Have authoritarian and racist groups coopted the US Steel logo?
July 6, 2018 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I've recently started seeing the US Steel logo on cars with other authoritarian (Blue Lives Matter) or racist (Jefferson) stickers. There is no steel industry remotely near where I live. Has the logo been co-opted with some hidden meaning, are the Steelers hot this year, or am I just experiencing Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?
posted by entropicamericana to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
US Steel is backing the Trump steel tariffs, even re-hiring because they say their business will benefit, which I think is probably of a piece with the general political attitude reflected in the other stickers.
posted by hollyholly at 8:50 AM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

OH! Fascinating ... thank you. I was picturing TJ/Sally Hemings messaging and thinking that was a bit esoteric for a bumper sticker.

Just my n=1, I haven't seen any particular uptick in USS-related things in my area (East Coast, not in Penn but close enough to it that there are plenty of Steelers fans in my orbit). I drive a fair amount through the South and can't ever recall seeing steelmark imagery. Sadly, most of the racist car stickers that I see aren't really subtle. :(

Maybe this is something more local to you? Now I'm really curious too!
posted by mccxxiii at 8:52 AM on July 6, 2018

The Steelers won like 8 million super bowls, and people from Southwest PA migrated away a lot over the years, so they're a team with tons of fans who have no immediate connection to Pittsburgh, just like the Dallas Cowboys did. I doubt most people with that logo on their car even know it's the logo for US Steel.
posted by dis_integration at 8:56 AM on July 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

The Steelers' logo is (essentially) the Steelmark, and while it was used at one point for U.S. Steel marketing, the Steelmark is different than the USS logo of U.S. Steel
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:48 AM on July 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Steelers diaspora. It's a thing. Also, a lot of people from places that don't have football teams seem to gravitate to the Steelers when picking someone to root for. Not always authoritarian shitbags. I believe Barack Obama is a Steelers fan due to growing up places without pro football teams.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:52 AM on July 6, 2018

I looked at the Hate Symbols Database; no Steelers.
posted by theora55 at 11:18 AM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was asking myself this question the other day because I saw an SUV with a bunch of Trump/Blue lives matter/other right-wing "make the libs cry"-type bumper stickers that also had this logo displayed prominently -- just the graphic, no words. The plain graphic seemed out of place (because everything else was political/right-wing with words) enough that I briefly wondered if it was a white supremacist logo or something, before twigging to the Steelers connection. Obviously it might just be people who happen to be Steelers fans, but I wanted to register another data point for the idea there's some further connection.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2018

Steelers fans are known for hating on Cleveland and Baltimore, but I haven’t seen Steelers fandom associated with racism here in Pittsburgh.
posted by Anne Neville at 6:10 AM on July 7, 2018

Pittsburgh itself is more liberal than the surrounding area, like many cities. We have problems with racism (just like everywhere else), but I don’t think it’s unusually bad here.
posted by Anne Neville at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2018

The "Proud Boys" colors are black and gold, IIRC... so that might indeed be a subtle nod.
posted by KazamaSmokers at 8:40 PM on July 7, 2018

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