Cute Natives Yet Again

Are they children, or just sort of generically pudgy cuties?  One way or the other, this set confirms the prevalence of certain characteristics as markers of a stereotype.  They wear fringed leather-coloured garments.  They have round eyes and chubby cheeks.  The male has the usual war bonnet, the female the usual one feather sticking up from a headband. Both have very black hair.  And she has pigtails.   This short list of attributes represents just about all the things that stereotypically identify a stereotype of cute and harmless aboriginality.  (There are, of course, more savage and more brutally primitive stereotypes out there, but those don’t appear to be represented all that much in the world of salt and pepper shakers.

Like many characters in cartoon movies, this pair appear to have only four fingers on each hand.  In other words, very much not quite human.  But they are very, very happy.  I especially like the guy’s impossible smile, which actually does seem to go from ear to ear.

Published by pernodel

Children’s literature critic and author of books for children

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