Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black Americana is Not "Cute"

As a seller of vintage goods, I frequently come across "Black Americana." Mammy dolls, Uncle Remus, Aunt Jemima, "pickaninnies," and anything that looks like a black dysmorphic clown is not cute. It is racist.
There are positive historical icons of African Americans out there. I'm aware of them and all for them. These are not what I'm disparaging.
I'm also not advocating setting the racist items on fire (though I do have the impulse), as it is an unfortunate part of our history. Still, they need to be recognized as a mockery and not just sweet little cookie jars.

Etsy's "DOs and DONTs" actually state:
Items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation; including items or content that promote organizations with such views
So, along with relics of the Hitler youth, the racially demeaning salt and pepper shakers can't technically be sold on Etsy.

I'm more than happy to report any listing that uses the words "cute" and "mammy" in the same sentence. I find this a thousand times more offensive than the four letter words and artistic nudes that have to be labeled "mature."

If you sell vintage, please take this into consideration before you buy or list that horrific lawn jockey.

What do you think? Please comment! I know it's a hard issue and there's no "right" answer, just my strong opinion.


My Little Angel Co. said...

I completely agree!!

Niftic Vintage said...

No Jill, it's not cute but it's an unfortunate part of our American history. These items are highly coveted for the time period they represent, not out of disregard for what they represent but as a tribute to a very sad time in American history. Let's never forget! Black Americana should be preserved.

JillHannah said...

I can accept that they need to be preserved in a "NEVER FORGET!" sense. It's the listings that call them adorable and the people who collect them because they're "just darling" that get my goat. And you'd be amazed how many people are on that side of the fence!