Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Toys-R-Us, Stand Tall and Don't Back Down

The "Just Married" Issue
Dear Toys-R-Us,

I applaud and support the continuing sale of the "Just Married" issue of the Archie comic book in your stores.

Because this edition of the series involves the wedding of a gay regular character to his male partner, the bigoted watchdog group "One Million Moms" has launched an online campaign asking that you remove this comic book from your shelves. In light of this action, I implore you to be brave and hold your ground.

Certainly, the idea of "One Million Moms" speaking out against a toy store sounds intimidating, but it's much less so when you pause to consider the facts. 
  1. "One Million Moms" isn't really one million moms. According to the group's own website, they are "searching for one million moms" to join their fight against perceived "filth", but in reality, even on Facebook they only have 45,000 "Likes." This is a small group of moralists trying to impose their views on others.
  2. You're taking the high road. You have customers, employees, and shareholders who are gay, or who have gay friends and family. There are kids shopping in your store everyday who will grow up to be gay (with or without the "Just Married" Archie comic). By not discriminating, you help all of us feel more proud and more respected. 
  3. This is not about indecency. Rest assured, you are not selling something pornographic, or obscene. Keep it real. This is about a comic book with a wedding on the cover.
  4. Fighting intolerance is ultimately good business. Facing down discrimination takes guts and leadership, and those attributes are ultimately rewarded in the marketplace. Those who refuse to evolve with the changing world will be left behind by it.
The "One Million Moms" organization challenged JCPenney's choice of Ellen Degeneres as a spokeswoman, and when JCPenney refused to reverse their decision, the company enjoyed an enormous groundswell of support and appreciation from regular folks, some of whom were already JCPenney loyalists, and many of whom vowed to become new customers.

Unlike the American Family Association's "One Million Moms" project, I don't falsely claim to represent one million of anything. But let me say that on behalf of reasonably intelligent, tolerant, ordinary people everywhere (all of whom have to buy toys for their kids, nieces, nephews, and others) - thank you. Keep up the good work. Stand tall, and don't back down.

Jeff McKown
San Carlos, CA

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