Burlington Coat Factory Stop Selling Racist Merchandise! sign now

This is a petition to hold Burlington Coat Factory accountable for the merchandise it sells to consumers across the United States of America.

In early October of 2004, my wife and I were shopping at the Burlington Coat Factory Store in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were looking through the clothing department and found three shirts produced by the vendor Red Monkey and sold by Burlington Coat Factory with the following text:

Shirt 1) Who Flung Poo Chinese Food Delivery

Shirt 2) Madam Wongs House of Tang Good Eats Guaranteed Fresh

Shirt 3) Get Lucky By Rubbing Buddhas Belly

On the first shirt there was a monkey dressed up in stereotypical Asiatic clothing. 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 Burlington Coat Factory and Red Monkey had marketed a shirt with a monkey dressed up like a Hasidic Jew on it and writing that said, Jewish Kosher Deli or conversely a monkey dressed in stereotypical cultural clothing made to look like an African-American and a statement like, Fried Chicken Shack? 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 Burlington Coat Factory to be carrying this merchandise that demeans Asians and furthermore, to be profiting from the perpetuation of racism through its marketing of racial stereotypes. The Madam Wong shirt is a cheap and sleazy reference to racial and hypersexual stereotypes of Asian women, and the Buddha shirt depicting Buddha with prayer beads is another illustration of the low regard this corporation holds Asians and Asian-Americans through their commodification of religious and cultural iconography.

I contacted Burlington Coat Factory via email and spoke to Mr. R. Smith on October 22, 2004. While Mr. Smith was very professional and apologetic initially, he basically took the position that he was sorry that I was offended, thus putting the onus on me. After I asked him a direct question as to whether or not it was Burlington Coat Factorys policy to promote racism through the sale of racially charged shirts, Mr. Smith took the position that he couldnt see how these shirts were either racially charged or offensive. He stated that Burlington Coat Factory would not be stopping the sale of the shirts.

He suggested that if I had additional concerns, I could write to the following Burlington Coat Factory agent, if you are so inclined I would suggest you do the same:

Ms. Sue Collins Vice President of Customer Relations
1830 Route 130 North
Burlington, NJ 08016


I took the opportunity to write Burlington Coat Factorys Vice President of Customer Relations on November 15, 2004 via domestic mail & email that was cced to the following organizations.

The Organization of Chinese Americans
The Japanese American Citizens League
Media Action Network For Asian Americans
National Federation of Filipino American Associations
The Southern Poverty Law Centers Tolerance.org Project

To date I have yet to receive any type of response from Burlington Coat Factorys representatives.

I have since visited a Burlington Coat Factory in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania and seen the same shirts being sold and Burlington Coat Factory continuing to profit from the sale of racial stereotypes.

Burlington Coat Factory is not acting in the manner you would expect from a corporation that values its consumers. This is unbelievable, considering the fact that the retailer Abercrombie and Fitch and Target Corporation have been in the news for selling similarly anti-Asian t-shirts and the companies eventually recalled the racist merchandise.
This petition asks that Burlington Coat Factory and the leadership of Burlington Coat Factory, ensure that Burlington Coat Factory do the following:

1) Not market racist merchandise or perpetuate racism through the merchandise they sell.
2) Be held accountable for their corporate actions.
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 Burlington Coat Factory stores.

By signing this petition you are stating that you support the following:

1) Holding Burlington Coat Factory accountable for its sale of racist merchandise.
2) Removal of racist merchandise off Burlington Coat Factory shelves permanently.
3) Encouraging Burlington Coat Factory to train and educate its buyers and staff so that Burlington Coat Factory does not promote or encourage racism through its merchandise.
4) Ceasing to shop at Burlington Coat Factory until this issue is resolved.

Thank you for your support of this campaign, and please pass the word along.

Pictures of the shirts can be found at:

http://img53.exs.cx/img53/646/burl3.jpg

http://img53.exs.cx/img53/2362/burl5.jpg

http://img53.exs.cx/img53/4701/burl7.jpg

Comments to Burlington Coat Factory can be made directly by going to:

http://www.coat.com/contact/epiphany3.shtml



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