Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality


Why hate Abercrombie? In a world rife with human cruelty and oppression, why waste your scorn on a popular clothing retailer? The rationale, Dwight A. McBride argues, lies in "the banality of evil," or the quiet way discriminatory hiring practices and racist ad campaigns seep into and reflect malevolent undertones in American culture.

McBride maintains that issues of race and sexuality are often subtle and always messy, and his compelling new book does not offer simple answers. Instead, in a collection of essays about such diverse topics as biased marketing strategies, black gay media representations, the role of African American studies in higher education, gay personal ads, and pornography, he offers the evolving insights of one black gay male scholar.

As adept at analyzing affirmative action as dissecting Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, McBride employs a range of academic, journalistic, and autobiographical writing styles. Each chapter speaks a version of the truth about black gay male life, African American studies, and the black community. Original and astute, Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch is a powerful vision of a rapidly changing social landscape.


I began by remembering the most easily forgotten thing: truth telling is
not simple. It is not like the Norman Rockwell painting in which a
ruggedly handsome white man, whose plaid collar is literally blue, speaks
to the town meeting at his white clapboard church, while other white
men, wearing ties, listen in admiration. Truth telling isn’t like that.
Truth’s speakers don’t often radiate handsome honesty. They are discon
certing and diverse rather than comfortably familiar. They are rarely re
ceived with admiring attention. and what they have to say can seem be
yond hearing—or bearing. —Mark D. Jordan, Telling Truths in Church

Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality has been in the making for some time now. Indeed, the essays contained here span more than a decade. It is not a conventional book; it willfully transgresses genres. At turns academic, journalistic, and autobiographical, the book testifies to the fact that it takes a multiplicity of genres—sometimes working together in the same essay—to effectively render the truth of our lives. This is certainly the case if you believe, as I do, that truth telling is never simple or easy.

Part I of this book advances a variety of uses to which the serious analysis of race and gender together might be put. the first essay in this section ruminates on why and how the discipline of African American studies has for so long excluded any considerable focus on sexuality. It also goes far toward challenging the discipline for the incomplete and monolithic picture of the African American community that it has for so long projected and protected. the second essay in this section takes a look at the clothier and its advertising campaign to examine what it has successfully packaged and marketed— a rarified form of elite whiteness that depends upon the racist thinking and . . .

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