JCPenney removes racist display in Sioux City


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/18/jcpenny-removes-racist-display.html


#2

“That is just disgusting of Management of JCPenney put that display up. I will no longer shop there!”

I’m pretty sure this is just some minimum-wager doing the bare minimum effort in setting up the store display and not a directive of the management of JCPenny.


#3

Lost the space but kept the second ‘e’: JCPenney aka Jacques Penney (so-called traitorous French branch of the clan).


#4

I didn’t know JCPenney sold dogwhistles.


#6

True or no, it doesn’t do anything to explain the desperately poor taste even carrying all these separate clothing items displays.


#7

Uh, I mean the WINE WINE WINE and BEER BEER BEER shirts are essentially completely unoffensive outside of the current context. They might be tacky at worst.

Put together? I…still don’t think they are a code for the new dogwhistle JCP racism alert. This definitely feels like a ‘whoops, hey why don’t we fix that display’ more than a ‘hey boss injuns sure are drinkers, right?’.

On the other hand…I mean I don’t have to deal with the rampant alcoholism that afflicts native american tribes, so it’s entirely possible that if I was part of that community I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss.


#8

I think the real story should be an American Indian’s take on The Atlantic’s piece on Pocahontas:

Jason thanks for the link to Indian Country! They have a new paper zine as well.


#9

I find the casual use of the word “tribe” to be very unsettling, but it’s hardly endemic to tacky shirts sold ata department store.

I find the word is used a lot in my bman communities, amongst the nauseatingly unaware white folk that predominate.

Unwoke comes to mind.


#10

It’s very important that white people declare in this thread that this display either is or is not racist! Never mind the indigenous people saying that in its context, this display is indeed racist. /s

From the linked article:

“Stereotyping Indigenous people is dehumanizing and dangerous. If you want to roll over and accept that, go elsewhere and do it. We are trying to stand up and make a difference here,” wrote Free-LaMere.

Free-LaMere also wrote that the offensive nature of the display isn’t just about the t-shirts.

“The problem isn’t with the tribe shirts. It’s about the beer and wine shirts on either side. I suspect it was a local yokel who thought he/she was funny. Racism is bad here.”


#11

Comments on social media have been largely negative toward JCPenney.

But to be fair, that’s been true since long before this image was posted.


#12

The space was sold off as part of the leveraged buyout.


#13

Hi. I’m the Tribe Leader, but you already knew that on account of my masculine form. My shirt is black in order to intimidate outsiders and the text is in Comic Sans, because, hey- I’m the leader and I can do that. The female figure at my side is here in order to Love my Tribe. Her shirt is the classic color of receptiveness / submission and the text is at once clean and capricious. Nevermind the souls of those underlings before me, they are merely newbies.


#14

Probably. I don’t know how JC Penny does things. Most places on shelves have exact items in exact positions that is identical from store to store (or type of store).

Not sure since fashion comes and goes and can vary by region if they give them more leeway on how stuff is organized. I could totally see some younger person thinking this was “funny”. Hopefully they will have time to work on their material when they are fired.

Of course if store level management instructed this, they probably need to be fired. I can’t imagine this was done on accident. It’s a whole 'nother kettle of fish if this was a corporate directive :confused:


#15

Also, girls like WINE WINE WINE, and manly men like BEER BEER BEER.


#16

No need to wine about it.


#24

They are a regular source that I use quite often.


#25

Free-LaMere: “The problem isn’t with the tribe shirts. It’s about the beer and wine shirts on either side. I suspect it was a local yokel who thought he/she was funny. Racism is bad here.”

Maybe. The tribe shirts are racist and JC Penny should never have offered them. But I’m skeptical of the juxtaposition being international (though it’s certainly possible). Having long ago worked in mall department stores as my first real job, my impression is that the wage-slaves staffing them are for the most part not the brightest bulbs in the pack.


#28

JCPenney stores actually receive the floor set directive from corporate (which is in Texas) . The individual stores have ZERO say how to merchandise .


#29

Racism, with a healthy dose of sexism as well.

Note how the men’s shirt says “tribe leader” while the women’s shirt says “love my tribe”


#30

The word tribe is hardly exclusive to Native Americans.

Tribe is just a generic word for any group of people who live as a community, it might as well be the word village or band.

As for the arrow imagery? I don’t know of many cultures that didn’t come up with the concept of the arrow.
Africans, Romans, Chinese warriors all used arrows. It is probably one of the most common concepts for a weapon, right up there with spears and swords.

To say that these shirts are based on Native Americans, as opposed to say, the Mongols, seems like an assumption to me.

Now if they were to throw in some more imagery, like bison or an eagle headress, it would be more concrete.