(Photo credit: Down with Detroit)
(Photo credit: Down with Detroit)

BY CHANDAR BALAKUMAR, Guest Writer

Down with Detroit, a local clothing company drew the ire of many local metro area residents this week with one of its new t-shirt designs promoting Dearborn’s large ethnic Arab population.

The design incorporates the word “Dearborn” spelled in Arabic letters, with the company specifying their intention as showcasing the area’s rich culture. Though many have come forward to say otherwise, worried of any racial connotations.

Compared to similar racy logos depicting cactuses wearing a sombrero highlighting Mexicantown and another with the name “Taylortucky” satirizing the city of Taylor, the current “Dearborn” design was the one to catch the heat of residents.

“We didn’t view this design any differently than our Corktown, Hamtramck and Mexicantown shirts, but it sure was received” the company announced Thursday in response to the 300 plus comments on the company’s Facebook post.

Though the reaction is mixed within the local community, closer at home in UM-Dearborn, the reaction is overly supportive of the design.

“Quite frankly, I do not think it is offensive whatsoever because I have seen a shirt that says Michigan in Chinese before,” replied freshmen Ruishen Teh.

“It is no secret that we have a culturally diverse community and a large Arab population. We are proud to display our cultures and share them within the community,” added Dearborn resident and sophomore Christine Hall.

“It disheartens me to see that a shirt simply written in Arabic could be seen as racist by some people,” President-Elect Dennis Lienhardt said.

Being relatively new to the business since its founding in 2006, honors such as HOUR Media’s Best of Detroit have been awarded to highlight the company’s efforts within the metro Detroit area.

The company’s other designs of “Detroit won’t techno for an answer!” and “Great Lakes State of Mind”, do a service by promoting Michigan and its communities.

  • Fernando

    I think it is RIDICULOUS to say a shirt showing a city name in a different language is “racist” or that it has racist connotation!!! If that were so then for the last 40+ years all the “GO BLUE” shirts in most major languages are racist? Come on people……get a life seriously!

  • Michelle

    I am confused as to how this shirt is “racist”. It spells out Dearborn in Arabic. I don’t believe Dearborn is a threatening word or could be construed as a terrorist threat.

  • Shahid

    The problem wasn’t that people thought the shirt was racist. Rather, the problem was racist people who thought the shirt should never have been made. Such people made fallacious and stereotyping comments indicative of their prejudice against Arabs and Muslims.