04.18.08

Lack Of Offical Licensing Is The Least Of This Shirt’s Problems

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, Racism Corner, The Marketplace at 11:44 am by

“There’s a little piece of Harry Caray’s bigoted soul inside all of us” sighs Hot Shit College Student, who forwarded the following item from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer :

A Kosuke Fukudome T-shirt with a racist image is the hottest-selling item at a souvenir stand that sells unlicensed Cubs-related merchandise across Addison Street from the ballpark, according to Mark Kolbusz, who’s in his fourth season operating the stand.

On the front of the shirt is the traditional Cubs cartoon bear face but with slanted eyes and wearing oversized Harry Caray-style glasses. It’s accompanied by the words ”Horry Kow,” scrawled in cartoonish ”Japanese” script. Fukudome’s name and number are on the back.

”That’s the No. 1 seller this year, by far,” said Kolbusz, who estimates one in 10 customers complain about being offended.

‘I don’t know what the creator of the shirt meant this to be, but they should make it right,” Fukudome said through his interpreter after being shown one of the shirts Thursday. ”Maybe the creator created it because he thought it was funny, or maybe he made it to condescend the race. I don’t know.”

Kolbusz said he’s ”indifferent” to the image on the shirt.

”I’m making money,” he said. ”It doesn’t offend me. If other people are offended by it, it’s just a silly T-shirt. Nobody is trying to offend anybody.”

Kolbusz went as far as pointing out that the shirt’s creator is ”an Oriental guy” and also pointed out an Asian woman he sold a shirt to.

But the customer in question, Laureen Hom, had no intention of wearing the shirt, she said.

”I bought it for my mom, who has a collection of racist images of Asian Americans,” she said. And, she added, the fact the creator is Asian ”is no excuse.”

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