Furor Over a Village Antique Shop: Americana or Souvenirs of Racism
“In Tallahassee, Fla., at the Black Archives Research Center and Museum, which shows the history of blacks in America from slavery to the present, there is a special room called the ‘Coon Room.’
‘That was a commonly used 19th- and 20th-century word with a racist meaning,’ said Titus Brown, a research associate at the museum, at Florida A&M University. ‘We call it the Coon Room because most of the artifacts in there depict blacks in negative fashion, with exaggerated features, like their lips, noses and hair. They were creating materials to make blacks unequal, to show they were subhuman, to justify their own racism.’
Mr. Brown said he thought these were ‘useful historically to show blacks what race relations were really like.’ But like Ms. Carson and Mrs. Canada, he objects to reproductions of this racist art, like the piggy bank in Mr. Breen's shop.
‘Reproductions are just fostering the negative,’ he said. ‘We don't need to reproduce that history in which one people lacked respect for another people's culture.’”*
"Inside, the dealer, Thomas Breen, has other items of what he calls black Americana, including a 'Jolly Nigger' cast-iron mechanical piggy bank. As Mr. Breen describes the bank, 'You put money in his hand and an arm goes to the mouth' and his eyes roll. The bank was made in Taiwan; Mr. Breen used a buffing machine to make it look like an antique.'"
"A growing number of blacks who once considered mammy dolls and other black memorabilia racist propaganda say they are now collecting these materials as a reminder of a period in American history that many consider painful and ugly....Nearly half the estimated 10,000 collectors of black memorabilia are themselves black; five years ago fewer than 20 percent of collectors were black....Black entertainers like Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Jackson are said to be collectors of the genre, as is Patrick Kelly, the Paris fashion designer, who is black....But the popularity and especially, the commercialization of these items, in particular the negative stereotypes, has opened old wounds. It has also renewed a longstanding debate among blacks about whether such objects should be embraced as part of black history."
If you think this is old history and no longer the case, you are wrong. Make no mistake about it, my daughters are still benefiting from being white. It has been the American way and will continue to be until we change it.
I'd like to hear how middle-class, white Christian men get discriminated, please.
There is no such thing, in any objective sense, as "race."
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