Cabbage Riders

These fellows make no sense to me at all:They are, clearly another pair of black stereotypes–they have the usual thick red lips and round white eyes, a la the Aunt Jemima of my last few posts.  But they are not, this time, African American stereotypes, or if they are I have no idea about why they might have climbed on top of a pair of what appear to be Chinese cabbages.  Is it some sort of cabbage race?  Are the vegetable-like things they are climbing on meant to be Sui Choy, or are they some stubby form of Bok Choy?  Are the human figures on the vegetables meant to be Indians or Sri Lankans, perhaps?  Why else are they reclining on Asian vegetables?  Might they be African boat people on a slow boat to China?  I have a feeling there is possibly a bug metaphor in play–but it’s just a feeling.  So this is another pair which remain a strange mystery to me.  Someone apparently thought there was a market for these, an audience that knew some phrase or something through the  lens of which which they could view these shakers.  I am not in that audience.   If anyone who is could give a hand, I’d be grateful.

Published by pernodel

Children’s literature critic and author of books for children

One thought on “Cabbage Riders

  1. A friend (thanks, Cornelia) has reported the find of a possibly relevant book on the German version of Google Books: The Best on the East: Mystery and Adventures, by Vera Velichko, which contains a story in English, perhaps a translation from Russian, called “The Negro and the Head of Cabbage.” In it, a negro who appears in a scientist’s laboratory is described as wearing nothing but a pair of red shorts. He and the scientist then head off to the market, where, presumably, there will be an encounter with a cabbage. I can’t say for sure because Google has only made the first few pages of the story available on the German site (there are no page views of it at all on Google Books Canada), and the sample stops before the cabbage enters. I’m suspecting though, it isn’t a Chinese cabbage. At any rate, this mysterious book does not appears to be available through any internet bookstore, so we may never know for sure.

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