The Last Post about Abercrombie
and related issues.

note: This will be my last post, for a while at least, on this issue, because I feel that I've had enough to say about it. Arguments could go back and forth forever, but I don't feel like dedicating that much time to continue the discussion. I think this post, at the end, comes to a conclusion that most people will agree upon, and I hope that everyone can understand that each person has to choose what issues are most worthy of their attention and, perhaps begrudgingly, choose to ignore others to give their best attention to those they find most important.

In response to the continued discussion in one of the 'Comments' sections.

For a moment I'll accept the assumption that A&F's image is implicitly a "white image" in addition to the explicit "all-American" and "beautiful person" image.

IF we find find it acceptable for a company like FuBu to have a more-or-less explicitly racially-targeted market (as hotgoodwillguy reminded me, "For Us, By Us"), aren't we also obligated to find it acceptable for Abercrombie to target a white audience?

Of course, for whatever reasons there does seem to be a double standard, and far more people accept explicitly minority-oriented products and brands than would accept an explicitly white-oriented brand. It would be public relations suicide if Abercrombie were to admit outright that they target a white audience, would it not? Perhaps it shouldn't be, but that's the double standard out there.

So even if you believe the A&F implicitly endorses an all-white image, you can't condemn it for that alone unless you are also willing to condemn FuBu. The pairing of all-American with all-white, maybe, though I don't think a good argument could be made that the pairing of the two is racist, considering the circumstances that wouldn't allow A&F to be completely upfront about their target demographic.

So again, even if the image was an all-white one, of which I am still not really convinced, it would be no more wrong for me to wear Abercrombie clothing than it would be for an African-American to wear FuBu brand clothing. I don't feel that either is an endorsement of racism or exclusion, but merely a fashion choice. After all, I'm sure there are plenty of white kids out there wear FuBu and minorities wearing Abercrombie.

My apologies for not going into a more in-depth response to all of the arguments, but I'm beginning to feel that the issue isn't so important that I ought to devote a large portion of my time to it. It is certainly right that one cannot trust the justice department to fix everything--though if there are court cases and out-of-court settlements going on, I have to think that any wrongs that might have been committed have been paid for.

About the claim that I am "just picking the side that lets you live your life as it is AND keep a morally clean slate" -- I'm picking the side I'm on because I find it the right side to be on. But I would have a 'morally clean slate' as far as I am concerned EVEN IF the claims about A&F were in fact true, because it is not my responsibility to be the moral enforcer for every person in the world. Purchasing goods from a company does NOT make you a party to any wrongs that they do, nor does it imply that you endorse those wrongs. To say that you either boycott the company or that you bear moral responsibility for their actions is tantamount to saying that if you don't pack up and move to Canada, you bear the responsibility for immoral actions by the U.S. government because you pay them taxes. Sure, I'm not obligated to buy Abercrombie--but neither am I obligated to live in the United states. I live in the U.S. and will openly proclaim that I am an American because I like it here, independently of what the government is doing. And I will buy Abercrombie and not be ashamed to say that I like the style, regardless of what the company is like.

At some point, you have to choose to ignore some concerns about what your government is doing, about what the companies making your products are doing, and about what people you might call friends or associates are doing. Otherwise, you would have to spend your life alone in the wilderness, growing all our own food--life just isn't long enough to make sure that every dollar you spend is going to a person or company that you can give your wholehearted moral endorsement to. At some point you have to be willing to live your life the way you want to and stop condemning those whose beliefs you disagree with.

I'll be very up front about this: I'm not a very politically/socially concerned person. I think there are other things out there that are more important than making sure the companies I buy from have perfect behavior. Not to say that these issues aren't important--but you only have so much time, so much attention, and you have to choose where to focus it. Mine is not focused on the issues around corporations and product manufacturing, and I accept that some of my money might support immoral corporations because I know that to prevent this from happening, I would have to take attention away from issues that I feel to be of greater importance.

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