Just a reminder

Racism is alive and well in this country.

Nationwide, Asian students say they're often beaten, threatened and called ethnic slurs by other young people, and school safety data suggest that the problem may be worsening. Youth advocates say these Asian teens, stereotyped as high-achieving students who rarely fight back, have for years borne the brunt of ethnic tension as Asian communities expand and neighborhoods become more racially diverse.

"We suspect that in areas that have rapidly growing populations of Asian-Americans, there often times is a sort of culture clashing," said Aimee Baldillo of the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. Youth harassment is "something we see everywhere in different pockets of the U.S. where there's a large influx of (Asian) people."

Racism against Asians is something you rarely hear about in the mainstream press. For some odd reason, it often seems to be ignored or dismissed. For example, remember Abercrombie & Fitch's delightful racist shirts? There was appropriate backlash and boycotts, and Abercrombie pulled the shirts.

The T-shirts, some of which show smiling men with slanted eyes and conical hats, will be pulled from all of the company's 311 stores in 50 states, company spokesman Hampton Carney said Thursday.

"We're very, very, very sorry," Carney said. "It's never been our intention to offend anyone."

Oh, of course not. How could you possibly forsee offending anyone with benign shirts like this one?
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I was amazed these ever got past the drawing board, but I suppose I shouldn't be too shocked. After all, this is the company that doesn't want you working on the sales floor unless you fit "The Abercrombie Look."

Katie Hollenbeck strolled the corridors of Carousel Mall trying to decide where she would like to apply for a new job. The junior graphic arts major walked into the Abercrombie & Fitch store, took one look at the female employees behind the counter and walked out. "They were all tall, skinny white girls, and I didn't feel appropriate for the job," she said. The intimidation that Hollenbeck, and many others feel, when walking into the retail-clothing store may not last for long. Abercrombie is about to undergo a major image change that won't drop the gorgeous models from the payroll, but will work to end alleged discrimination by hiring more female and minority employees.
Abercrombie has agreed to settle a class-action discrimination lawsuit brought on by nine former employees who claimed they were fired, asked to work in back storage rooms or put on overnight shifts because they didn't fit into the "Abercrombie look" enough to work on the sales floor during regular business hours.

Read: Fit, beautiful and white.

Anyway, my point is, when A&F did this, the protest/boycott was organized, promoted and carried out by Asian activist groups; most were student groups from Stanford and Berkeley.

Fast forward to this year, and apparently A&F still haven't learned their lesson:

Abercrombie Pulls Sexist Shirts

In response to growing outcry from young women and girls across the country, Abercrombie & Fitch agreed Friday to stop selling two T-shirts many have called offensive and sexist.

The clothing giant also agreed to meet face-to-face with a group of 23 Pennsylvania teens who organized the local-turned-national "girlcott" of A&F stores.


The two shirts removed as part of Friday's settlement contain the slogans, "Who Needs Brains When You Have These?" and "All Men Like Tig Old Bitties."

Arnet said those were the two deemed most offensive by the teen organizers. Other shirts in the same line include phrases like "Muck Fe," "I Had a Nightmare Last Night I Was a Brunette," and "Blondes Are Adored, Brunettes Are Ignored."

The usual thick-headed, bigoted stupidity from Abercrombie and Fitch. (Call me a tinfoil hatter, but it wouldn't surprise me if this was an intentional publicity stunt.) But here's the kicker:

Almost immediately, the teens' actions grabbed the attention of the Today Show and FOX News. As news spread, other girls and young women around the country quickly jumped on board.

Two days later A&F contacted Arnet and agreed to pull two of the offensive shirts from the shelves.


National women's groups lauded the teens' actions. Illinois state Sen. Steven Rauschenberger, a Republican, introduced a resolution demanding that Abercrombie stop selling demeaning T-shirts in its Illinois stores.

Quite a buzz, eh? So my question is this: Where were Rauchenberger, FOX News and The Today Show when Abercrombie's ignorance and bigotry was directed at Asians? I guess when it doesn't have the "they're-suggesting-sex, won't-someone-please-think-of-the-children" angle, we can't expect too much.

Why, when racism is directed against Asians, does the general mindset seem to be "Take care of this yourselves?" Why does racism against Asians seem like a "lesser problem?" (For example, think of the uproar that would have occured if Abercrombie had done a pickaninny/watermelon shirt.)

Obviously, racist violence against Asians is getting worse. Racist, stereotyped Asian cariactures are still very common... just keep an eye on your television. By inoring the problem, or seeing it as "their responsibility," we only allow it to get worse.

(Image updated; click here to see more. Tip 'o the Energy Dome to Eric Cheng. She came from Planet Cross-post, I knew she came from there...)

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