Well, there are some signs of the changing times that are funny as heck: racist Spanky & Our Gang movies, violent Road Runner cartoons, and Frank Zappa’s semi-blackface ThingFish opera. Then there are those that almost slip by you when you’re looking at the entire scene and not the makeup of the individual pieces in it. This is an example of two that were so easy to ignore “back in the day” and so totally wrong today.
The baking soda’s saving grace was that it wasn’t called something really bad, like [Washington] Redskins. Yeah, we use that term to this day for a football team because changing it seems too “politically correct” for purists of the sport. Nevermind that there was a Washington basketball team called The Bullets who got a name change to the Wizards. Bullets are a bit too common in Washington D.C. and they don’t discriminate, offing anyone regardless of race. “Redskins”, on the other hand, only seriously pisses off Native Americans. This can’s artwork wouldn’t make it on today’s grocery shelves; the implication is just too strong. [Slight aside: Aunt Jemima syrup got a minor makeover and the obviously stereotypical “mammy” black woman doesn’t look so much like a slave owner’s trusted cook and breast-feeder for the kids anymore. I mention this because of the waffle iron, where waffles that probably used Aunt Jemima syrup were made.]
But the how the popcorn survived even the shortest retail life is a true mystery. “Midget”? Even with what looks like an adult carrying a suitcase half his size?!? DAMN! An online auction site that had a tin of Midget Pop Corn closed bidding on my birthday (Ignore that. I mean, really. ) with the asking price of $55. Hurry, hurry! Step right up to be the owner of a piece of American bigot history! Woo hoo!
In the kitchen of a historical building, I’m OK with this being displayed. In fact, I am happy it’s here to show how far we’ve come. California was part of The North in a Civil War so we were supposed to be more tolerant of the sad slave heritage. But I wish a piece of it had found its way into the Mansion too. When California became a state, there was an even split of 13 to 13 states either opposing or favouring slavery. California broke that tie, being admitted into the Union as a “free state”. But slavery existed here all thru the Gold Rush and California was the centre of that massive migration. it’s too bad some reminder of the importance of that California history didn’t make it into the monument.
Anyway, the “Indians” and short people got screwed regardless. Those of us who know the history will just have to imagine Aunt Jemima’s waffle topping here to give a nod to the “Negros” too. :-D