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How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope | Human Geography CP | Scoop.it
Before its subversion in the Jim Crow era, the fruit symbolized black self-sufficiency.

 

The stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose. The trope came into full force when slaves won their emancipation during the Civil War. Free black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom. Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure."

 

Tags: culture, racism, historical.


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Teaching about Racism in Japan

Is there racism and discrimination in Japan? I was surprised to find out that almost all of my high school students (about 1000 students) were not aware of t...

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Nathan Soh's curator insight, July 13, 2014 6:55 AM

I feel that racism and discrimination is a very redundant thing and not many people know about its existence in their own country. Be it against Koreans, or blacks, it is still a problem. It enrages me when i think of being discriminated just because i am different. It just isn't fair. 

huang junyi's curator insight, July 13, 2014 8:19 AM

After watching this video, I realised that many Japanese people were oblivious about their country's racist nature. I think it is because the Japanese government had censored most of racist issues thus,  Compared to the Germans I don’t think the Japanese sense of racial superiority is that specific. There is a sense of Japan’s superiority politically speaking. I think the sense of Japan’s superiority fundamentally comes from the fact that Japan is a unique country because of its emperor system, it’s a divine country, that kind of thing. That is why Japanese dislike foreigners coming to their country as they are afraid that foreigners might ruined their traditional ways and culture. The Japanese people want to preserve their culture very badly. In another words, I dare to say that Japanese people are rigid and narrow-minded, I think ten years down the road if japan is still like that, it's economy will go down hill. 

Emily Lai Yin's curator insight, July 13, 2014 9:57 AM

It first surprised me to know that students in Japan are not aware of racism and discrimination in their own country. but I came to realised that they were most probably influenced by the older generation when they were young. such discrimination to people with different races and origins such as Koreans, Okinawans and burakumins are quite severe and for most students to not realise it must mean that they were mostly likely raised in a way that they were being taught to discriminate people for their origins naturally. this situation certainly needs to be changed as the discrimination will only get from ad to worse as time passes if nothing is done to stop this "natural discrimination".