…and it doesn't stop
The battle continues. Objects with racist themes are created, produced, and sold weekly in the United States. In some instances, the objects (or images) are racially insensitive or demeaning in direct ways. In other cases, their racist meanings are more nuanced. The only redeeming value for all of these objects (and images) is that they can be used to teach tolerance and promote social justice.
James Earl Ray bumper sticker
Does calling something a "Politically Incorrect Spoof" absolve the creators from responsibility for creating a racist item? Or is this just a clever way to introduce, create, and sell racist objects without being held accountable?More
Find a Way José!
Racially insensitive stereotyping or just gaming fun? Users of the Find a Way, José! app have expressed different views concerning the game, which challenges users to help José accomplish his only goal - to reach his bottle of tequila.More
Anthropologie "Trinket & Treasure" Candlestick
The initial collection of Anthropologie's "Trinket & Treasure" candlesticks generated a great deal of controversy as it offered products that featured both a black mammy figure and a caricatured Asian person. Anthropologie removed the offending candlesticks from its website and issued an apology shortly after scathing critiques of the candlesticks went viral online in early January 2013.More
Instant Rapper Kit
In stereotypical fashion, the creators of the Instant Rapper costume kit project the image that the defining characteristics of the successful rap star are gold teeth and gaudy gold and diamond jewelry.More
"Pocket God" game and comics
A hugely popular gaming app that has spurred the creation of a comic series and related merchandise, Pocket God focuses on the experiences of island-dwelling "pygmies," whose caricatured appearances have sparked debates about racism and negative stereotyping.More
"Jolly Obama Bank"
The creators of the "Jolly Obama Bank" unabashedly admit that this item was directly inspired by the "Jolly Nigger" banks of the early 20th century.More
There is nothing new about putting an image of a black man on a target. This dartboard, and a number of other recent objects, uses a caricature of President Obama to decorate the target.More
Obama Pin Cushion
This product is promoted as a collectable. The advertisement on ebay cites the current value of the Hitler Pin Cushion as evidence that the Obama Pin Cushion is a good investment.More
Many images present President Obama in a positive light, but here he is portrayed as a modern brute.More
Presidential Wine Holder
This object presents a highly caricatured President Obama holding a wine bottle. Notice the similarities to some of the caricatured images of the past.More
The Afro Sponge
New objects based on caricatures and stereotypes of African Americans constantly enter the marketplace. This example uses stereotyped ideas about the style and texture of African hair and is in line with the negative imagery of the past.More
The Trayvon Martin Target
The Trayvon Martin Target trivializes the killing of a 17-year old black youth by an armed neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida. The targets were sold from the Internet site and are no longer available; the site owner claimed that he sold out of the targets in two days. The site, hillerarmco.com, was taken down.
The Obama presidency has inspired many images. Some, like this one, can be seen as a positive reflection on the President, or as mockery; different viewers will disagree.
Adidas Shackle Shoes
The Adidas "shackle" shoe caused a lot of controversy, and Adidas canceled the product. The designer said the shoe was inspired by a childhood toy. Adidas released a statement:
"The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery."