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Cooperation Against Evil Corporations

<img src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/abercrombie_t.jpg" align = "right" border = "0" alt = "Abercrombie and Fitch's Stupid Mistake" hspace = "7">In the United States, the self-proclaimed land of "diversity", racial stereotypes still abound. The most recent case being Abercrombie & Fitch's new line of T-shirts that seemed culturally insensitive towards the Asian community.
When I had first read the <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/04/18/MN109646.DTL" target="_blank">news</a>, it didn't occur to me that the messages they chose to print on these T-shirts were offensive. Having lived in Singapore where racial differences were no hinderance to normal interaction, it took a while before I realised that "white" in the message on the T-shirt in the aboved picture could have meant Caucasian. In this case "Two Wongs can make it white" possibly carried with it the stinking air of Caucasian superiority. Other messages in the new line of Tees included "Buddha Bash – Get your Buddha on the Floor", featuring the picture of a smiling Buddha. One can't help but wonder at the caution exercised by A&F's marketing personnel as they tread carefully across the minefield of racial stereotypes and cultural biases. It is akin to watching an elephant dance a ballet.
The <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/asia/04/19/sanfran.abercrombie.reut/" target="_blank">good news</a> is that A&F were forced to pull back the entire line after Asian-Americans everywhere emailed in to complain about the apparent lack of common sense. In California, Asian students even held protests, generating the news coverage needed to obtain a response from the clothing chain.
Despite the triumph, the few shirts that were sold are now being sold on EBay, some going for more than $200. Wonder how much a Ku Klux Klan mask would fetch in this money-motivated society.
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