You Are a Racist
Sir . . . Your response isn't unexpected. But indeed very wrong. I
absolutely support your work of collecting and preserving a large and
important segment of Americana. I have several books on the subject
myself, and it is the reason I had occasion to visit your web site, much
to my dismay.
What you fail to take into consideration in your analysis
of black Americana is the time in which it was popular. The nature of
much of it suggests a feeling of innocents borne not by rampant racism
but from misunderstanding. Much of it is extremely fanciful such as the
Golliwogg dolls which you describe as "grotesque." I offer that this
caricature is no more grotesque than a white raggedy ann and andy.
Your theory seems to be that any black caricature that does not
accurately depict an African American in finite detail must be
automatically racist when in fact it is likely in many cases to be no
more than just a fanciful character who happens to be black. Your
string of questions confirm a closed mind and suggest that you have
never looked at your site or your collection with anything other than
jaundiced eyes, and fail to see that there is more hate in your analysis
of the purpose of your museum than in most of the historical items which
you are blessed with the job of collecting and displaying.
If you fail to see the racism that fouls your site, then no amount of explanation
from me will correct that. There is so much to be learned from your
museum, much of which you have apparently missed. But if you view it as
entirely ugly then you certainly are not making the most of your rare
opportunity and great responsibility, to not only teach but learn, and
show no true understanding of the times and circumstances which gave
birth to them.
Your description of the museum and its purpose will do
more to breed hate then it will to achieve harmony. Unless your site is
intended for this purpose, then your stated purpose is indeed only
"perceived." Black Americans do not have a monopoly on being offended
by biased generalizations.
Robert W. Weidner, Jr.
-- June 19, 2006
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