Clothing Company Strikes Up Controversy with Arabic Dearborn Shirt
A shirt made by the company Down with Detroit features a screenprint of "Dearborn" written in Arabic.
A T-shirt design released Wednesday by local clothing company Down with Detroit has stirred up conversation that the design is racist.
The design shows the word "Dearborn" written in Arabic.
Posted on the company's Facebook page Wednesday evening, the photo immediately sparked debate over whether the design is offensive.
"Maybe not racist ... maybe tasteless," wrote fan Dion Pallone. "Not a fan of it."
"Well, never bought a DWD shirt, and unless this ridiculous shirt is removed, I will never endorse it," added Jillian Christine.
"Dearborn is the largest Islamic area in the U.S.," contested fan Jeremy Welker. "If this is racist then so is having a brew on an Irish shirt, or having a rapper on a Detroit shirt."
As of Thursday morning, the post had more than 300 comments, 200 likes, and 32 shares.
Down with Detroit responded to many of the comments, but did not remove the shirt, contesting that it was no different than other shirts they had made about the heritage of some Michigan residents.
"This has nothing to do with politics," the company said. "Dearborn has the nation's largest Arab population. This design was made by an Iraqi-American who is Catholic."
Founded in 2006, Down with Detroit is a clothing company known for original designs that promote Detroit, surrounding suburbs and Michigan, as well as local sports teams. It has been named in HOUR Media's Best of Detroit.
The Dearborn shirt is not the only edgy design the company offers. One shirt displays "Taylortucky," a nickname given to the city of Taylor; another shirt for Mexicantown shows a cactus wearing a sombrero.
"To say it mildly, we were totally taken aback by the comments," the company posted Thursday morning. "We didn't view this design any differently than our Corktown, Hamtramck and Mexicantown shirts, but it sure was received differently!"
Access Down with Detroit online at http://downwithdetroit.spreadshirt.com.