for taking time to elaborate and explain. This goes so far to help raise awareness in a way pointing to an article never will. Personal experience is always, in my book, a better way to educate, engage, and bring light to perspectives and experience (even if it illuminates painful truths).

            Those are appalling statistics and deadly serious impacts. Begs the question as to why this isn’t getting more “press”, while other “causes” get so much attention. So much pain, so much loss, so little real visibility and awareness. That is an issue I need to give thought to. In a very real way, the group (and legacy of a group) that created the situation perpetuates it by hiding it. Hmm.

            The history of the decimation peoples and cultures is sadly what Shakespeare wrote of in Julius Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them;. The good is oft interred with their bones.” Cycles, once established, are so difficult to break. And anger, hopelessness, and desperation turned inward do wreck havoc and leave death in their wake. I too have seen this in my own experience and life, although a a personal/family scale cannot compare to the entire scope of what you refer.to. But it does provide a thread of connection. Quite a just reason and cause to fight.

            Continue to good fight, the cause is just and the stakes are high.: “We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
            One equal temper of heroic hearts,
            Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
            To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

            All literature aside, again, many thanks for the perspective and enlightening discussion.

          • Danielle

            these are issues which many of us have written about, or discussed in broadcast. Mass media does not cover them. The truth of the matter is because of the stereotyping we are not seen as human. there’s much in the hidden histories and news. The sad fact is… I have told this to many people in many discussions. You are the first in the last 3 months to actually hear it (so to speak). We discuss it often but it hooks up the mirror showing people the results of their actions so they, as humans, ignore the image within and attack the mirror instead. They don’t understand that breaking the mirror does not change the image. I welcome you to add me on Facebook. You will learn much there from myself and the many people in the community speaking out. You will see their anger and pain. But you will also see the truth behind and in spite of the media.

      • WhiteRabbit660

        2 days later and no attempt at dialog or discussion. Just seagull commenting. Sad and dissapointing: “I’m right and here’s and article (which I won’t bother to actually discuss) to prove it”. This doesn’t move your argument forward or enlighten or help others see a perspective. Just entrenches opinions, which is probably (I hope) not what you intended. Or perhaps it is?

        • Danielle

          My apologies, I just got home from powwow and have been unpacking. I will read your replies shortly and give it my full attention.

          • WhiteRabbit660

            Thank you. Discussion and unpacking ideas ;) moves us all forward. Most encouraging! Most appreciated!

  • Don Goose

    Does the ban include the Atlanta Braves’ uniforms?

    • WhiteRabbit660

      Since it’s totally subjective and provides no clear standard who knows? How about that football team from Washington? I can see where those very well are offensive to some, but without a clear standard….

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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