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.