Tuesday, October 27, 2020

When Did Aunt Jemina Become Racist?

 I was at an auction last week and purchased an number of cast iron mechanical banks.   One of the banks was a figure of an African American Woman with a scarf tied around her hair and knotted above her forehead.  I took some pictures of the bank and put it up on eBay.  Before listing, I checked and there were currently several of the same bank listed and several shown as sold.  The bank was made in England by John Harper and Co.  I explained that it was in good working condition and that the bank resembled a famous breakfast food marketing icon, Aunt Jemima.  eBay canceled my listing stating:

"We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed."

    I contacted eBay and asked when "Aunt Jemima" became racist. They could not give me an answer.   For those of you that have been living under a rock, Aunt Jemima was a brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods marketed all over America from 1889 to about 2015.  It was my favorite pancake mix and syrup when I was a kid.  I will not deny that racism has existed in this country and around the world for as long as their have been people.  I also know Irish and Catholics in Ireland hated each other and they were the same race.   Just as Muslims and Christians have killed each other because of their religion. But that's not the end of it. It has gone on and on.  

    When I was in middle school, I was one of three white kids in a school with fifteen hundred African American students.  African American are not immune from acting based on racism. I can say from experience that it is far better to be one of three blacks in a white school, than one of three whites in a black school.   

    Why is someone's sensitivities is allowed the set the agenda and define the terms of our society.  Where does this stop?  The fact that someone could possibly be offended by the sight of a Christian cross should not result in the banning of displaying the cross.  People around the world have historically used the symbol of the rolling log, but in one society it is called a swastika and is now banned almost everywhere.  I have a antique American Indian Basket that has the rolling log symbol and I can not sell it on eBay.  

     Imagines and words have no intrinsic power to create a feeling or hurt on their own.  You can call me a cracker all you want. It will not make me angry or hurt my feelings.  I will not give those words that power.  I will however think you are probably an idiot.  



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