September 2, 2008

Racist Watermelon Caricature Removed From California State Fair

The folks at the California State Fair defended their display of a smiling watermelon seed. The "Waldo Watermelon Seed" drawing was removed this week after the couple said the image evoked negative stereotypes about Blacks.

The exhibit was intended to celebrate Colusa County's seed-producing crops, which generate $30 million a year. The youngsters at a county juvenile hall created a display honoring watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and tomato seeds.

Veronica Hannon Thrasher and her husband objected to the "Waldo Watermelon" caricature, which they said looked like "a happy Black slave eating watermelon."

The county attorney said the wards had wrongly been cast "under a cloud of unintended racism."

Well villagers ... you be the judge. Is the display racist in nature? Or did the State Fair over-react by having it removed? What say u?


clnmike said...

Im going to gamble and say no only because the lips are not big and red which is standard with racist/sambo type pics.

Villager said...

Mike - You are the consummate professional when it comes to critiquing these potential racist images! I guess everything is in the eyes of the beholder... said...

@ Clnmike

*LOL* You are making the assessment based on the lips?!!

Well... I will say yes it is racist in nature...and the reason WHY it is racist is because it is a cartoon but blacks are constantly made to be buffoons. Any depiction of a "buffoon" black is my opinion.

And yes...even if black people are creating the caricature.



clnmike said...


Thats right Im basing it off the lips.

Most racist cartoons use the lips and mark them red to make it clear there talking about blacks. Those were absent in this pic. Now if you got evidence saying that every black cartoon with a smile on thier face is racist lay it down.

clnmike said...

And another thing how the heck does that look like a slave?

Kevin Andre Elliott said...

I say it's racist as all get out, intended or not.

Villager said...

Kevin and Lisa - I tend to agree with your assessment. Even if unintended ... the impact of the image is racist in nature...

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say it's racist as well. I can understand the analytical argument involving the lips, etc. But to just about anybody looking at that image, it is a grossly buffoonish black caricature holding a watermelon. Maybe the academics amongst us will feel relieved that "at least the lips aren't red", but to just about everybody else, meaning regular folk, the image will put their blood pressure in the red zone.

Kevin Andre Elliott said...

Well, I'm an academic; and I say, from an analytical viewpoint, that just because you remove one traditional aspect of racist imagery from a picture, that doesn't somehow negate all of the other aspects that are still present: the bulging eyes, the exaggerated gums, the watermelon, the buffoonish look.

AND it puts my blood pleasure in the red zone.

Most of us academics are "regular folk" too. Just had to put that out there. :)