It’s America’s most pernicious online advertising company’s effort to score through the 2012 London Olympics with a black hurdler running on a watermelon track.
A watermelon track? Really?
And while you think about that, think about this, a clip from the Jim Crow question of the month.
“It seems almost silly to say that watermelons have been racialized, but that is exactly what happened in this culture. For much of this country’s history, postcards showing Black people comically eating watermelons were popular among White Americans. Many of these so-called ‘Coon cards’ show Black people stealing watermelons, fighting over watermelons, even being transformed into watermelons. The Jim Crow Museum houses a 1930s parlor game called, “72 Picture Party Stunts.” One of the game’s cards instructs players to “Go through the motions of a colored boy eating watermelon. The card shows a dark Black boy, with bulging eyes and blood red lips, eating a watermelon almost as large as he is. This is racial stereotyping as family entertainment. The museum has dozens of three dimensional objects showing African Americans eating watermelons, including banks, ashtrays, toys, firecrackers, cookie jars, match holders, dolls, souvenirs, doorstops, lawn jockeys, and novelty objects. These objects not only show Blacks lustily eating watermelons but often portray African Americans in physically caricatured ways: hideous faces, over-sized bright red lips, darting eyes, and ragged clothing. The problem is not that African Americans are shown eating watermelons. Rather, the problem is that Blacks are portrayed as contented Coons, Toms, Mammies, and Picaninnies, with all their hopes, dreams, and fears sated by eating watermelons under the shade of great trees.
The stereotypical association of Blacks with watermelons remains a common occurrence in the United States. For example, anti-Blacks jokes often include watermelons with a level of disdain toward African Americans that is reminiscent of the racial hatred common in the early 1900s. Sometimes the jokes are ‘hardened’ by including racial slurs — sometimes ‘softened’ by not using racist epithets. ”