Pretty white people… you have a new job. You can be a racist… be anti-Asian… and get rich and famous. It’s ironic that every anti-Asian racist campaign works like a charm proven both nationally… and now internationally. It’s better than dropping your usual boring press release. Who’s even gonna blog about it? But a picture on the internet sparks a thousand tweets.
Abercrombie & Fitch has made a business out of racist and specifically anti-Asian marketing. In 2002, A&F released the racist “Two Wongs Can Make It White” T-shirt that caused a flurry of dissent across the United States. Even I, who was so sick of my gay friends wearing A&F, had to go out and order a couple of T-shirts. Why? Because there was something unspeakably alluring and transgressive about racist artifacts that are bound to become collector’s items.
It’s just like going to the Civil Rights Institute museum in Birmingham where I couldn’t help sneak a shot of the KKK costume behind the museum glass.
Although that bit of Asian Americana didn’t go international, A&F has continued to grow in popularity in Asian.
Precisely a decade later, the same company opened a store in Korea and probably paid off (my imagination) one of its pretty white models to “mock Asians” via a personal Instagram picture and a tweet… and another model to “secretly” give a finger to the Korean press.
Could these racist incidents from A&F be mere accidents or could they have been more institutionalized?
Being racist toward Asians could easily be hip marketing. Did anything happen to Miley Cyrus after posing in that chinky eyes picture? These growing incidents almost felt like intentional marketing ploys as being racist to Asians carry little real consequences.
It’s not like A&F would fear their store windows getting smashed if they had made some racist T-shirts about African Americans. Would they dare?