Target: Central States Novelty, LLC
Goal: Issue formal apology for offensive image promoting the murder of immigrants and promise to no longer manufacture products with the image
A bumper sticker sold at a convenience store chain in Colorado has recently stirred up a firestorm of controversy. Intended as a “joke”, the sticker reads “illegal immigrant hunting permit.” The sticker also has a note on the bottom saying, “No bag limit — tagging not required.” The small rectangular sticker has a green background with a yellow outline of the continental United States that has an imprint of “USA” on it.
In October 2011, an online retailer in the San Francisco Bay area called CafePress stopped selling a t-shirt with the same “illegal immigrant hunting permit” image after receiving complaints. “This product has absolutely no use other than to spread, incite, promote and justify racial hatred, violence, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred based on intolerance and to demonize immigrants as invaders who should be shot on sight,” activist Victor Hoelscher wrote in a petition to CafePress at the time.
An employee claimed that the stickers were not meant to be sold but possibly “slipped in.” A spokesperson for the company that owns the convenience score, Agfinity, said the stickers were removed over the weekend. Agfinity finally issued an apology on its Facebook page as outrage over the sticker escalated,
The sticker is made by a company called Central States Novelty, which describes itself on its website as “one of, if not the largest, wholesale supplier of novelties, gifts and general merchandise for the convenience store and truck stop industry in the Midwest.” According to Latino Rebels, when they attempted to contact Central State Novelty, a woman answered the phone, and after the group identified themselves, the woman said “no comment” and proceeded to hang up. The company still has not issued an apology.
In light of the national conversation about comprehensive immigration reform, which would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the bumper stickers are especially hateful and only serve to further alienate immigrant populations. Demand an apology from the company responsible for this reprehensible product.
Dear Central States Novelty,
We are disappointed that you have yet to apologize for manufacturing products with the offensive “Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit” image. Although meant to be a joke, the image is not humorous. In fact, it is extremely hurtful and frightening to the millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in this country.
The debate surrounding immigration entails real human stakes, stakes that you minimize and degrade when you make a “joke” out of people who are struggling. Undocumented, or illegal as you call them, immigrants are real people with real jobs, lives, and families. No matter how unserious you claim it may be, the image is incredibly dehumanizing, reducing immigrants to hunting targets. When you make a joke that not only makes fun of a huge swath of people in our country, but encourages violence against them, you contribute to a system of prejudice and xenophobia that plagues this nation. Please issue a formal apology for the image and promise to cease producing products with its image.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: 9news Colorado