While modern voices find much merriment in decrying systemic racism, declaring the US a consistently racist environment, despite the fact that millions of immigrants have moved here over the last 200 years to pursue (and succeed) in one of the few countries affording them that freedom, no one could argue that America seemed to get it 100% right in this 1938 LIFE article, slamming the Anti-Semitic sentiment which mirrored the growing Nazi party. Very woke indeed.
This ape found his Chiquita Banana.
Although we bristle at this now, this was the reality of a 70s frat “Jungle Party” on 11/11/76. As Bob Wills says, “Time changes everything,” and we can see why.
That’s the great thing about yearbooks; they never get re-edited. So while it reveals a context with which we might now be uncomfortable, it also shows us how far we’ve come.
While everyone in this ad is speaking in a presumably Southern dialect, the only one most people will find offensive is Rastus, the man with the chef’s hat. Evidently Rastus has been used as a generic, derogatory, name for black men circa 1880, when the first Uncle Remus book included a Black deacon named “Brer Rastus.” I’ve never heard the term in my life, and I can’t imagine anyone uses it nowadays.
And while Daisy Mae in the above ad refers to “vity-mins,” the ad from a few decades prior uses “vitamines” in a much more offensive manner, portraying Rastus as not only poor in grammar, but entirely ignorant.
It’s hard to ever imagine this cringe-worthy ad ever existed. Granted, Rastus was as made-up as the Swedish Chef, who was also mocked for his impaired speech. But he didn’t represent an entire race, and he wasn’t made to look like an uneducated fool.
And while we can all agree that modern marketing should not include offensive racist stereotypes, what do you think of this?
It seems that a Canadian Inuit woman in 2009 asserted the product name insulted her heritage, as Inuits are often called Eskimos. I don’t know, folks. I can’t get on board with this one. I don’t see anything derogatory about this cute little Eskimo. Who better to sell a frosty treat?