Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quiz #6

I chose to look on the website, the Heritage Preservation Association website. The general purpose of this website is “a national nonprofit organization utilizing educational resources along with legal and political action to protect and preserve the symbols, culture and heritage of the American South” (HPA). This whole site is dedicated to preserving the “history” of the American South.

This websites gives a rather thorough description of the American South, from a Caucasian point of view. Also, there is hardly any mention, if any, of the existence of African Americans in the south, where clearly they did exist during that point in history, as slaves. The website describes in detail that those in the South should be proud of their heritage, and gives many examples from a historic point of view. For example in the introductory paragraphs in the section “Ashamed to be Southern”, the website asks the reader to make believe he or she traveled back in time, to roughly around 10 BC in Israel. Someone who’s native to that area would come up to the reader and say that he is a proud Jew, and lists off the many reasons why his county is so great and cares about the people. The same event occurs when the reader is act to make believe he or she is in London, talking to a native born citizen. Now, when “fast forwarding” to the Virginian times here, the author of this website believe that the common response to someone who lived in the South would be as such: “I am a proud Southerner. My people have lived here for centuries, but the Union victory over the South has brought wonderful things to my people. They have brought equality among the men of the community. They have brought all of the modern conveniences of their industrial prowess. But, most importantly, they have brought the peace and security that their massive military power provides” (HPA).

This website continues to describe how honorable the American South was in the past. It even goes as far as to state that “In short, the Union showed respect and honor for those who so tenaciously fought for independence and magnanimously accepted the arbiter of war. Nowhere was there any protesting of Southern symbols nor was there any attempt to censor Southern culture” (HPA). This is a blatant contradiction to history, because clearly the censorship throughout this website is the existence of African Americans within the American South. This site focuses strictly on the White Americans and what they went through during history with various events and how their own culture was like. If one was to read the website to learn about history, they would walk away believing that the American South was populated with only White American, with various descents coming from various parts of Europe.

Overall, I found this website to be very interesting. It demonstrates that it does want to preserve the history of the American South in a good point of view, but in order to achieve this viewpoint, they had to basically eliminate the fact that African Americans existed in the south as slaves and after the emancipation of the slaves, they still were not mentioned in the website. This reason was probably because African Americans were still not viewed as equal during that time in history, and those lifestyles of the White Americans would better produce a more “glorious” image in contributing to the history of the American South. In conclusion, I believe this site shows just how elitist some people in the world could truly be; willing to erase the existence of a race in order to “preserve” the historical image and pride of the American South.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch

The author’s thesis in this article would be “Abercrombie has worked hard to produce a brand strongly associated with a young, white, upper-class, leisure lifestyle” (p.66). That this means is that the target group of people Abercrombie and Fitch is focused on the upper class white American of society, which they believe is the best suited lifestyle for an American. Wearing Abercrombie and Fitch’s articles of clothing meant that one was a part of that “cult” and therefore accepted in the typical American society.

The article thoroughly dissected the company that is Abercrombie and Fitch, and exposed it’s clearly racial viewpoints in which they are so deeply proud of. Abercrombie and Fitch first started out as an outdoor equipment/clothing store, first created by David T. Abercrombie in 1892. He was later joined up by Ezra Fitch, who was a lawyer who “sought adventure hiking in the Adirondacks and fishing in the Catskills” (p.62). Fast forwarding, Abercrombie ended up leaving the company in 1907. The store’s inventory expanded to also include sports clothing, and this business was still directed to those who belonged to the upper class. Even presidents and other well known people harbored this brand name. Abercrombie’s reputation “was so well established by this point that it was known as the outfitter of the rich, famous, and powerful” (p.63). Roughly around the 1960s, their business slowly declined, and had to file for bankruptcy in 1977. Though soon after, Limited, Inc., adopted Abercrombie and Fitch, and tried to “position the brand as a men’s clothing line and later added a preppy women’s line under the label as well” (p.65). In the pictures that are plastered everywhere in Abercrombie and Fitch stores, mainly white “attractive” males and females were shown, sporting the Abercrombie and Fitch label. Again, this showed that this company solely wished to focus on those people, between ages eighteen and twenty two, who were white and belonged to the upper and middle class. As for the workers, they were very racist in deciding who to hire. The company would only higher good looking white Americans. They had to look like they were on the football team, or belonged to a fraternity or sorority. The preppy look was the Abercrombie and Fitch look, and was “required” to have to be able to work at such a store. Abercrombie also describes their image as the “natural, classic, American” (p.68).

McBride’s argument throughout this article, besides giving very valid reasons of why he hates Abercrombie and Fitch, is that Abercrombie and Fitch is a very racial company, caring only to please and serve those of the “privileged race”, meaning upper and middle class white Americans. I completely agree with his argument. Throughout the article he gives various accurate examples of what goes on behind the scenes of Abercrombie and Fitch. An example would be how the GM’s would grade one’s staff as being ugly, and each employee was given a letter grade based on how he or she looked. If a worker who was not of the Caucasian race was found to be working in Abercrombie, and not working in the back with the other African Americans and various minorities, the manager of that store was ordered to fire said associate. They were either flat out fired by the managers or GM’s, or they were given the “zero-hour” treatment, where they would just stop receiving hours until they got the picture that they were not wanted, and eventually fired.

Overall, I thought this article was a very good read, despite its length. I think that this article is very informational about what is wrong about Abercrombie and Fitch, and questions why they should even stay in business due to their very racial tendencies. Even though that a good handful of the population in the United States would probably fit this stereotype, that doesn’t mean that the store should exist only to fit their needs, and disregard anyone else who is different from the “privileged” group of people. I personally dislike Abercrombie and Fitch due to the fact that I think their clothes are way too expensive, and way to obnoxious for my tastes. Then again, I don’t really fit the “white American upper/middle class” group of people the store targets, but that shouldn’t really matter…possibly. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and found many of the points that expose Abercrombie and Fitch’s racism quite intriguing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Takaki Ch. 7: Foreigners in their native land: Manifest Destiny in the Southwest

1. This group of Mexicans came to be part of the United States when the land was ceded to the United States. They did not really have a choice of the takeover by the United States. Though they were given a choice to stay and become Americans or move to live in Mexico. Though not many people wanted to move because it was too much work, so most stayed where they were already living at.

2. Their own land became part of the United States, and because of this the land started to be governed and controlled by the standards of the United States. These people were foreigners to those of the United States, and even they were living in their own land, which was originally theirs, they began to be treated as foreigners.

3. Social Construction: The social status system was based on the colors of the citizens skins. Those superior were the whites, then those with a slightly darker skin tone have a little less privilege, but more than those on the bottom, who were the African Americans.

4. The different groups in the chapter united and started strikes to receive better pay and equal treatment. They were fighting to be considered to be on the same level as the Caucasians in the United States. Various organizations also came into play which supported the strikers going against the United States racism.

5. Race- "Our race, our unfortunate people will have to wander in search of hospitality in a strange land, only to be ejected later" -p.177

Ethnicity- "In the copper industry, companies listed their Mexican employees on their payrolls under the special heading of "Mexican labor" paying them at lower rates than Anglo laborers for the same job classifications" -p.187.

Race pertains to the physical traits of a person, categorizing them to be part of a certain group of people who have the same various physical features as them. Ethnicity pertains certain cultural aspects, and categorizes them in a much wider group, such as Asians, which can contain Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, etc.