September 14's Fact of the Day

In 1998, Urban Outfitters released from production a “Chinese Man” Halloween costume that featured a Fu-Manchu mustache, pigtail, glasses, and cap. In particular, the costume personified the Orientalist stereotype of Fu-Manchu, an archetype of an East Asian villain that portrayed a Chinese man characterized as untrustworthy, malicious, and cunning. Moreover, Fu-Manchu also resulted from “yellow peril” tensions, a terminology that referred to the dramatized fear that early immigration of Chinese laborers would overtake and replace the white/Caucasian population in the United States as cheap labor and competition. In resistance to the offensive costume, Asian American student organizations mobilized around the country to protest Urban Outfitters to educate the American public and create awareness. Within nearly a week, Urban Outfitters pulled the costume from circulation with a formal apology for the mistake.