Target Corporation Stop Selling Racist Merchandise!
Target Corporation and CEO Robert J. Ulrich
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In late August of 2002, my wife and I were shopping at the Target Waterfront Store in Homestead, Pennsylvania. My wife was looking through the clothing department and found a shirt produced by the vendor Mossimo and sold by Target with the following text:
Imperial Bowling and Dim Sum Establishment
Lucky Balls Strike Hard
With a Strike you Get an Eggroll
There was a stereotypical Chinaman bowling on the shirt. Both my wife and I were really disturbed by this shirt considering the fact that the shirt was blatantly exploiting Asian racial stereotypes in a demeaning manner. Can you imagine if Target and Mossimo had marketed a shirt with a Hasidic Jew bowling on it and writing that said, With a Strike you Get a Bagel or an African-American bowling and a statement like, With a Strike you Get Some Watermelon? The quick answer is that you would not see shirts like that because it would be disgusting and offensive to the people caricatured on the shirt. It is unacceptable for Target to be carrying this merchandise that demeans Asians and furthermore, to be profiting from the perpetuation of racism through its marketing of racial stereotypes.
I contacted Target Corporations Guest Relations via email and they informed me in an email response on September 5th, 2002 that they had instructed their buying offices to take the shirts off the rack and destroy them. On September 12 I walked into a Target Store in North Fayette, Pennsylvania and lo and behold, there was a full rack of shirts there being sold. I thought maybe they did not have enough time to contact their stores. Today, on September 24th, I called a Target Greatland Store located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and the store was still carrying the shirts. Target Corporation is not acting in good faith and does not seem to be taking the concerns of consumers seriously. This is unbelievable, considering the fact that the retailer Abercrombie and Fitch was recently in the news for selling similarly anti-Asian t-shirts and the company eventually recalled the racist merchandise. The fact that Target is headquartered in Minnesota, a state with a substantial Asian population and marketing such garbage is especially mind-blowing.
This is not the first time that Target Corporation has been accused of peddling racist merchandise. The Southern Poverty Law Centers Tolerance.org project noted that Target Corporation was selling white supremacist clothing (http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=603). Although Target Corporation eventually pulled the clothing line, it seems that the same lack of consideration was pervasive in how Target dealt with the initial complaint (http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=604).
This petition asks that Target Corporation and the leadership of Target, namely CEO of Target Corporation, Robert J. Ulrich and President of Target Stores Gregg W. Steinhafel, ensure that Target Corporation do the following:
1) Not market racist merchandise or perpetuate racism through the merchandise they sell.
2) Be held accountable for actions they say they will do in response to complaints. If Target Corporation states they will remove racist clothing from the shelves, they should abide by their own statements.
3) Train and educate staff members within the buying departments and merchandising departments to not facilitate racism by purchasing racist clothing to be sold in Target stores.
4) Abide by Target Corporations own corporate policies on diversity.
By signing this petition you are stating that you support the following:
1) Holding Target Corporation accountable for its sale of racist merchandise.
2) Removal of racist merchandise off Target shelves permanently.
3) Encouraging Target Corporation to train and educate its buyers and staff so that Target Corporation does not promote or encourage racism through its merchandise.
Thank you for your support of this campaign, and please pass the word along.