Racist Necklace at Topshop Is Incredibly Offensive (PHOTO)

necklaceA statement necklace sold by Topshop has just a little too much to say -- or maybe it's the way it's saying it? I never thought I'd have a reason to write the words "racist jewelry" but that's pretty much what the fuss is all about. Topshop selling a yellowface "head charm necklace" -- with matching bracelet and earrings, no less? Why on God's green Earth would a person think this is a good idea?

Topshop thinks we're making a big deal out of nothing. When a shopper complained to a store manager she was told the jewelry was "acceptable, because it was vintage style and not racist," she says via Twitter. Facepalm! Since when are "vintage style" and "racist" mutually exclusive? Oh man, if we listed all the "vintage" things we no longer buy because they're also racist ... well, let's just say I have better things to do with my day.

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But maybe you're not convinced it's So Bad? Refinery 29 blogger Venus Wong explains, "As a Chinese native, I can't ignore the racist undertones of these items." And then she delves into an important history lesson for context.

The charms bear an uncanny resemblance to the caricatures in anti-Chinese propaganda cartoons of the 1880s, when the Chinese Exclusion Act and all its institutionalized, dehumanizing policies were in full effect. (In fact, Chinese people weren't allowed to immigrate to the United States until 1943, and many weren't able to own property until 1965, which makes the jewelry's "Freedom Found" moniker especially ironic.)

Anyway, it ain't all bad because hey, at least we all learned an interesting history lesson. It's these pieces of cultural information that make us civilized, thoughtful citizens of the world. Which is what we all want to be, right? (Actually, no, that necklace is still pretty bad.)

Now that I've pointed out why the context of this bauble is ugly, can we talk about how it's not even pretty to begin with? If you want to rip off another culture for a cheap statement necklace there are plenty of other options and colors to choose from, for crying out loud.  

What do you think about this necklace -- did learning about the cultural context change your opinion?

 

Image ©iStock.com/Dizzy

 

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