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Racist shirt message not to be ignored

By Jeannie Rivera Jan 9, 2013 9:24PM

While glancing at a popular news website that focuses on Latinos, two stories side by side captured my attention. They were both about clothing items. One made me angry, the other one cracked a smile on my face.

 

The first one dealt with subtle racism, the kind that attempts to disguise itself with cheap humor. It was a story about a $9.99 shirt being sold by Urban Outfitters emblazoned with a WalMart logo on one side and a “Juan” nametag on the other. The shirt’s message is clear. Latinos are relegated to earning low wages. This supremely stereotypical perception reminds us that some still haven't accepted us as part of the fabric of this country and as deserving of fair compensation as any other hard working individual. That a member of corporate America is actually making money by helping disseminate this view, is insulting.

 

The other story was a feature on Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera, who recently turned 73. Herrera was described as synonymous with “elegance and style” that she transfers into her designs, which some consider “art pieces.” Her A-client list includes Bianca Jagger, Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama and Renee Zellweger. She’s been equally successful designing handbags and developing a line of fragrances. Her dresses are feminine, elegant and classic. That’s a slogan unlikely to appear on a shirt at an Urban Outfitters near you.

 

No one in my immediate surroundings is likely to wear the racist shirt. Yet I care about this issue not because it affects me directly but because it could if I don't denounce it. Ignoring racism only helps the haters spread their venom.


No one I know can afford a Herrera either. But her creations, like the Urban Outfitters shirt, are symbols. The latter represents hard-to-die attitudes that weigh us down as a nation. The other tells a story of beauty, creativity, hard work and success. Don’t let the cheesy shirt rob you of your Herrera gown.

 

 

 

26Comments
Jan 10, 2013 11:52AM
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I wonder if you would find it funny if instead of Juan it was Billy Bob from West Virginia.... Humm

Jan 14, 2013 3:17PM
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Ignore the story ..I am a latina and I dont feel racist about the shirt is just a name ...please this world needs fun....
Jan 11, 2013 8:17AM
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Hey ese,  get a job, puto.  You threw the obscenity first, pinche cabron.
Jan 14, 2013 3:16PM
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Ignore the story ..I am a latina and I dont feel racist about the shirt is just a name ...please this world needs fun....
Jan 11, 2013 7:57AM
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What is wrong with you all, what happen to just laughing about things as they did in the past... I been around for a long time and I will tell you this I had more freedom and fun when all this stuff of being Politically correct wasn’t here. If we can’t laugh at one another and have a little fun with one another, than its time for you to leave and go to another nation that will let you have your way of thinking. Enjoy your day I know I am   LAUGHING AT YOU   

Jan 16, 2013 4:15PM
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The first part of my life I've had to hear from black people how racist white people are, and now I'm gonna have to listen to the same tripe from Latinos.  For the record, there is a large community of Latinos (Mexicans) that have settled in my hometown in the last ten years (most are illegal) and I have to say they are some of the most racist people I have ever met.

Jan 10, 2013 9:40AM
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first of all, they are violating Walmart's trademark if they are using it without permission. second of all, its just wrong.
Jan 10, 2013 9:40AM
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first of all, they are violating Walmart's trademark if they are using it without permission. second of all, its just wrong.
Jan 11, 2013 7:57AM
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What is wrong with you all, what happen to just laughing about things as they did in the past... I been around for a long time and I will tell you this I had more freedom and fun when all this stuff of being Politically correct wasn’t here. If we can’t laugh at one another and have a little fun with one another, than its time for you to leave and go to another nation that will let you have your way of thinking. Enjoy your day I know I am   LAUGHING AT YOU   

Jan 10, 2013 11:52AM
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I wonder if you would find it funny if instead of Juan it was Billy Bob from West Virginia.... Humm

Jan 10, 2013 9:40AM
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first of all, they are violating Walmart's trademark if they are using it without permission. second of all, its just wrong.
Jan 16, 2013 4:15PM
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The first part of my life I've had to hear from black people how racist white people are, and now I'm gonna have to listen to the same tripe from Latinos.  For the record, there is a large community of Latinos (Mexicans) that have settled in my hometown in the last ten years (most are illegal) and I have to say they are some of the most racist people I have ever met.

Jan 10, 2013 3:06PM
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Oh really?  They should learn English,  get a job, stop whining & appreciate the free lunch that this country gives them or swim back across the Rio Grande.  You don't see people risking their lives in droves to go in the other direction?  I wonder why?
Jan 10, 2013 3:08PM
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Oh really?  They should learn English,  get a job, stop whining & appreciate the free lunch that this country gives them or swim back across the Rio Grande.  You don't see people risking their lives in droves to go in the other direction?  I wonder why?
Jan 10, 2013 9:10AM
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Be glad to have a shirt.  They don't give you free ones in mexico!!!
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About the author
  • Jeannie RiveraJeannie Rivera

    Jeannie Rivera is an independent writer and former newspaper reporter who lives in Central Florida with her family, a guitar, a few orchids and a bunch of books. She doesn't have pets and this is unlikely to change. She's penned stories for The Miami Herald, The Orlando Sentinel, BBC Mundo, AOL and others. She was raised in Puerto Rico where she learned to sing, cook good food, be a good mom and throw boisterous parties (she gets great story material from these.) She enjoys traveling, good wine, great books, her two boys and sleeping.