Saturday, November 11, 2017

When moving and downsizing, I find "racist" (and "sexist') children's books in the family collection, still surviving


When I unpacked the multiplicity of boxes from moving and downsizing, a couple of real antiques popped out.

One of these was an orange hardcover children’s book, “Little Black Sambo”, 24 pages, from the M.A. Donohue and Company, Chicago and New York, no author given, no date given (probably the 1940s). But it starts out by talking about a “little black boy’ with the name of the book.
             
We know the tale. A tiger wants to “eat him up”, and he manipulates the tigers into a rosy ring so that they turn to butter, and he eats the pancakes.


I may remember this book from the family’s first apartment in Arlington VA in the late 1940s.

Of course, the racism is obvious, as well as the disregard for the intelligence of “higher” wild animals.

There was a pancake house chain called Sambo's until the early 1980s. but the racism of the na,e contributed to its undoing -- a lesson in trademark.
    
I also found a Wolf Cub Scout book, which I thought was a family antique (I was forced to be a Cub Scout for one year when I was 8),  But I see a receipt from a purchase at a country store in Owatonna MN along I-35 in January 2001 when I was living in Minneapolis.

In any case, there’s a lot of stuff on chores that little boys need to learn to do to measure up.

Of course, we all know the odyssey of scouting, especially on LGBT and then plain gender over the past two decades.

And the BSA, headquartered in Dallas, actually would show up at job fairs for computer programmers in the 1980s. 

A few of them didn’t survive.  One of these was Duvall’s “Facts of Life andLove for Teenagers” from the 1950s. 

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