September 13's Fact of the Day

In light of the Hollister models that mocked Asian racial stereotypes, Abercrombie and Fitch introduced a controversial clothing line of graphic t-shirts that even though claimed to be tailored to the Asian American community, featured racist caricatures that stereotyped Chinese men as the “Wong Brother Laundry Service, 555-WONG, Two Wongs Can Make It White” or “Wok-N-Bowl, Let the Good Times Roll.” The graphic t-shirts featured slanted eyes, bucktooth, martial arts, Buddha, and conical rice-paddy hats with Chinese traditional outfits and characters, which imitated backwards portrayals of Chinese immigrants from the 1900s. Particularly, the graphic t-shirts portrayed sentiments that discredited any form of cultural or sociopolitical advancement in the Asian American community; instead, the graphic t-shirts denigrated Asian Americans to assume misleading identities as laborers and Laundromat and agricultural workers. Most importantly, the graphic t-shirts are misleading in that they portray Asian Americans as different and unable to assimilate into American culture, referring back to the division between Western countries and the Orient. In resistance to the Orientalist stereotypes and racist caricatures printed by Abercrombie and Fitch, Asian Americans rallied and mobilized to protest in front of stores, made phone calls to petition, and spread news about the clothing line through e-mail and networks.