Infinite Loopiness and Racial Segregation

This link will take you to the blog Robin Bernstein’s keeps in relation to her book Racial Innocence, which I discussed in my last post, and from which I’m borrowing her concept of “scriptive things” as a potential way of understanding more about salt and pepper shaker sets.  Once you get there, you’ll discover thatContinue reading “Infinite Loopiness and Racial Segregation”

Scriptive Things

I n her recent book Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, Robin Bernstein offers an insightful and innovative analysis of the ways in which ideas about childhood, texts about and for children, and objects representing children and/or intended to be used in their play intersected with and were inflected by ideasContinue reading “Scriptive Things”

Black Like Each Other

Now that I’ve discussed a group of shakers that represent stereotypes of people of African decent in different posts, I thought it might be interesting to see them all together: What intrigues me is the familial resemblance they have to each other.  Whether they’re heading off to sea in Clyde, Alberta or hunting lions inContinue reading “Black Like Each Other”

Uncle Mose and . . . Auntie Mane?

Continuing the theme of stereotypes of people of African descent, there is this pair: Since the human of this pair is wearing what looks sort of like a grass skirt, wielding a club, and accompanied by a lion rather than by a pancake-wielding woman, I presume he is supposed to represent, not an African American,Continue reading “Uncle Mose and . . . Auntie Mane?”

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 whyContinue reading “Cabbage Riders”

The Shaming of a Hard Old Man Like Me

In my last post, I discussed Tavia Nyong’o’s idea that “the shiny, hard, and brittle surfaces of racist ceramic figurines reflect back upon the psychology of scapegoating black children”–a view of “blackness as a hardened form of subjectivity.”  Nyong’o calls it, “this racial simile, a black skin is as hard as stone; not skin atContinue reading “The Shaming of a Hard Old Man Like Me”

Oppositional Curating

Looking for some ways of thinking about collections of objects of which one takes a less than purely sympathetic view–the one being me and the objects being my salt and pepper shakers–I came across “Racial Kitsch and Black Performance,” an insightful article by  Tavia Nyong’o (Yale Journal of Criticism 15.2 [Fall 2002]: 371-3910.  The “racialContinue reading “Oppositional Curating”

African American Pancake Pushers

In previous posts, back in March, I tried to come to grips with my responses to the sets of shakers in my collection that depict Native North Americans.  I began by saying of one pair that “It’s that rendering of the toxic as perfectly harmless that most fascinates me about them.”  Later, I described aContinue reading “African American Pancake Pushers”

And Now for Something Incompletely Different

These set appears to offer yet another set of racial stereotypes–but not, this time, aboriginal ones:The pitch-black skins, the big round eyes, the thick lips, the overall roundish dehumanizing cuteness–these are, it seems, a version of the standard classical caricature of people of African descent.  Much like the one in this old advertisement:Or like the traditionalContinue reading “And Now for Something Incompletely Different”

A Different Pair of Binaries

The aboriginal salt-and-pepper sets I’ve been describing in my latest group of posts are all gender-based.  They all consist of of one male and one female–or to be more accurate in the light of their indulgence is stereotypes, one cliché-type brave and one cliché-type squaw–the poem on the female of the pair I looked at in myContinue reading “A Different Pair of Binaries”