If you’ve been reading the news in the Bay Area, there was a protest Thursday afternoon at the Abercrombie & Fitch store in San Francisco. The protest was in reaction to a new line of t-shirts that A&F recently released depicting stereotypical Asian caricatures.
“Two Wongs Can Make It White,” “Pizza Dojo,” and “Wok-N-Bowl” are just some of the slogans adorning these t-shirts. According to A&F spokespeople, the t-shirts were meant to be funny and non-offensive. After all, they polled some Asians in the office who thought they were funny, according to Abercrombie spokesman Hampton Carney said in an AP article. “It is not and never has been our intention to offend anyone.”
Well, the t-shirts certainly offended the hundreds of Asian-Americans who convened at the A&F store on the corner of Market and Powell to protest these shirts. Here’s a sampling of some of the pickets that were on prominent display:
- Boycott A&F
- Racist Marketing Is Not Funny
- Don’t Support Racism Don’t Shop At Abercrombie & Fitch
- Boycott A&F Racist
- Honk If You’re Not A Fitch Bitch
- Asian Markets pulling out!
- Clothing designers beware. Don’t mess with Asian-Americans!
- Racist Fashion Got To Go
- Don’t Profit From Raci$m
- Rasputin Music. www. freejohnwalker.net: From the “Impeach Clinton” picket guy
The fallout from the protests and the media coverage caused the company to pull out the t-shirt line. Next stop for the Wong Brothers Laundry Service t-shirts: eBay!
The media was well represented at the protest by professional TV stations, AP photogs, as well as amateur photographers and videographers. Out of that group, I saw a bunch of VX-2000’s, two EOS-1D’s, a couple of Nikon D1’s, and surprisingly a few Leica M6’s. There are still concerned photographers out there who shun the motor driver and auto-focus! The police was there as well, setting up barricades to the A&F store as a precautionary measure. There was no violence at the event, fortunately.
Here are some random thoughts from attending the event. I wonder how many of the protesters actually wore A&F clothing prior to this uproar. Everyone seems to say that the company caters to white, affluent, young adults. Their company catalogs and marketing ads always seems to depict beautiful blonde men and women. Does that mean that my Asian friends who like A&F clothes are trying to be white? What about the companies that manufacture their clothes out of sweatshops in Asia? If it’s not in your face, do we turn the other way?
What if an Asian company came out with a t-shirt design similar to “Two Wongs Can Make It White”? Would that be consider racist or at least prejudiced? Or, do the makers have the right or privilege to self-mockery because they are Asian? Would Asians buy the shirt and use these derogatory caricatures against their creators? Is there and should there be a double standard? I can see why some people were deeply offended by the t-shirts. At the same time, I can see how A&F thought that they were being funny and irreverent.
There are plenty more pictures from the event. Click on the link below to enter the photo gallery.
the shirts are cool
too bad you just don’t get it.
yes i am oriental (i mean, asian….)
— posted by lame @ Wednesday, April 24 2002, 18:38 pm CDT
Imagine being the only asian kid in an all-white highschool. Would you think it funny if someone wore this t-shirt to your class and all the other white people thought it was funny?
Young people have a challenging time establishing their identity. Anything that makes them feel apart (like being asian) is yet another challenge.
T-shirts like this certainly don’t make that easier.
— posted by Alan @ Wednesday, April 24 2002, 18:58 pm CDT
Would you put an African on the shirt with a spear saying “Ooogah Boogah!”. NO! and why? Because African-Americans would raise hell if anyone even thinks about it. These Shirts may be funny to some, but to Asian-Americans it perpetuates the image that our cultures (And thus Asians themselves) are backward and queer. It’s demeaning and also is indicative of a multitude of other prejudices that are rampant and unchecked in this country. Worse yet is the notion that it’s okay to have these stereotypes. So it is intelligent that we protest and protest loudly. We are not the model minority, we will not just sit down and take this. We’ll raise hell!
— posted by Kieno @ Wednesday, April 24 2002, 19:22 pm CDT
In response to the random thoughts by the author and the idea of the double standard:
Yes, if an Asian Company were to make a similar T-shirt, they would be racially prejudiced…However they would NOT be “Racist”. In America, Minorities may be racially prejudiced, but they can not be racist. Think about it…If someone calls a black man a “nigger” it means something…If someone calls a white man “Trash” or “redneck” it isn’t that big a deal. Why is that? Racism cannot exist without a ruling class and it’s social institutions. Given that two people are equal and live together in a vacuum, racial prejudices are nil. However if one of them used his power and status to oppress the other, then it is racism. Similar to when a stronger man uses his strength to dominate the other, and he mentally assaults the other man by constantly calling him a “wimp” or a “worm” or anything sub-human. Likewise if a certain clothing company had a large consumer base and were to perpetuate images that were untrue or exagerated they are using the power of their “institution” to broadcast this image. Then, willingly or unwillingly, this clothing company is racist because it reminds the ethnic group that they are a minority, are powerless, and are thought of as backward and possibly subhuman. I could go on, but if you have questions feel free to email them to me, I can field any question you can give.
— posted by Willy Nilly @ Wednesday, April 24 2002, 19:58 pm CDT
to the person who said yes i am oriental you are nothing but an asian in denial you like to be called oriental when you are asian? white washed
— posted by nguyen @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:00 am CDT
U know wat A&F is always about racism stuff, cause they r white- they thing all asian r chinese, wat the hell with that shit. We work hard, n they put that dam cartoon crap on a T-shirt, that is just wrong and we Asian just don’t take that stuff, and is not funny at all. If who ever that like A&F “YOU SUCK BITCH”
AND also to who ever wrote this: –“the shirts are cool
too bad you just don’t get it.
yes i am oriental (i mean, asian….)”
that person is a white washed **** *****
[ edited for content ]
— posted by Tom Nguyen @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:05 am CDT
STUPID ***** YOUR NOT EVEN ASIAN ANY ASiAN WOULD HATE BEING CALLED ORIENTAL WhAT THE **** ARE YOU **** CRACKER
[ edited for content ]
— posted by nguyen again @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:06 am CDT
Please, be easy on the language. Let’s strive for civilized discussion everyone. Thank you for your cooperation.
— posted by Adam Tow @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:10 am CDT
this one really offends me: “2 wongs make it white”
f*ck abercrombie… they did this because they think we won’t do nothin about it. well we proved them wrong.
— posted by a.o. @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:16 am CDT
to give the people who think the word ‘oriental’ something to think about…in london the word ‘asian’ is viewed as derogatory because they include Indians, who are also referred to as ‘blacks’ in london. chinese, koreans, japanese prefer the word oriental. who’s really being white washed? does it matter?
— posted by ??? @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:57 am CDT
i don’t think that the people who designed these slogans intended to make them offensive. as it turned out, it was offensive…very much so. it’s not their fault but i think it is best if they at least apologize. it is even better if they pull these items off the shelves because i, for one, will not purchase it…and i think a lot of people will agree with me. but let’s face it. they probably WON’T pull them off the shelves because we’re talking about millions of dollars worth of investments and profits here. these money-driven people will not let such a chance to pass them by. but i would love to be wrong!
— posted by may @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 0:59 am CDT
A&F actually did pull the t-shirts from the shelves, though they were on sale for two weeks prior to the uproar and media circus. Some of them are selling on eBay right now, in fact.
— posted by Adam Tow @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 1:03 am CDT
To all offended: GET A HOBBY!
— posted by Anon. @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 9:51 am CDT
What wrong wit funny shirt. Me think me laugh my arse off. Mr. Chin and I love Krazy American humor. Me love white women and welfare too
— posted by Dong Wang Shlong @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 11:16 am CDT
You people are insane. If somebody wears a shirt thats says black pride, brown pride, or asian pride that means that they are proud of who they are. but guess what if i wear a shirt that says white pride i’m a racist. you fuckin people can go go hell with your racist shit. im white and proud of it. you fuckin people come to this country and talk shit how americans are this and americans are that you dont like it fuckin leave. if you want to stay learn how to speak english.
— posted by Nobody @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 11:58 am CDT
Hey, I’m not asian (at all) and I do find the shirts funny…to a certain extent. I love the asian culture (I speak some japanese, have visited japan and the philippines, eat asian food with chopsticks, shop at lee’s oriental foods, take kung-fu classes, grow bamboo on my desk, and have koi too)…and I don’t think that asian’s are backwards at all. I’ve always thought that we (the whites) are a bunch of morons a lot of the time, and that asians were a lot smarter in many ways. While some asians do own laundromats..etc, we forget that they make the best cars (honda, toyota, acura) and give american’s a run for their money when it comes to smarts and technology..I go to RIT (rochester institute of technology) and many of my friends are from asia. But mocking a whole culture (AF sells mainly to white ppl…so their intents were most likely a “joke” about a minority of asians ((who by the way work really hard as imigrants))). So, to all who think that asians are dumb…think again…and look at yourself
— posted by Craig @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 12:12 pm CDT
***Warning- insistent semi-coherent rambling. read at own risk***
Racism is very serious in all of its forms. Willy Nilly posted earlier “If someone calls a white man “Trash” or “redneck” it isn’t that big a deal.” If someone called me either of these, or my own personal favorite “cracker” i would be deeply offended and basically pissed off. One of the best ways to take the power away from racial commentary however is to provide humor or familiarty to it, just like the african-american population has done with the term “n****r”. They put a spin on its pronunciation, and incorpreated(i cant spell) into everyday slang as a way to greet a friend, or to refer to a friend, hence taking away its racist power by by incorperrating(im getting closer) it into their culture. Racist comments only have power when people people choose to make a big deal of it. I very much doubt the Ambercrombie designers just woke up one day and decided “hey, lets make fun of asian people”. This line of clothing was put out with good intentions and to hopefully put some smiles on people from all ethnicities(again, cant spell) faces. To sum up these entire rant in in eight words- PEOPLE JUST NEED TO LIGHTEN THE F*** UP.
— posted by Very bored college freshman @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 12:19 pm CDT
who gives a crap what a t-shirt says on it. anyone who actually thinks this is a big deal needs to shut their mouth. were at war and all you can think about is a stupid shirt. shut the hell up you stupid asians.
— posted by eat my ass @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 12:54 pm CDT
I agree with the last 2 statements posted above. And the one posted by Nobody, Hi honey. Just because you live in this country doesn’t automatically make you an American. And don’t make any assumptions about me, just listen first. My grandparents and great grandparents (and so on) fought very hard to protect the rights and freedoms that this country stands for. Granted I am white and proud of it, but my ancestors, like most peoples in this country immigrated from another country. But when they got here, they fought and worked very hard to “earn” the privilege to be called an American. And its exactly that, a privilege, not a right. I am totally for the diversity of people in this great country, it is what makes America great. And quite frankly, people need to lighten up. Have a sense of humor for Christ sake. When clothing companies came out with shirts that had a trailer printed on the front with the word white trash posted on the front, everyone thought it was funny, nobody complained. When Master P made the video OOWEE and had the white folks all decked out in hick gear with their teeth blacked out, nobody said a damn thing. But the minute a “predominately white” clothing company comes out with a shirt that has something funny posted on it about “Asians” or “Orientals” all hell breaks lose. You all are more than happy to flaunt the A&F clothing any other time, being mainly because its an expensive line of clothing and you feel the need to be “better” than the rest of us. And now you want to whine about something that they posted on the front of their t-shirts. People come to this country for “equal rights” but expect to be treated with a higher level of consideration than the rest of us. If you want the “right” to be called American, work for it. Join the military. Learn English and speak it. Work for a living and working the government for welfare doesn’t apply. And I’m not aiming these comments to the Asians or Orientals. Its anyone that comes to this country, takes advantage of the privileges and then talks shit about the way that we do things, granted things could be done differently. But your lucky, we are all lucky, to be a part of this country. If you think it would be better somewhere else, then go. It’s not going to hurt us any. More room for the rest of us. It’s just sad when people get so petty about such little things. Grow a brain that allows you to experience a little something called a sense of humor.
— posted by s_XXX_y @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 12:59 pm CDT
— posted by Lohser @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 13:47 pm CDT
This is not racism.. what about the other shirts that celebrate culture? I see italian pizza shirts, canadian shirts, hippie shirts… rap urban shirts open your mind.. this isn’t prejudice.. perhaps wanting to have a shirt that says two wongs makes a white – compliments some asian laundry company? stop playing the ‘don’t pick on me’ game everyone wants to be special but don’t just into the victim role just cause you are bored I’m a white new englander of mixed eastern european descent to me it doesn’t matter what race, religion (don’t get me started there), or background you are from.. we are all equal- it’s your actions and tolerance that make us who we are.
get a life you people playing victims- what do you want next? you want my job because you are a minority and even if i’m more skilled at it?? stop the madness :p
we are all americans! don’t give yourself extra special status because you are of a certain race. We are all equals.. this is like reverse dscrimination. (visitors and foreigners.. just respect our country like any other – enjoy but respect our laws).
— posted by Open Minded @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 14:41 pm CDT
oh and using the word n***er for a colored person really isn’t a euphemism.. nor is it a celebrated slang term.. it’s silly it’s disrepectful – something older black people agree on and younger hip hop kids like since it’s rebellious.. but when a white person says the word (which i think is bad) it’s derogatory. i say – don’t say it.. it’s lame and especially hypocritcal to celebrate werd
— posted by open minded @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 14:53 pm CDT
Don’t be ridiculous. They’re funny- not offensive! Just because you made this an issue, I guarantee MORE of these shirts will sell. I, personally, just bought 3. HA! And if it makes a difference, I plan on purchasing them as gifts for my friends with summer birthdays. GROW UP!
— posted by Oh COME ON @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 14:55 pm CDT
I feel that it wasnt the Phrase Wong’s laundry—there had to be at least ONE named that– it was the awful stereotyped images of asians on the shirt that personally offended me,,,a white american christian male (begin your letter of hate directed at me,,,,NOW)Racism in all forms is wrong and the shirt was not intended to be racist–how they thought it wouldnt offend people I dont know–and on a certain level it is funny,,I can laugh at the endless jokes made at white peoples expenseon TV and in movies even though they are equally as racist,,and the shirt was pulled the right thing was done end of story–I never liked Abercrombie to begin with they’re too expensive
— posted by James Baker @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 14:59 pm CDT
There’s been some good, civil discussion thus far. Keep it up! In the meantime, check out this article from the Harvard Crimson. Very interesting read into one store’s strategies for maintaining the A&F “look”:
— posted by Adam Tow @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 15:04 pm CDT
racism is about a majority oppressing a minority. As a white male in America remembering our seedy history of racial oppression and massacres and slavery, I feel bad for these people. Sorry, as a Buddhist, i was offended by a&f’s shirt making light of my religion. Do you think any of you right wing christians would like Christ on a shirt dancing around and all that? No, that would be sacreligious. You all have your rights to opinions on abercrombie and all that, and here is mine: their clothing quality sucks, their prices are high, and now their moral standard sucks. I never shopped there before, and now i would never even go in the store. And i am white! Now think of how offended the asian community must feel.
People on here telling people to shut the hell up need to maybe read the constitution a bit or remember that minorities are not to be trampled on, as the gov’t is supposed to protect the rights of minorities. You don’t like that, go away. The asians have the right to protest, just as whites do if trash or cracker stereotypes were on shirts. But, as a majority, and a majority with such a seedy history, our voice would come off as being bratty. Sorry, just looking out for the “little guys” the minorities.
— posted by tim suha @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 15:05 pm CDT
I HATE CROMBIE I SUPPORT YOU!!!!!
— posted by crombie hater @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 15:18 pm CDT
it’s said.. reverse discrimination- thinking all these people that don’t mind the shirts are right winged white christians. I’m a non winged AGNOSTIC caucasian who’s mom is catholic and dad is jewish. My catholic grandparents had their share of anti semitism. Why don’t people drop the lines, race, color, creed.. we are all equal. I think some minorities jump at the chance to act victimized. I see this all the time. In fact it makes me think I’m not as special since I’m not a minority. Why can’t I play the victim and feel special?
But about these shirts.. when I see them I think of celebrating asian culture from the past like movies, some stereotypes from the past, etc – Which I think are mostly harmless to an open minded person wearing the shirt. I loved Big trouble in little china! I loved the guy who did my laundry down the street even if he did look sorta like the shirt images in some way! I would definately hit up a pizza dojo. I love kung fu movies and anime – most are asian? so? Celebrate culture.. this isn’t meaning take offense thinking all the imagery is derogatory. And perhaps some stereotyping is bad.. but don’t be so quick to jump in front of the speeding bus and claim being a victim! My boss has a shirt in his office saying “Jesus saves! and shows him play basketball” Does that offend christians? I think tolerance is needed and people need to lighten up. Please stop claiming you are a victim until you really are victimized and guess what it might not be because of your race, color, creed. it could be wrong place wrong time. Hey professors! why don’t people talk about the backlash of false victimizing? False claims toward bigotry? We are see things different , wether we act on them in a positive or negative is what matters. And in this case two wongs can make (a?) it white.. doesn’t jump out at me as takes two wongs to make a white.. more like these two laundry guys who happen to be asian make your clothes white! not even saying they are a certain social class. hell i’d love to own my own store. Why do people jump at the chance to feel victimized at the slightest pattern (stereotype is too harsh of a word). Think about it.. it’s hypocrtical to cry wolf when you are in fact judging that some interpretation is prejudice, when it’s a broad and open interpretation.
— posted by open minded @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 15:42 pm CDT
i’d buy a shirt with jesus dancing on it.. even if i was catholic. but dancing around is not insulting. I’d even wear a shirt with my personal god on it dancing around… what about south park and jesus vs satan shows? we need to lighten up.. if it’s not a direct smash at our or someone else’s ideologies then don’t try to make it one.
— posted by open minded @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 15:49 pm CDT
Being half-Asian and all…I don’t see the shirts as THAT bad, nothing to make a RIOT at an A&F store. So they make a play on Asian English pronunciation…or shall I say “Engrish” without people getting offended. Maybe it’s “Konglish” or “Janglish”…”Chinglish”? People are concerned with forming a group that they belong to, and that’s perfectly understandable humanity. Did LG Electronics get sued for putting “Supermodel Easy” on ads for their products along with a cute supermodel caricature? Are they saying that models are stupid? It’s just a shirt, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. The discrimination starts when a person wants to force another into sharing his views, and the world just doesn’t work like that. Somewhere, SOMEONE is going to be wearing that shirt, and LIKING IT. Lighten up.
— posted by S @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:30 pm CDT
so, according some of these comments, asians should just relax and accept the joke, you’re white washed if you say your oriental and it is a priviledge to live here, after many generations then we can call ourselves American, til then, learn to speak english… Ok, so my family has been here for four generations, so I’m American now, I’m also part chinese, and prefer that misnomer since my ancestors are of the Orient, and I think the shirts are humourous, yet deragatory, and our society, white, black, asian, native american, whatever, as a whole, is not mature enough to handle any kind of racial humour…
— posted by trying to understand @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:34 pm CDT
and no part of me is white, but i understand some points of view, but to those who exclaim “leave if you can’t take it”, think of how your greatgrandparents felt when they were struggling with english
— posted by trying to understand @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:36 pm CDT
To all the sell-out Asians other there,
You make me sick. You should be ashame of yourself. You long too eagerly to be white that you actually forgot about your own damn identity and culture. I despise you all!!! And no longer should Asians be viewed as passive and quiet. We will raise hell!!!
— posted by ayuen @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:41 pm CDT
I love kinky chinkys
— posted by James @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:44 pm CDT
This thing has turned into a media circus since day one because it was a very slow news day. There are shirts everyday that are making of Jesus, White people and jews. Go to tshirthell.com and see what I mean. I am not all up in arms because I can see the light side of the whole issue. Don’t these protestors have jobs and/or lives? Whatever damage they claim has been one has already been done because A&F got free promotion as an on-edge corporation. As a marketting graduate student and looking at their intended market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their sales go up because of this. Up to this time, A&F has been slightly edgy but now, they have taken it to the edge, so far they have even offended groups. And their teenage, slightly rebelious sales base will love the whole image they are creating with this whole protest. The protesters just disproved their point: “racism” (in its variety of comprehended forms) is funny when used right. A&F did it right and A&F is going to come out on top
— posted by a guy who thinks you’re all taking this thing too far @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:47 pm CDT
i am too good for you white trash!
— posted by ayuen @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:53 pm CDT
it’s weird seeing minorites battling amongst themselves… we should value different views i really dislike someone saying white washed.. it’s silly.. are you saying some asians are more like me? white? and not true to their culture/race? at what point do people fear becoming more of a mix of many cultures? this diverseness becoming less diverse? are you all that scared? who said asians are passive and quiet? isn’t that stereotyping in itself?
and the comment on maturity. i think no one can say we are not ready for humorous cultural depictions.. it’s a free country as long as we don’t condemn people on being different. these shirts don’t condemn anyone! Are we all mentally ready for free thought? well then again some people are and some people aren’t, but obvious some people are trying to condemn how we think.
Can someone please pick a shirt and tell me the most obvious racial depiction remark on them? I have seen most of them and don’t see why someone can 100% condemn them. Please help a non asian understand. It helps to think that we are also not living in the past. Slavery, chain gangs, etc don’t exist anymore in the US – thank gaud!
— posted by open minded @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:55 pm CDT
I HAVE SOME THEORIES ON WHY ABERCROMBIE MADE THE SHIRT:
1 – TO TURN OFF THE ASIANS WHO WEAR ABERCROMBIE, THUS MAKING IT AN ALL-CAUCASIAN BRAND (remember Hilfiger) 2 – TO LIVE UP TO THE STANDARD OF ABERCROMBIE ON THE ANGLO-SAXON LOOK – BANISHING “others” 3 – ANOTHER FORM OF HURDLE TO KEEP ASIANS FROM BEING THE BEST ETHNIC GROUP THIS NATION EVER “welcomed”
I AM ASIAN, DAMN PROUD TO BE. TO SAY THAT ASIANS ARE DUMB IS LIKE SAYING BIRDS DONT HAVE WINGS. TO THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO POST MESSAGES—-YOU’RE DUMBNESS SHOWS THROUGH BY WRITING HERE…WHEN WILL YOU GUYS EVER LEARN HOW TO SPELL? pathetic.
— posted by Crestquest @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 16:57 pm CDT
ABERCROMBIE N FITCH COULD KISS MAI *SS!!! ALL THOSE WHO R AZN DAT LYKE ABERCROMBIE N FITCH SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF DEMSELVES.YALL R NOT TRUE AZNS DEN. I SUPPORT ALL OF YALL WHO R AGAINST DERE SHITY CLOTHES!!
— posted by nguyen @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 17:40 pm CDT
Ok, this is to everyone but most importantly to Crestquest…if you”re going to accuse someone of being a bad speller, you better make sure you yourself spell shit right. “YOU”RE DUMBNESS SHOWS THROUGH BY WRITING HERE” Let”s see what is wrong with this sentence…oh, that”s it, you”re is a contraction of you and are, so Crestquest, what you are really saying is “YOU ARE DUMBNESS SHOWS THROUGH BY WRITING HERE.”
Let me declare who I am before I ramble on further…I am half-white, half-hispanic. I am an open minded person, and I tend to judge others by their attitude and personality, not by their race. Given that, I believe that all those who are offended by this are just as racist as they believe the makers of the shirt to be. Ayuen sums this up perfectly: “I am too good for you white trash.” Well, you know what? Fuck you. If you think you”re better than us “white trash,” go prove it. Don”t flap your jaws, but go out and be a better man.
In conclusion, the shirt did make me do a “double-take” when I saw it, but upon thinking about it more, it really isn”t a big deal given the amount of advertisements and products there are out there which hit up on a different race. Get over it.
And learn how to fucking spell and speak english, all of you (white trash included).
— posted by Alex @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 17:45 pm CDT
For Christ’s sake its just a T Shirt. I will continue to support this company as I have been for the past 3 years.
— posted by John Smith @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 18:13 pm CDT
To all the Fellow Asian homeboys and homegirls out there: Don’t ever let others call us “minorities”. We’re the most dominated people on this fawking planet. We’re the majority. Other idiots calls us minorities are just some dumb crackheads. Notice we Asians are not the ones that’s on welfare the most. It’s mostly white trash.
— posted by Chinese Fury @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 18:26 pm CDT
Abercrombie and Fitch……..My opinion? I never liked that shitty store anyway, Too bland-ass boring and their shirts only say “Abercrombie and Fitch.” They just want money and by exploiting Asians, they get it. And by winning dumb ass supporters, they breed more to their racist kind. Well, I just say “Fuck them!” and leave it at that! And as for my feelings towards the shirts, I am white, but my Uncle is Japanese. I felt as though they were stereotyping my uncle. But I just shrugged my shoulders and said “Well, I never liked that shit company anyways”. and let it go at that.
— posted by Allison @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 18:49 pm CDT
mostly to “Crestquest”– You really think that A&F would consciously choose to alienate an entire ethnic group? What kind of business would they be running then? And if a fucking t-shirt keeps you from being the “best ethnic group”, then you’re pretty fucking weak.
Isn’t it just as racist to decide that all asians are smart, and white people dumb white trash? (although I notice the “azn” after you didn’t quite have your finesse with the language) oh, and it should be “your dumbness”…YOU’RE DUMBNESS SHOWS THROUGH BY WRITING…broad generalizations are just not a good plan.
In any case, sure the shirt was racist and stupid, but that’s A&F for you.
— posted by someone else @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 19:54 pm CDT
— posted by whatever @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:06 pm CDT
To ALEX- the “half white-half Hispanic”. I think as the ONE DROP RULE states, you are not white unless you are pure white, even if you look like one. So you are not in the position to stand for the WHITE people. Why dont you try defending your “other half” – the Hispanic race who are more severely stereotyped as low-paid workers who do all the dirty job in all corners of the country. OOPS. WOW. this makes me even PROUDER to be an Asian– at least we are not disadvantaged in the PROFESSIONAL arena. Comparatively, we get a good share of the so-called American pie. THANK YOU. Muahz
— posted by Crestquest @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:08 pm CDT
ok here is my opinion. i am a little over half indian and when people make fun of my heritage i get mad. and this whole t-shirt circus is uncalled for because it shouldnt have ever happened because everyone in america is racist. just because i look white doesnt mean i am. we are a country of many nationalities. Irish Japanese Chinese African and yet we are all “American’s” you dont have to earn your right to be called that. this is the land of the free and home of the brave. and in light of this we need to stand up for all those who say becaue we have a majority to supress the minority that it is the reason for racism. wrong. because i get called everyname at school so everyone respect your neighbor and grow up
— posted by josh @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:11 pm CDT
Just a word of warning. There is a content filter running on the comments section that will prevent from posting any message which contains an inordinate amount of profanity or inappropriate language.
Please keep this in mind when writing your comments. There are clearly many sides to this discussion, and I’d like for everyone to be able to communicate their opinions *without* resorting to personal attacks or foul language.
— posted by Adam Tow @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:13 pm CDT
I’m Asian (Korean to be specific) and I’ve purchased the graphic tees ‘Pizza DoJo’ and ‘two wongs make it white’. I didn’t find this offending at all, rather I found it humorous. If it’s this obvious, it’s meant to be laughed off, not to be taken seriously. However I do understand those who oppose these shirts..well..I’m not white washed, or into racism. Anyways, I hope things go well between A&F and Asians.
— posted by Jeff M. @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:21 pm CDT
***More semi-coherent, slightly insane rambling***
Well, arent we having the heated discussion here. Well first off and to start the insane rant, racism isn’t exactly beating down on the minority groups of a nation, racism is hate and/or ignorance directed towards someones race, religion, sex, or beliefs. A minority group can be just as racist as a majority, and so forth. Racism is a trait of the ignorant, and that is exactly what many of the people on this string are showing themselves to be by some of the comments that they are spewing out to be -ignorant. Pointing fingers at each other and calling each other “white trash”, or “stupid asians” isn’t going to solve a damn thing, only make it worse, and thats the fucking problem with this country today, everyones to busy pointing fingers saying “they said that”, or “oohh, they did that” without ever realizing how fucking ignorant they are being themselves. I say this in referance to ALL ethnicities(and i cant spell, now everybody point and laugh). Another point, any person who lashes out at another member of his own race because he likes a certain brand of clothing and claims they aren’t true asians, not to mention names(nguyen..sorry dude just slipped out)is just a fucking idiot. I happen to have several asian friends that would wear some of these shirts because of what they say on them, and if anyone ever told any of them, asian or not, that they werent true asians for wearing that, they’d probably smack that persons teeth out, and id probably be right there helping them do it.(geez, now im getting violent) Anyway, i think ive rambled on enough, final thoughts- -I agree with James, kinky chickys do kick ass -Chinese Fury, quick grammer check(im trying to help you out) “We’re the most dominated people on this fawking planet.” lose the ED in dominated, you want dominant. Which is true, Asians do make up the largest part of the world’s population, but your little mistake makes it sound like you saying they are the most oppressed people on the planet(which im not sure, dont quote me on this, might be true also considering all of the socialist and communist modeled gov’ts in Asia, namely China, which is a different matter, because thats not oppression from another race, but asian govt’s oppressing asians, blah, blah, blah) -While were going on racial pride, asians arent the best group “welcomed in the US”, its all about the Irish baby!(God invented whiskey and scotch for the sole purpose of preventing the Irish and Scottish from conquering the world) -PEOPLE NEED TO LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP!!!
— posted by Very bored and now slightly disturbed college freshman @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:53 pm CDT
CrestQuest is a tool.
— posted by Bored College Freshman @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 20:57 pm CDT
Crestquest – Why should I feel the need to defend just the hispanics who are doing the dirty jobs in the world that nobody wants? There are also whites, and asians, and blacks, doing the same thing, and I have a hell of a lot of respect for them. Even though they aren’t educated, they work to make a living. As for your stereotype, that’s pathetic, you realize that there are also asians doing dirty jobs (as I stated above). I’m proud to be part Hispanic, yet I’m also proud to be part white, I’m proud to be American, and I am damn proud to be an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Grow up, you’re going to have to sooner or later.
— posted by Alex @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 21:33 pm CDT
This forum certainly isn’t solving anything..
— posted by Jeff M. @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 21:46 pm CDT
I find it slightly ironic… The offended Asians leaving comments trying to offend everybody else. Oh, keep it up guys, that’s sure to solve the problem. sheesh. As for the comments that only “majority groups” can be racist… BS! Too many people do take it too far though. Instead of moving past racism, they get stuck on something small and keep the cycle of racism going. Go ahead, call me a “cracker”. Stick and stones…
— posted by a fly on the wall @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 21:51 pm CDT
I got nothing but love towards everyone baby :)
— posted by Some Asian.. @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 21:52 pm CDT
Yesterday i saw one of these tee shirts for the first time. Perhaps some background, im a junior in high school, as many of you may know high school is a place where you feel the need to fit in, coming from my point of view, yes these shirts are messed up. A and F should be recall them and apologize. Yet it should be said, i find certain other shirts just as offending, these range from the Aeropostal line that use some chinese characters thats not that bad u may say, but what really ticks me off is when they write the rest of the tshirt (in english) so it represents brush strokes etc. The truth is that we are surrounded on all sides by small forms of racism, prejudice, etc. and i have learned to cope, as ignorant as i may seem, if you don’t care about it it can’t hurt you. I am proud to be chinese japanese and korean, also i get crap like being called an asian mutt etc and other shit like that. but i am indifferent, because i have taken so much of this needless stuff/junk that anymore might make me turn my head but nothing else. I hate these shirts yes, but i feel that it wasn’t only A and F’s fault, they are a company and they are trying to capatilze on a profitable sector of fashion, racist as it may be. – joel chang
— posted by Joel Chang @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 22:06 pm CDT
Being American isnt being just White, everyone should know that. Europeans came here, killed off the Native americans and then ripped some lands from the Mexicans and thats how it became. I myself am a 1/2 Asian 1/2 White male in middle school, and I have pride for both of my ethnic cultures. People should know though that we are all one country of diversity. The T-Shirts, I didnt find to be too offensive. They were indeed sterio typical but Abercrombie and Fitchtook them away. The designer was asain by the way. Still some of the things said earier are very untrue. Just because you are white, youre not American. Just because you can speak English, your not American. And you dont have to do either of these things to be an American! Thats why it is a great country, because of deversity between common people.
— posted by Kevin Shintaku @ Thursday, April 25 2002, 22:15 pm CDT
I have a side comment to make: why do people feel the need to call themselves “Asian/American” or “African/American” or “Mexican/American”? If you are living in the USA, with the intent to stay, then you are American. If you are not sure if you intend to stay, pick one: either you are “name of other race” or you are American, not both. I do not believe you can be both in any circumstance.
I believe the practice of being “other/American” began when Americans with black skin got thin-skinned and didn’t want to be called “black” anymore. I also believe that if you feel so strongly about your racial heritage that you want to be called “other/American” then you could save yourself and others a lot of grief if you would actually go and live in that other place, and just be called whatever that race is.
I believe in the statement “If you don’t like it, leave,” but I also believe that it applies to everything, not specifically where you live. Make your decisions and live with them. Not making a decision is still a decision.
About me: I’m American. It doesn’t matter what color skin I have or what language I speak. Where I reside (America) defines what I call myself.
And that is as simple as I can make it.
— posted by FNU LNU – First Name Unknown, Last Name Unknown @ Friday, April 26 2002, 0:06 am CDT
Needless to say, if A&F’s true intentions were not to offend anyone, they sure did one lazy job of figuring out how to be funny with out hurting others. Sure, they did a great job of talking to a few people for a sheer 45 seconds(at most) at got a humrous reply. For heaven’s sake, if they disagreed wouldn’t their jobs obviously be in a deeper state of jeopardy disregarding their status at the moment? Someone slap this guy and wake him up! There are liberal people in the world and smile and maybe even laugh at the subject at hand. But why doesn’t A&F open up their eyes and figure out the fact that the average human can’t look at their race being made fun of and receive a dent in their pride? Once again, slap.
— posted by Danny Cheon @ Friday, April 26 2002, 1:42 am CDT
I used to work at Abercrombie and Fitch and after seeing the logos I was very offended. I’m not asian but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that a company thinks that they can get away with racism and make money off of it. They market to a young maliuable audience. Doen’t let them succeed.
— posted by Alex Lopez-Barton @ Friday, April 26 2002, 2:05 am CDT
I say you guys shouldn’t worry about it.
— posted by No Green Card No work @ Friday, April 26 2002, 2:09 am CDT
did anyone try to answer my question- what text or images on these shirts do you truly find derogatory? I’d like to know. Is it bad that a non asian american wants to own a asian logo/style tshirt like those aeropostale shirts? I think the artwork on the aeropostale brush work is something to admire. And I’m I ignorant to saw that some of the imagery taht steretypes asians on these shirts might come from past artwork? Maybe cartoonerized (?) but perhaps this wasn’t mean to be interpretted as a bad stereotype? but poking fun at stereotyping? how about we lay off the insults and talk constructively here. Since when did we draw lines about races, social classes, religion to saw someone is better than another person or of lower stature? People just assume and prejudge too much.
— posted by open minded @ Friday, April 26 2002, 9:05 am CDT
wow.. I should spell check my comments. I have many type-os.. I typed it up fast :)
— posted by open minded @ Friday, April 26 2002, 9:08 am CDT
Hey, in response to the talk about grandparents and parents trying to learn english while living here…I agree..it is really hard to learn a language…especially when your “survival” requires that you speak it now and fluently. When I went to guatemala for several weeks, the people there were very understanding of my not so fluent spanish (I am white, Amerian, gringo..whatever you want to call me), but they did occasianly laugh if I said something that was funny. Rather than take it as an insult, I remembered how it was sometimes funny when they tried to speak english and mixed up some homophones (words that sound alike with different meanings). SEveral of my friends here at skool are from japan or korea or china…when they say something wrong, I don’t pick at them…but try to help them learn, but when something really funny is said, both of us laugh when we realize the true meaning and their intended meaning. I can’t imagine what it might be like to have to go to school where the main language is a second language for you. Before you pick on somebody though..try to learn a second language, and then speak it to somebody who knows that language as a first language…and see how hard it is. Or, visit a different country and try to live there for several weeks…I’ve done it…and it isn’t easy, and gives you a better outlook on life.
While I may be the “typical” american..I don’t like abercrombie…and haven’t ever since I knew they existed. They seek to create a monopoly of “preppy, sexy, exclusive” people…and I didn’t want to be another cookie from the cookie cutter. So, look at this from two sides…if somebody does play on your broken speaking of a tongue…take it in stride…but if they attempt to profit it from your trials/work/mistakes, then don’t associate yourself. Whether you like the shirts or not, you must admit that (to a certain extent…merely just a play on words like the kids books “amelia bedelia”) the shirts were funny. However, those who took it as racism towards asians, maybe you should look at how people in other countries poke at americans. Every culture (yes, yours too) laughs at other cultures. When both cultures laugh together, it’s okay, but when one culture laughs directly at the core of another, it is wrong. But when you think about it, every culture has their little things, that when you think really hard about, they are kind of silly.
— posted by Craig @ Friday, April 26 2002, 12:18 pm CDT
Asians are so silly. They whine and scream about everything. I wish they would just all go home to Asia!
— posted by Yoyoyo @ Friday, April 26 2002, 12:45 pm CDT
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen…
— posted by Hung TuWell @ Friday, April 26 2002, 14:01 pm CDT
If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch…
— posted by Hung Tuwell @ Friday, April 26 2002, 14:05 pm CDT
This kind of stuff makes me sick. You guys come over here and live for a gnats life and think that it makes this your country. We’re kind enough to let all you folks in, even though we can’t take care of our own. Feel priveleged that you live in a free society and not in commie-cozzie china town. Be thankful!
— posted by Hung Tuwell @ Friday, April 26 2002, 14:12 pm CDT
It’s like that one part of the lyrics to that song…”I like girls who wear Abercombie & Fitch, Chinese food makes me sick”…What the freak is that!? It never stops…but the Asian Community doesn’t have to always be the “model minority” and just take the hits…
— posted by Model Minority @ Friday, April 26 2002, 14:54 pm CDT
umm…all that protesting is such bullshit. those shirts aren’t even racist and i have tons of asian friends who want to buy them. you guys blew the whole thing way out of proportion. asians are some of the most racist people i know, and all of a sudden something offends you and you go as far as to protest and ban these shirts, wtf is wrong with your people. yes, i’ll say that you do produce some fine automobiles, but too bad none of you can drive them properly. this is america not china, we have the right of free speech and you guys need to quit your bitching or go back to china.
— posted by str8ridah @ Friday, April 26 2002, 14:58 pm CDT
I wonder if Yoyoyo is a krackerass kracker. If so, then your people like to steal property, make them your own, and whine when it happens to themselves. Oh let’s take North America for example, and when Mexico attempted to expand. Oh how about the World War II and the entire Cold War and yes I am talking about both sides because Russians are krackers. I could name more examples if need be.
I wish all the krackers would just all go home to Russia!
And str8ridah, you are not asian and so you do not know what offends our people or not. Abercrombie & Fitch decided to ban the shirt after our demonstrations. Obviously, they did not firmly believe the shirt was unoffensive or else they would have stuck by their product. Your cheap stab at Asians only show what a hater you are. If something offends us, as a people, we have a right to protest it because this is the United States. Yes this is America, not China, and freedom of speech is a two way street. If you don’t like it, go back to where you came from.
— posted by geezer @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:18 pm CDT
^^ geezer’s comment above just goes to prove my point that asians are some of the most racist people on the planet.
— posted by str8ridah @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:20 pm CDT
The devil in me arises from time to time when racist individuals attempt to put my people down. I put it down for China.
— posted by geezer @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:24 pm CDT
geezer probably attends UC Irvine a.k.a. the University of Chinese Imigrants a.k.a. the University of Civics and Integras
— posted by str8ridah @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:30 pm CDT
God dammit str8ridah you know I put it down for UCLA, go Bruins.
Not that there is anything wrong with UCI, it’s tier 1. More than I can say about some of the universities, or lack thereof, in New Albany, OH.
— posted by geezer @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:39 pm CDT
oh you mean UCLAsia? the point of the matter is that the shirts were hardly racist. don’t tell me you don’t hear or see worse things than that going on around you on a daily basis. the shirts aren’t degrading asians, they merely depict asian related art. its the same thing as urban clothing companies who put african american art on their shirts, and you don’t see african americans protesting. i’m sure if abercrombie was an asian company you people would have no objections, but since they’re not you see them as a threat. this is just another case of your race striving to be better than everybody else and the fact of the matter is you sound like a bunch of whinning little kids.
— posted by str8ridah @ Friday, April 26 2002, 15:49 pm CDT
The “Asian-related art” you refer to is hardly flattering. I highly doubt that the Asians in San Luis Obispo wear straw hats everywhere so perhaps you would like to explain why Asians and straw hats fit so well together in your view. Of course this is a rhetorical question; I know where you get this notion. It is from the perpetuation of racist stereotypes that depict Asians being eccentric and old-fashioned. You think we are “whinning little kids” for protesting yet A&F pulled the shirts so swiftly that it can hardly be said we were ever wrong to protest. Perhaps you have Asian-envy and hate it whenever we are right.
You claim that Asians strive to be better than everybody else, yet I claim we are no better nor worse. There are individuals in every race that need to be better than others. I cannot say I know any personally that are so arrogant.
But let’s take you str8ridah. Perhaps you would like to put it down for your people and let it be known which culture you belong to. Firstly, I believe you have a problem. In the past, your sister has always been handed down your old computer whenever you purchased a brand new one. But recently your father purchased your sister a new computer and for the first time, yours is not as powerful and you have asked your dad for a new one this summer. You might have an inferiority complex. You sound like a whining little kid.
— posted by geezer @ Friday, April 26 2002, 16:16 pm CDT
A and F also made a shirt that said ‘SOber’ you dont see alcohalics protesting it. Its a joke!! Blonde dont protest everytime they hear a blonde joke!! Get over it.. its just a shirt!! (feel free to e-mail me with your comments
— posted by Mary @ Friday, April 26 2002, 17:13 pm CDT
I posted the above comment my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org it didnt show up…
— posted by Mary @ Friday, April 26 2002, 17:14 pm CDT
Oh yeah, all yall saying that abercrombie is a white frat boys company is sooo racist too!! HYPOCRITES!!
— posted by mary @ Friday, April 26 2002, 17:28 pm CDT
Those shirts are absolutely ridiculous. It is obvious that this company has an absolute disregard to good taste. Asian men and women already must deal with unwanted stereotypes, those shirts do not help the situation. In fact, it is good evidence of the undercurrent stereotype of asian people.
Whether these t-shirts fall under the category or racist is irrelevant. The fact that they are offensive is enough reason to discontinue production. They promote an unwanted stereotype of asian people, one in which both asian americans and asian canadians must fight every single day.
To comment on the views of str8ridah, his opinions are sadly misguided. He is either poorly educated or just plain ignorant. Obviously he has some deep seeded resentment with asian people. I hope str8ridah can open his mind, become more culturally aware of the sensitivity of the issue instead of giving in to ignorance.
— posted by Terrence from Canada @ Friday, April 26 2002, 23:11 pm CDT
Morons will be morons — on both sides of the fence.
— posted by eric @ Saturday, April 27 2002, 0:22 am CDT
as far as the term “white washed”. . .
(i resist labling myself but in this case i will) i’m “white” (more or less) and my culture is basically western european and the dominant ‘american’ culture. when someone of asian descent, however, adopts some of the traditions or behaviors generally associated with my culture, they risk being called “white washed”. i am mildly offended by this because it implies a belief that it’s wrong for someone asian to behave in certain ways, that an asian person who does this is somehow lowering himself. i’ve adopted many typically asian behaviors, and i know that if someone called me ‘yellow washed’ as an insult i would be horrified.
we are lucky to have the opportunity to view other cultures and to take from each what we like best in order to create what works for us. one can respect and honor one’s family’s traditions without making a value judgement. it’s as wrong for someone to claim (explicitly or implicitly) that it’s better to be asian as it is for someone to claim that it’s better to be white.
— posted by Heather @ Saturday, April 27 2002, 2:16 am CDT
Wow. That was quite the thread. To everyone who posted their comments and opinions, thank you. Though not everyone had something valuable to contribute, overall, it was an enlightening discussion with good points made on both sides.
For an interesting perspective on the portrayal of Asians from our past, please view the Chinese Historical Society of America’s Ching Collection trade cards feature (Click on the Slide Show link). The CHSA recently acquired this collection consisting of thousands of depictions of Asians from the popular culture of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
While I don’t believe that the A&F t-shirts were originally meant to be offensive, their similarity to such past unflattering depictions of Asians was the root cause of the uproar. It is likely that the designers of the t-shirt did not have a background in Asian-American history. I believe that if those in charge of the product at A&F did, the shirts would have never made it past the drawing board. The fact is, however, that they did, and we have seen the consequences of such actions.
Compare this protest with those held by Native American groups against the icons of professional sports teams like the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians. For those who have not been subjected to years of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, it is sometimes difficult to understand what the fuss is all about. As such, it might be easy to laugh it off and say, “Get over it,” or “Lighten up.” To those, a historical visit to our country’s darker times is certainly in order, if only to understand where the anger and emotion springs from. Symbols and portrayals cannot yet be separated from the historical context from which they arose.
Despite making significant strides in advancing racial equality, our society and culture are by no means out of the woods yet. It is the responsibility of us as individuals and us as a collective whole — Asians, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, etc. — to treat each other with the respect and dignity enjoyed by those who consider themselves equals. This behavior does not exclude, contrary to what you might think, laughing and joking about each other’s cultural differences and traits, but it does so in a manner that is not racially charged or prejudiced.
Will it happen in our lifetime? Doubtful, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to that goal ourselves. Thanks again for your participation in this forum.