Petition to DeAnne Stidham, Mr. Mark Stidham, Mr. Terrel Transtrum
Eliminate Culturally Appropriated and Racist Prints from LuLaRoe
As a plus-size woman, who has struggled constantly with her weight, LuLaRoe clothing has finally made me feel good in my own skin. I'm not the only one. Everyone I know who has tried LLR feels the same. And my consultant friends *actually* make great money. Talk about a win-win-win! That's why I am brokenhearted to say that I will no longer be purchasing any LLR clothes until some essential, important changes happen. Namely, this is regarding the culturally appropriated and blatantly racist prints that occasionally pop up in LuLaRoe stock. What is Cultural Appropriation? MyLatinatas.com says it best: "Cultural appropriation is the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture by another. In terms of fashion, it means taking ones culture and displaying it as a style for yourself without considering where it came from, erasing its history." Wikipedia adds this: "Cultural appropriation is seen as controversial, even harmful, notably when the cultural property of a minority group is used by members of the dominant culture without the consent of the members of the originating culture; this is seen as misappropriation and a violation of intellectual property rights." The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Appropriation Purchasing a beautiful Mexican piece of art from a Mexican artist is appreciation. As is wearing a sari during an Indian wedding when invited to by the bridal party. But sporting bindis as a fashion statement and wearing Native American or Mexican costumes at Halloween is appropriation. Examples of Problem Prints at LuLaRoe Aztec(See LLR example here: https://goo.gl/photos/6hqteaTMGRS9H2Dv9)What consumers may not know is that Aztec patterns originated from Mexico. "Aztec" refers to ethnic groups from central Mexico, most known is the group that held empire in Tenochtitlan. These patterns are cultural artifacts.Let's consider that these cultural artifacts were made for trade and for consumption to sustain these ethnic groups' economies.However much that is sold today, the manufacturers aren't "true producers" of this pattern. How much, if any, of the profits are being given to those who originated the pattern? This is certainly not being done with LuLaRoe. (*1) Sugar Skulls(See LuLaRoe example here: https://goo.gl/photos/LR47FbRbZeg5vqpZ9)Sugar Skulls are an important part of Day of the Dead, otherwise known as Dia de los Muertos. It’s a celebration about those who have passed away and takes place every year on November 2. Some people often think that the flower crown and sugar skull face paint is just another spooky costume for them to wear, but it’s a huge part of Mexican culture and tradition. It is a sacred way for them to honor their deceased loved ones. It is not a design to be used in fashion, especially by those who are not a part of the culture. (*2) Native American Headdresses and Dream Catchers(See LuLaroe examples here:https://goo.gl/photos/7Qru6nJM3ywxDxQe8 and herehttps://goo.gl/photos/psXbnVaVZedwuC9DA)Not only is wearing Native American headdresses extreme appropriation, it is an insult to the elders who have spent their entire lives earning the right to wear these spiritual garments. Made-in-China dream catchers and non-Native fabrics displaying these images proliferate the “Native American” marketplace. This not only offends Natives on a racial level, but it takes away the livelihood of authentic, Native artisans who learned their craft through many generations. (*3) South Asian/Indian Imagery(See LuLaRoe example here:https://goo.gl/photos/1ykzXK87Fu5XmZoJA)Using hindu/Indian/asian iconography, including elephants with ethnic designs, is just another form of appropriation. One could easily have plain elephants and no one would be hurt (or the wiser).In addition, the elephants that have saddles or blankets on them also perpetuate the cruel practice of elephant riding. Swastikas(See LuLaRoe example here: https://goo.gl/photos/b7L66ivRzR5PKkSy9)You have to have been born under a rock to not be familiar with what Swastikas mean to western culture. One of the biggest mass murderers in history, Adolf Hitler, used the Swastika to represent the Nazi party. Once WW2 was over, 11 million innocent jews, gays, Poles, Jehovah Witnesses, Romanis, and courageous resisters were dead.What many people don't realize is that the Nazi party stole the Swastika from religious groups, including Hindus and Buddhists. Not only did they appropriate a cultural icon that means "good luck or fortune," but they used it for terror and death. Black Face Sock Monkey/Golliwog(See LuLaRoe example here:https://goo.gl/photos/Q4BW5aP7ogMsJrtq8)We all know what a sock monkey looks like. The LuLaRoe print shown in the above link is absolutely, 100% not a sock monkey. Instead, it is a Golliwog.The golliwog contributed enormously to the spread of blackface iconography during the late 1800s and into the 20th century. It's one and only purpose was to make black people look unintelligent, ugly, and ridiculous. Even the name itself is a slur. Again, this is another example of the shameful use of racist and appropriating imagery by LuLaRoe.Update on this print: According to my LLR consultant print, LLR will be pulling this print. While this is a good first step, larger strides are still needed within the company to eliminate racism and appropriation. What LuLaRoe Can Do Again, if I didn't love and appreciate LuLaRoe, I wouldn't be bothering with this petition. Instead, I'd be screaming from the rooftops for people to boycott the company. That's why I am hoping LuLaRoe will read and research everything I have said above. Plus, I highly recommend that LLR hire a diversity consulting team who can properly review prints before they are released for sale. Yes, you may at first have a few people who yell and compalin about not having their beloved aztecs or sugar skulls. But replace them with equally unique and beautiful prints and you will not only keep your customers, but you will create more LLR lovers who will appreciate you taking an ethical stance on cultural appropriation. Thank you so much for the info and help from: http://mylatinitas.com/profiles/blogs/cultures-are-not-trends (*1) http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/cultural-exchange-and-cultural-appropriation/ http://www.inquisitr.com/2537340/why-its-offensive-to-wear-a-day-of-the-dead-costume-for-halloween/ (*2) http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/08/honor-native-americans-without-appropriating/ (*3) https://www.buzzfeed.com/meaganb4a1065421/7-examples-of-disgusting-lularoe-prints-xxn7?utm_term=.jsdxwwJrx#.hc7zqqLxz (photo credits) http://wearyourvoicemag.com/more/culture/11-culturally-appropriated-indian-accessories-really-mean
Petition to Dr. McShepard-Ray
A School-wide Discussion on Cultural Equality & Understanding
Recently, I, Anyah Gilmore-Jones, have come to a realization that as students of MLK we celebrate diversity and we are proud of the fact that we are a school that has various different cultures and people from unique backgrounds. Due to the events that have occurred recently, pertaining racially offensive posts and some eye opening encounters I've had,I, along with some fellow classmates feel that a discussion on various topics about race and cultures should be initiated. Not only would this provide clarity, but continue to encourage the same safe, respectful, environment not only MLK encourages, but we, as Americans value so dear heartedly.
Petition to Wando High Administration, Charleston County School District
Change Wando High School's Mascot
Racism is racism, no matter what. And at Wando High School, racism is promoted everyday by the usage of a "warrior" mascot—clearly a Native American. The depiction of this Native man is not entirely cartoonish, like many sports teams or schools, but it in and of itself is racist. Why? In short, it's disrespectful. Using any race, including Native races, as a mascot is harmful. Seeing a stereotypical Black or Asian person used as a cartoon or mascot would be racist, so why not a Native person? Natives are not just demographics. They are people that white people stole from, raped and murdered for their own benefit years ago and pushed to reservations and manipulated today. They are people that white people have hurt, and are now dressing up as at high school football games. Native people find this use of their culture and depiction not as an honor, but as racist. It dehumanizes them. It equals them to a character, not a group of people. This is why it needs to stop. Young kids go to these football games or see the mascot and think it's normal, or that it's okay. It's not. It's racism. It's normalized. And it needs to come to an end.
Petition to Charles Coristine, Brooke Molinaroli, Lisa Harris, Jesse Dinius
Rename Buddha Bowl Popcorn and Reject Cultural Appropriation
More than 500 million people in the world practice Buddhism, and even more are curious about and learning about the ancient tradition that originated in Asia more than 2000 years ago. Practicing Buddhists respect and revere The Three Jewels--the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha--because these three gems are the foundation of Buddhist practice. So when companies like LesserEvil use important Buddhist symbols in naming products, marketing their products, and selling their products to the masses for the sake of publicity, they offend the multitudes of people who see these symbols as expressions of their faith, dedication, and practice. LesserEvil Healthy Brands Co. currently produces the Buddha Bowl, an organic popcorn product that comes in a variety of flavors. In addition to using the name that refers to an enlightened being, the product packaging also features a monk in a robe holding a bowl of popcorn. It is deeply disrespectful and discriminatory to use religious and spiritual symbols in creating and producing goods for for-profit companies that are wholly disconnected from the tradition. I care because I am a practicing Buddhist who connects deeply with the significance behind the title Buddha, the role and image of a monk or nun, and the importance of the Buddha's teachings to achieve peace in oneself and in the world. I am offended to see the Buddha's image used to sell snacks, just as I would be equally offended to see the image of Jesus Christ, God, or the Prophet Muhammad on the packaging of food or candy. But LesserEvil can make things right by changing the name of their product to something that does not appropriate and exploit the important images and symbols from this ancient tradition. There are numerous decision-makers at LesserEvil who can make this possible, including: The President and CEO - Charles CoristineVice President of Product Development - Lisa HarrisBrand and Marketing Consultant - Brooke MolinaroliMarketing Manager - Jesse Dinius Let us make LesserEvil aware that using the name Buddha and the image of a monk on its product is inappropriate, disrespectful, and inflammatory. They can right this wrong by changing the name of its product, and issuing an apology in acknowledgement.
Petition to Lena Dunham
End Pizza Now! End Cultural Appropriation!
It is a sad fact that the white men of the world are not content to simply rape and pillage other cultures. They also want to appropriate the traditions of other cultures for themselves. Courageously, Lena Dunham has backed the students at Oberlin college in their fight against this grave social injustice. College kids have realized that when their $66,000 a year college served them sushi and banh mi in the dining hall that the thing to do was not to be grateful. It was to be incensed. Sushi is from Japan and the Banh Mi is from Vietnam. Have not white men already taken enough from these people? Now, they want their food. As Lena put it, “There are now big conversations at Oberlin, where I went to college, about cultural appropriation and whether the dining hall sushi and banh mi disrespect certain cuisines. The press reported it as, ‘How crazy are Oberlin kids?’ But to me, it was actually, ‘Right on.’” Right on indeed, sister. Fight the power. Now, we must take the crusade to the next level. We must ban pizza. Not just on campuses. But globally. This will be hard for Lena because she loves pizza but we know that as a righteous sister in revolution there is no sacrifice she will not make in the name of the cause. You see pizza isn't really Italian. Pizza only exists because Columbus sailed to the New World and those rapacious white men culturally appropriated the tomato from the Aztecs. We must end pizza now! We must also end the Banh Mi because that's a French baguette with Vietnamese toppings. And we have to end sushi because rice was brought to Japan from China. We must end all deliciousness and isolate ourselves from other cultures. Because if you want to create cultural understanding what you do is you discourage fraternization, mixing or eating deliciousness that might make you think that "Wow! That other culture just made awesome in my mouth! Thanks, other culture." The Mexicans who actually suffered the clash of the Aztec and Spanish cultures have taken a rather mature view of what happened. At the Plaza de las Tres Culturas where the last Aztec Emperor Cuahtemoc made his final stand against Hernan Cortez, there is an inscription that reads "Neither a victory nor a defeat, but the painful moment of birth of the Mexico of today, of a race of Mestizos." Mexican culture isn't Spanish or Aztec. It's a blend of the two. The taco and the burrito feature corn tortillas and tomatoes from the Aztecs and meat and cheese from the Spanish. These cultures must be kept separate. You can have a corn tortilla with tomatoes and you can have a lump of meat with cheese but how dare you put them together?!? That isn't a taco. It's a symbol of rape! And so is pizza. So put that slice down and take to the streets. We must separate the cultures of the world in the name of tolerance. Ban pizza now!