I have actively boycotted Ambercrombie for its treatment of racial minorities for some time now. In fact I positively ache when I see a body of colour wearing any of their apparel. Do not spend your hard earned money to support a company that believes that bodies of colour are only to fit to work in the back room. Do no spend your hard earned money to advertise a label that believes that you are less than.
In 2005 Ambercrombie settled a class action “discrimination lawsuit brought on by nine former employees who claimed they were fired, asked to work in back storage rooms or put on overnight shifts because they didn’t fit into the “Abercrombie look” enough to work on the sales floor during regular business hours.”
A&F sells whiteness as good and sexy. A person of colour is considered contrary to their public image. Take a look through their catalogue, or a walk through a few of their stores. It came as no surprise when I read a story about a Muslim woman being denied a job in the kids section because she wore a hijab. Apparently the woman was told that her clothing did not fit the Ambercrombie image. Yeah, you know all American, white and blonde.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. The act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.
It seems for A&F respecting people of different cultures and religions is a hardship. They simply cannot acknowledge POC as equal citizens as it would conflict with white supremacy. Despite having to pay out a 40 million dollar settlement in 2005 A&F seems intent on continuing on a course of marginalization. As POC we must mobilize against this kind of oppression. We need to actively boycott their stores and inform people exactly what message they are sending out each time they purchase or wear A&F products. Just as with any company they are dependent on consumer dollars. The proletariat at this time may not have much power but it is possible to use our consumer dollars to force a change. Companies like this will continue to discriminate as long as they can make a profit.