Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quiz #6 The Heritage Preservation Association Website

The website I chose to do my quiz on was The Heritage Preservation Association ( The purpose of this site is for “people of all races, countries, religions and political affiliations who share our love for the heritage of the American South and encourage them to join us in the fight against cultural censorship.” In other words, the people on this site or rather the members of the site are not trying to promote hatred of any kind and just want people who share the same values as them to join them in their fight for “justice.”

I chose this site because the word “preservation” made it sound like the members of this organization were working towards a positive and great goal. Upon entering the site I noticed it was very plain with links to other information regarding their site and what they stand as well as the history of the American South. But the one thing that really popped out at me when I first got onto the site was in the left-top corner there is, what I believe to be, their group/member crest or logo. It is of a shield with the United States flag being held high on the left side of it and the Confederate flag being held high on the right side. Underneath it is their name, The Heritage Preservation Association. Also, they have a motto which is, “Guarding our future, by preserving our past.”

I found the people on this site to be what Tara McPherson stated as “neo-rebels.” I say this because on the site under the “About HPA” they state they are not “Neo-Confederates.” Instead they say how they are, “We are peace-loving, patriotic Americans who love our country and are tired of seeing the censorship and abolition of Southern heritage in the name of "political correctness". Basically, members of HPA do not want to see their Southern heritage disappear because of the government or politics socially constructing everyone to be home they want them to be. I find this interesting because of the fact that they state they are not neo-confederates; yet, they are against the United States government’s way of running things here. It just seems that the neo-confederates and the neo-rebels are both working towards a similar, if not the same, goal but they just have different approaches in obtaining it. In a sense, this reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Both men were working towards obtaining the same goal but they too had different approaches in getting it. Dr. King was about non-violence and Malcolm X went about getting things done by any means necessary. I think both sets of groups, the neo-confederates and rebels and Dr. King and Malcolm, are very much alike.

I felt as though this site was very interesting due to I had never seen a confederate, or neo-rebel site before. I didn’t even know they existed but then again on the web everything pretty much exists. I think I am going to look further into these sites McPherson mentions and further analyze them. I am happy I had to do this assignment because it opened my eyes in a whole new light.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch

In the article written by Dwight McBride, Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch, I found the thesis to be “Abercrombie has worked hard to produce a brand strongly associated with a young, white, upper-class, leisure lifestyle.” (66) What McBride is saying is that the Abercrombie & Fitch has developed their look to please and satisfy white people and to show their superiority. Abercrombie’s approach for marketing their clothing is to show what Americans are suppose to look like and that look reflects that of the upper-class whites.

McBride divided this article into four sections to better get the message across. First he begins with providing background information about Abercrombie & Fitch and how it came to be in existence. A&F first started off as being just Abercrombie & Co. until Ezra Fitch, a valued customer of the company came one day to David T. Abercrombie, owner of Abercrombie & Co., suggested entering a business partnership together. Initially the company was a sporting goods store for outdoorsmen. Upon entering their partnership and changing the name of the company to Abercrombie & Fitch they shared many arguments of how or if the company should further expand and how to go about doing it. After much arguing, Abercrombie resigned his position and Fitch expanded the company by starting with its goods and location. The company begin to boom with much success and supplying goods and equipment to a wide range of famous people. Even during these times, A&F appealed to upper-class white men and women which showed in their catalog. “The advertising from any of its early catalogs even adopts and innocent, idealistic Rockwellian aesthetic in many instances.” (64) Eventually, Fitch decided to retire from the company and even after his retirement the company continued to blossom. There were times where it faced bankruptcy and was bought and passed from many companies to others each hoping to get the company out of the decline it was in and make a profit. But it wasn’t until Michael Jeffries took over the company and remodeled it more to his likes. This brings me to McBride’s second segment of this article which is the “look” of A&F that Jeffries created. Jeffries created the “Look Book, this pocket size (3.5x5.5-inch and approximately 30-page-long) book.” (66) This book showcased eleven photos and four of them being group shots. In the group pictures, there were only two African American models and everyone else appeared to be of white descent. The guidelines for the look of an A&F Brand Representative is “For men and women, a neatly combed, attractive, natural, classic hairstyle is acceptable. Any type of ‘fade’ cut (more scalp is visible than hair) for men is unacceptable. Shaving of the head or any portion of the head or eyebrow for men or women is unacceptable. Dreadlocks are unacceptable for men and women.” (70) Based on these guidelines which were created in the 1990s prevented the majority of black men from getting a job from here due to many wore the fade and shaved type of hairstyles A&F found to be unacceptable. Also, McBride makes mention of earrings and jewelry which the company found to be unacceptable and these targeted the African American community once again. But this certain look brings me to McBride’s third segment of the article which focuses on the “corporate culture of Abercrombie as it is represented by its stores, managers, and brand reps.” (62) Within this segment, McBride talks about how many people were discriminated against as far as employment within the A&F company based on the fact they did not fit the “look” of the company and how many people were fired based on the fact they were ugly. Skills and being qualified has nothing to do with the company and people advancing in it. So, in conclusion, McBride ends the article with his third segment which is his analysis. “Abercrombie, through its strategy of marketing ‘the good white life’ in what is already a deeply racist society, has convinced a U.S. public—whites (some young and some not so young), some people of color, and gay men—that if we buy their label, we are really buying membership into a privileged fraternity that has eluded us all for so long, even if for vastly different reasons.” (85) So in other words, McBride is saying that A&F has ultimately created the American look and has, through its marketing and its idea of what the A&F Brand Rep should look like, created a company where people who buy clothing from here feel accepted by the majority or rather upper-class whites of America.

While reading this article I question, “Why people/minorities would continue to shop at a place as discriminatory as Abercrombie & Fitch.?” But then I kind of satisfied my question with the thought of how people still buy Tommy Hilfiger clothing. It has been rumored that Tommy Hilfiger said on the Oprah Winfrey show that he does not want minorities to buy his products. I thought of this when McBride mentioned how Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren share a similar marketing system of appealing to the “upper-class American lifestyle.” (72) He also mentioned that “Ralph Lauren ‘diversified’ its ad campaigns…” (73) As well as “attempts to market and sell that lifestyle [upper-class American lifestyle] to everyone equally.” (72) McBride stated how Ralph Lauren picked up Tyson Beckford as a model for its clothing line which is similar to Tommy Hilfiger having superstars like BeyoncĂ© having a perfume fragrance under his company’s name. Many minorities still refuse to purchase Tommy Hilfiger’s clothing based on rumors of him being racists but they will support the superstars under his company. Going back to my question of why people/minorities continue to purchase clothing from a company that doesn’t want us amazes me. It is not like there are any minorities within the A&F’s company which minorities would support. I guess the answer would be that they are trying to be more American so they can be or rather feel more accepted by the majority.

This article was interesting to me because McBride brought out points that I never thought about before. Also, being that I have never been in the store to shop further, in a sense, provides somewhat of an explanation as to why I never found it appealing. As I was reading this article I begun to realize how many stores within malls I have thought of to be for white people and how I found others to be for a mixture of people.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Takaki Chapter 7 “Foreigners in their native land: Manifest Destiny in the Southwest.”

1. How did this group come to be in the U.S.? How much of this was “by choice” and how much as a result of pressure or force? Identify drivers or motivations for coming to be in the U.S.
• This was not a group of people that chose to become part of the United States. It was the U.S. that decided to come over to California and take what they felt should be theirs. Americans felt they were able to benefit and better utilize the resources that California provided than the Mexicans were able to do. It was also said that the Americans were “driven there by dreams of wealth and landownership generated by pamphlets and books about California. Determined to transform the territory into their own image.” (171) Meaning Americans became greedy and wanted more than what they already had and wanted to continue to expand the U.S. as much as they could. But only if it benefited them in someway; other non-Americans didn’t matter.

2. What is the significance of the title of the chapter?
• The significance of the title of this chapter is simply stating how the Mexicans felt during these transitions. Mexicans no longer felt like citizens of their lands and countries anymore. Instead they felt like foreigners in their own lands or rather as the title states, “Foreigners in Their Native Lands.” “Political restricting lessened the ability of Mexicans not only to claim their rights as citizens, but also to protect their rights as landowners.” (179) In other words, in the lands that once belonged to the Mexicans they were no longer considered citizens based on laws Americans placed.

3. What mechanisms of social construction are discussed in the chapter?
• In the beginning of this chapter, Takaki discusses that many Mexicans were slave owners and there slaves or laborers were the Indians. “Of ‘Pure Spanish blood,’ they formed the upper class. Below them was the laboring class. Racially, the laborers [went] down by regular shades, growing more and more dark and muddy with ‘pure’ Indians at the bottom rung.” (169) Takaki is saying that just like the how the white people were in America with their “majority” being the upper class and anyone who was not like them was lower or laboring class.

4. How did these groups resist discrimination and racialization?
• These groups resisted discrimination and racialization by repeatedly going out and going on strike in hopes to improve wages and being replaced “with lower-paid workers recruited from Juárez, Mexico.” (187) Because of these strikes some Mexican workers actually “won strike demands for a pay increase” (187) and more hours of work. These strikes were also a way for the Mexicans to prove the stereotypes which were placed on them as being wrong.

5. Give one example in the chapter of “race” and one example of “ethnicity.” What is the difference between the two as they are discussed here?
• One example of racial would be the “West Coast version of the ‘giddy multitude.’” Within this giddy multitude the Japanese and the Mexicans formed a union or organization together to better the lives of their people and their families. “Their strike, however, has demonstrated that Mexican laborers were ready to stand with fellow Japanese in movement based on interethnic class unity.” (189) This states that two different races can come together and fight for a justice they believe in without their race being an issue.
• One example of ethnicity would be Mexicans being discriminated against as far as wages or payment for their labor as well as being social. “Mowry declared, ‘[Mexicans] are docile, faithful, good servants, capable of strong attachments when firmly and kindly treated… They will always remain so, as it is their natural condition.” (187) In other words, Mowry was stereotyping all Mexicans as being a certain way or carrying a certain type of people. So anyone who looked to be of Spanish or Mexican descent was looked upon as being this way.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Frank Wu: Yellow

In regards to the quote from Wu, "As a member of a minority group everywhere in m country except among family or through the self-conscious effort to find other Asian Americans, I alternate between being conspicuous and vanishing, being stared at or looked through..." I can somewhat relate to him being a minority myself. Stereotypes is really something that destroys people's will to actually get to want to know a person. People I believe are too afraid to try to look outside of the box and instead they only compare or relate people to what they think they know.

Comic Book Cover No. 25 Rangers Comics: Doctor Death from Tokyo

I chose this comic book cover because I continue to find it interesting how the white women were portrayed as being helpless against minorities. This cover showcases a Japanese man getting ready to cut off the head of a white woman. The white woman is bond by her ankles and wrist to a wheel mechanism of some sort over a pit of fire. Then in the distance there is a white man who is there to rescue the damsel in distress. The man has some kind of rope with balls on the end which he has wrapped around the Japanese’s knife to prevent him from cutting the woman. Also, it seems as though the white man is holding a gun and is getting ready to use it if he needs to against the Japanese. The white woman is showed as looking to be very clean and dressed very nicely. Her hair is perfect with no strand out of place and she has the lovely golden blonde hair that many white women are infamous for. The Japanese man looks somewhat deranged and scary. In this comic cover, the Japanese man favors a gorilla or ape by the face. The white man looks to be just an average Joe but in the uniform. He doesn’t appear to be any type of superhuman with powers.

The damsel in distress reminds me of things we have discussed in class. During the video of Ethic Notions they showed a snippet of Birth of a Nation where a black man was chasing a white woman. The white woman felt that it would be better to just end her own life than to fall in the heads of the black man. So in the movie she jumped from the cliff as the black man got closer. This comic book cover relates in the aspect that after they white men of the country found out what happened to the white woman it caused a war against the black men and white men. The above comic showcases the same thing with the exception of it being a black man. Instead this shows that white women are in danger of all minorities. The Japanese is also looked upon as being an animal like that of the black man. As I mentioned before, his facial features are similar to those of an ape or gorilla. Also, this comic cover goes against the initial views of how Americans viewed the Japanese. In chapter 10 of Takaki, he mentions that the Japanese were thought to be the “model minority” but just like during their times of work in Hawaii with their protests they proved otherwise. This comic cover shows them in a different light as well. It shows they are not the quiet, passive people that don’t start trouble.

In my opinion, I feel as though this comic cover amazes me. I never knew comics books also were a source of advertising racism. I find this to be very saddening because the minds of children were being polluted with things the “man” wanted them to feel and see. I think being surrounded by racism and hate would be enough but to pollute the minds of innocence and not give them the chance to feel how they want is wrong. I think it is wrong that Americans, even today, label a group of people for the actions done by only some. We have to look through the eyes of our “enemy” understand why they are the way they are, how they view us, and what makes them the different and the same as us. We need to stop fearing each other and start to enjoy each others company because no one is going anywhere anytime soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America

The thesis for How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America by Karen Brodkin, to be “I tell this story to show the institutional nature of racism and the centrality of state policies to creating and changing races.” (39) Brodkin is stating that it took for policies to be created and some races to be outcaste in order for other races to gain superiority as well as certain privileges over other races.

She starts off the article with stating her feelings about learning about the history of America and how even certain people within the white class was classified as being inferior to its own kind. She stated how her parents found this not to be much of a surprise because “they expect anti-Semitism to be part of the fabric of daily life….” (38) Brodkin did not believe that Jews got most of their success “due to [Jews] own efforts and abilities, reinforced by a culture that valued sticking together, hard work, education, and deferred gratification.” (38) Instead, she believed most of the success Jews obtained was to due to Affirmative Action. In other words, the privileges which one race was not able to obtain due to laws that were issued, entitled other races those privileges. In America everything was based on superiority and inferiority. In 1916, Madison Grant who was author of The Passing of the Great Race “popularized notions developed by William Z. Ripley and Daniel Brinton that there existed three of four major European races, ranging from the superior Nordics of northwestern Europe to the inferior southern and eastern races of the Alpines, Mediterraneans, and worst of all, Jews.” (40) Grant was saying that there is only one race which was superior to all other races and that was pure Nordics. Every other race was looked as to be inferior and lower class. Post World War II was when a lot of changes begun. New laws for housing and employment begun to surface but these laws applied to everyone of the white race which ultimately included Jews and other European immigrant groups which were once outcast as being inferior to upper class white. The newly created laws exile African Americans and caused them to have a much more difficult time obtaining housing as well as employment and sufficient education. Brodkin states how these new laws and programs which were created post World War II made it “that white men of northwest European ancestry and white men of southeastern European ancestry were treated equally in theory and in practice with regard to the benefits they received, was part of the larger postwar whitening of Jews and other eastern and southern Europeans.” (49) The benefits, laws, programs and privileges which were obtained by all whites including Jews brought them together more as a people. The privileges Jews obtained allowed them to further advance in America whereas the government only offered African Americans “cement boots of segregation, redlining, urban renewal, and discrimination.” (50) If it wasn’t for African Americans being discriminated against Jews might not have gotten their privileges so easily is what Brodkin felt.

Brodkin stated, “I want to suggest that Jewish success is a product not only of ability but also of the removal of powerful social barriers to its realization.” (39) I agree with Brodkin completely because throughout the entire article there was no mention of how Jews fought or protested against things they found to be unfair to their people. African Americans actually had to fight whether it was physical or verbal or non-violent to get the little “equality” we have today. Instead, Jews obtained much of their success due to upper-class Americans trying to keep African Americans from advancing and climbing the social, political, and economic ladders. Brodkin said that she and her brother now own their own homes whereas prior to World War II and all the privileges they obtained it would not have been possible. She said, “The truth is that affluence has been the exception and that real upward mobility has required massive affirmative action programs….” (50) In other words, someone has to be kept out of the circle in order for others to gain.

This article was interesting because it gave me the opportunity to learn about Jews. Upon reading this I realized that grade school, at least the one I attended, did not make much reference to Jews. I found myself doing a little more research about Jews and certain things Brodkin made reference to in this article so I could get a better understanding of what she was talking about. I found it interesting how Jews and other lower class European immigrants gained their acceptance in the United States by the government neglecting the same acceptance to African Americans.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch (Extra Credit)

Richard Wright’s thesis in The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch is, “My first lesson in how to lie as a Negro came when I was quite small.” (22) Wright is saying that he had to learn the dos and the don’ts, the rights and the wrongs when it came to being a black person in the south facing much segregation.

Wright starts off with telling how when he was a young kid he and his friends would have cinder battles. Where he stayed the grass was never green. Actually, according to Wright, nothing was green. The only green that could be found or seen was located at or near the homes of the white people. It wasn’t until he and his gang of friends were in war with the white children that he realized the advantages of having grass, trees, and hedges. During the war, Wright and his fellow comrades were being beaten. Their cinder alone was nothing compared to the broken bottles and objects the white children had. So they begun to retreat to the pillars of their homes but before Wright could make it back he was struck in the back of the head with broken milk bottle and had to get three stitches. Wright waited for his mother to return home from so he could tell her what happened. He knew she would help him figure out what to do next and she would understand. But instead, he received a whopping that caused him to get a fever of one hundred and two. It was doing this whopping that Wright’s mother instilled in him the “gems of Jim Crow wisdom.” (23) She told him to “never, never, under any conditions to fight white folks again.” (23) Also, she told him that he was lucky and should be thankful they didn’t kill him. As time went on, Wright encountered many other incidents which he had to be careful of what he said, did, and how he looked at white people. There were times even after his war he had with the young white kids when he was lucky to have been alive due to his actions. Most of the knowledge Wright obtained in regards to Jim Crow laws were gained while he was working for white people.

One question I had regarding this article was one in which Wright asked, “How do Negroes feel about the way they have to live?” (31) Wright answered this question by quoting a friend of his that ran an elevator, he said, “Lawd, man! Ef it wuzn’t fer them polices ‘n’ them ol’ lynch-mobs, there wouldn’t be nothin’ but uproar down here!” (31) It seems as though black people kind of content with the way things were. When Wright told his co-workers what had his bosses did to an old black woman while he was working as a porter in a clothing store all they said was, “Shucks! Man, she’s a lucky bitch!” (11) Then he took another bite of his hamburger. Even though stuff like this was things some black people were used to, it makes me wonder why no one stopped to say we have to do something about this. Even today, when injustice happens to someone of the black race we get together and state we don’t like what is going on. I know the times are different now but there were enough black people to fight back, at least in my opinion.

I found this article to being interesting because this was the actual trials and tribulations a person went through to survive during the times of Jim Crow. I would’ve never thought it would be as difficult as it was for Wright to survive post slavery. I mean in the sense that black people didn’t know what they could and couldn’t do during those times. I found it to be sad that even after slavery they had to still go through many injustices and unfair treatment. But I believe that it is because of these struggles black people had to face that make us such a strong race.