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T-shirt does not mock black people

Written By: Terry Foster | January 5, 2012

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Today I am coming to the defense of the people with “Down with Detroit.” They are under attack because some believe a simple T-shirt that simply says “Kool-aide and cornbread” is racist against black people.

That is ridiculous. The shirt is obviously a play on Lion fans who often drink the Lions Kool-aide and eat the Lions cornbread. They believe in the Lions no matter what.  This is a running joke on sports talk radio and in the sporting community. The down with Detroit people made up a blue T-shirt and shortly after posting it on their sight were accused of being racist.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I see the world through rose colored glasses at times. But the people who run this website did not have evil intentions when they made the shirt. They simply played off something we talk about all the time. Sometimes we are too sensitive and search for something that is not there.

I know people joke that black people used to love grape Kool-Aide and eat cornbread way back in the day but most young people aren’t even aware of this. And if you think people think Kool-Aide and corn bread when they see a black person, you are nuts.  I remember a columnist wrote about a black athlete who ate fried chicken during an interview. He casually put the reference in the column because he was setting a scene. The fried chicken reference was taken out.

How silly.

Downwithdetroit.com features a number of Detroit related apparel with a mostly sports theme. There is a Chet Lemon shirt with a lemon on front. The people who run this sight have praised and made fun of the Lions and have a neat T-shirt that supports all the local teams.  The shirts are simple but fun.

There are a growing number of Lion fans who believe their team is about to shock the world and beat the New Orleans Saints Saturday night on Bourbon Street. Those who do not believe laugh and joke that they’ve been sipping too much Kool-Aide or they are drowning their cornbread in Lions butter.

Is that racist? Is it racist to put these thoughts on this T-shirt?

Absolutely not. But please let me know what you think.


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21 Responses to “T-shirt does not mock black people”

  1. Jwejroch Says:

    I have to say that I 100% completely agree with you… I am shocked and saddened that day in and day out people look for issues to create and it seems as if they do so because their life is boring or something. I am a very avid listener to the show and knew right away exactly what they were referencing…( real radio ). I truly believe that downwithdetroit is a great company and truly hope they prosper because I feel they represent Detroit well and have a quick witted sense of humor that works. I am glad you addressed this issue Terry because it would be truly sad if a few people looking for issues were able to affect a company who had no intentions what so ever to degrade a single race.


  2. tommy z Says:

    How unbelievably stupid for anyone to even remotely think this is racist. Once again its someone out there LOOKING for something,ANYTHING to play the race game..The whole Cornbread and Kool aid thing has been associated with the lions since the 90′s..One radio station always said Cornbread for the Lions apologist and the other radio station made up the drinking Lions Kool aid so not to use the Cornbread..

    Its absolutely annoying that people are always on the look out to make thing a racist topic even when it is no where near it..Its just sad


  3. Andre Says:

    No, this is not racist. As a black person I’m tired of my people crying racism about everything. False accusation make it difficult when there is truly a problem that need to be addressed. Racism is strong and going well, but we need to make sure when accuse someone of racism it’s actually true.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Amen Andre,
      This is the major problem. There will be times when we do need to debate racism and a number of people will simply tune it out because they believe some folks cry wolf all the time. You need to pick your spots


  4. Pat B. Says:

    I hope our boy Art Regner is earning royalties for the usage of “cornbread” as I believe he coined the term for Lions fans.


  5. Chris Short Says:

    I wouldn’t wear that shirt down here in North Carolina. Chances are the people calling it racist aren’t Detroit sports fans or rather, they’re not in on the joke and are taking it completely out of context. There are two ways to make this shirt patently not racist; 1) put a Lions logo on it or 2) make Kool-Aid and Cornbread show up on ESPN everyday as a Who Dat or Who Dey kind of phrase. Knowing what it’s about I don’t find it racist but I certainly believe other people would in our rather hyper-sensitive society.


  6. Jackie C. Says:

    Not racist at all, just a catch-phrase. It could easily have said ‘lathered up in Lions butter’.


  7. Bruce Brevitz Says:

    I wasn’t aware of the t shirt slogan but have seen several of their other ones. You are 100% on the money here. My high school buddies and I all live in different parts of the country. We graduated in 1984 but still joke about how our favorite NFL team will ALWAYS be the Lions. I think to a lot of people, any “Kool Aid” reference goes back to the Jim Jones tragedy in South America. People just lining up like sheep and without any thought, “taking the plunge”. Those who grew up with the Lions don’t have any Super Bowls to point to but we’ll one day get there. We’ll proudly point to all the years of shared suffering and say, “It was worth it.” Good blog.
    Bruce Brevitz- Stillwater, MN


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Thank you Bruce. I am glad you enjoy the blog. I dont even think people are thinking JIm Jones when they think of the Lions slappies that support the team. They are just thinking about how many Lion fans believe in their team no matter what.


  8. jeremy Says:

    I’ve never heard “cornbread” as a similar expression to ‘drinking the kool aid”. Therefore, it looks racist to me


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Where have you been? This has been a common phrase the past 10-15 years for Lion fans and on talk radio. In fact one of the guys who really pushed “eating the Lions cornbread” was black. It was no problem then and it is no problem now.


  9. Cory Says:

    Yah, Lion fans know what it means for sure but I don’t get how one could get racism out of it.


  10. Nathan McAlpine Says:

    Definitely not a racist shirt, people just like to complain. I am going to buy one of these bad boys though!


  11. angel Says:

    Where can you buy the t shirt at? My husband and I have been fans for years so the t definetly descibes us I want two please ..


  12. Joseph Terrell Says:

    I predicted the lions to beat the saints in a facebook post and said at the end “yes i am drinking the kool-aid”. It’s an expression.


  13. Lions Nut Says:

    Eric Pate was saying “eat the Coooornbread” in the 90′s, I’m black and I also get sick of the false cries of racism because it gives real racist an excuse to dismiss real racism. BTW GOOOO LIONS!!!! Nice site Terry I’ve been a fan of yours since my teens, I’m 34 now. You’re old, lol…


  14. sbyrstall Says:

    I’ll be honest, when the shirt showed up on FB this was THE very first time I ever saw this phrase. I must be listening to the wrong radio stations then because it must have been on a very small rated station because it was never repeated anywhere else.


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