Monday, July 28, 2008

display their values with t-shirts

[Cross-posted by request from Know Good White People]


Calling a few adventurous anti-racists…

I am conducting an experiment, and I need the help of ten people of various ethnic backgrounds who are willing to participate.

The experiment will simply entail wearing a (free) t-shirt that features a photo of an abolitionist hero with the message “I’ll choose my own heroes, thank you.” Participants must agree to post about reactions to the shirt.

There are two different t-shirts in the experiment. Both feature white American abolitionists. One of the t-shirts features a picture of John Brown, the other a picture of James and Lucretia Mott. See samples of each shirt below.

Of course, the text on the shirt would indicate that the individual depicted there is indeed someone you would choose as a hero — if that is not the case, you would not be an appropriate candidate for this experiment. I am looking for participants who would choose John Brown and/or James and Lucretia Mott as individuals they would refer to as heroes.

The shirt is free to ten selected participants who write to "knowgoodwhitepeople" at novelistkc@gmail.com Please include a brief paragraph about your interest and/or involvement in anti-racist issues, indicate your ethnicity(ies), and tell me why you are interested in this experiment. Also please include a mailing address, and indicate which of the shirts you would prefer (and why).

Front of John Brown T-shirt

Front of John Brown T-shirtBack of John Brown T-shirt

Back of John Brown T-shirt

Back of John Brown T-shirt

Front of James and Lucretia Mott T-shirt

Front of James and Lucretia Mott T-shirt

Back of James and Lucretia Mott T-shirt

Back of James and Lucretia Mott T-shirt

Email your request to novelistkc@gmail.com

These t-shirts (prior to decoration) are produced by American Apparel. To read about their committment to a sweat-shop free work environment and fair wages and benefits for their employees visit:

http://www.americanapparel.net/contact/ourworkers.html



UPDATE: knowgoodwhitepeople adds:

Damn, I thought I was doing my homework when I found AA. :-( It is ridiculously difficult to find a clothing manufacturer that is not tied in some way to the abuse of human beings.

Does anyone know of a cruelty-free t-shirt manufacturer?

10 comments:

  1. You can read about Dov Charney's (the owner of American Apparel) sexist and abusive treatment of his employees here

    ReplyDelete
  2. Damn, I thought I was doing my homework when I found AA. :-( It is ridiculously difficult to find a clothing manufacturer that is not tied in some way to the abuse of human beings.

    Does anyone know of a cruelty-free t-shirt manufacturer?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, I know what you mean :-/

    It is ridiculously hard. I hate it for you too, cause they make such cute things and I had seen a cool little report about their anti-sweatshop policy.


    Then there was that

    ReplyDelete
  4. This American Life did a segment on how the Gap, Nike and Addidas are working with the Cambodian government to eliminate sweatshop labor.

    I mean, I value the idea of what AA is promoting, but I can't get on board with the sexist and drug-abusing culture that they promote. It's a bit like biting off your nose to spite your face.

    Here's a link to the TAL episode:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=303

    ReplyDelete
  5. As someone else mentioned, I'd really love to participate but I feel weird about American Apparel, with all the sexism and the lawsuits they've been handling. I know in college my school endorsed Gildan as being sweatshop-free t-shirts, and they come in a ton of colors (and are pretty cheap, too). You might also check Cafepress, actually - I think they have one shirt that's sweatshop free (I know, *one* shirt. How progressive of them).

    This really looks like an amazing project.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the suggestions, sheana, unfortunately it looks like Gildan's reputation is even worse than Dov Charney's

    Re: Gildan Activewear

    By Chris Osher - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Friday, August 24, 2004--

    Free Pittsburgh Pirates T-shirts handed out by a bank at the team's home games are made in a Honduran sweatshop that committed labor violations, a protest group alleged Monday.

    About a dozen protesters gathered at the park near the Roberto Clemente statue before the Pirates-Diamondbacks game to protest what they contend are low-paying jobs, dangerous working conditions and sexual abuse at the Gildan Activewear sewing factory in El Progreso, Honduras.

    The protesters contend Gildan decided to close the Honduran factory at the end of September after workers there tried to form a union. The plant employs 1,800 people. The protesters called on the Pirates to pressure Gildan to keep the factory open and improve working conditions.


    CafePress does have 2 t-shirt styles that are sweatshop free -- they are both produced by American Apparel.

    :-O

    ReplyDelete
  7. http://nosweatapparel.com/ is as far as I know an oppression-free clothing manufacturer.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would be completely open to wearing the shirt. I love things like that.

    If a non-sweatshop manufactuter is found, let me know and I will be happy to participate!

    queenofegypt@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I believe Bella is socially responsible... at least, that's what I've heard so far (and if I find out they're not I'm going to have a breakdown, 'cuz I just finished designing a bunch of shirts on their template).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gildan are OK now - your quote is from 2004. Check the Fair Labor Association website and you'll find that Gildan meet their standards. NB I'm not an advocate for Gildan particularly, but have been researching them before ordering sweatshirts for my kids' school.

    ReplyDelete

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