I am writing in regards to Sandy Banks' column ("Clothier's Image Is Ill-Fitting," April 23) about the Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts that sparked protests and angry phone calls to A&F's corporate office to pull the shirts off the shelves. Quite frankly, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I am a first-generation Chinese immigrant myself, and I found those shirts hilariously funny. Those Asian students need to worry more about their studies than protesting something as trivial as this! I was bummed that I couldn't buy one; I would have loved to wear it. People need to lighten up about these things.
I would like to thank Ms. Banks for pointing out something that has bothered me for quite a while. I have chosen not to purchase clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch since a catalog came to our house unsolicited, containing pages of drinking games and mixed-drink recipes. I was not in high school yet. Even then, there was no diversity among the models--they were everything I would never be: blond, tan and white. As a mixed-race child, I would never fit that image.
Now, I hear Abercrombie & Fitch is using "humor" to disguise the racial and ethnic stereotyping that never really left us. I don't understand how anyone can think it good business to make ethnic stereotypes the focus of a marketing campaign. Some, unaware of my mixed race, have said aloud that Asians are being overly sensitive or trying to be troublemakers. Others want to know why we can't take a joke. I can take a joke, but this isn't funny. This is the continuation of the same attitudes that prevailed in the 1800s and kept Asian immigrants from citizenship rights up to the 1950s. But I suppose that would not be as "fun" to put on a T-shirt.
Pulling its line of T-shirts that depict racist caricatures of Asian Americans is not enough.
The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch should publicly apologize for the company's insensitive and racist depiction of Asian Americans and make sure that no merchandise is to be designed in the future to ridicule, stereotype or demean any particular race or group.