Racism is Alive and Well in Europe
With great interest I stumbled upon the website of your museum after doing some research on the Jim Crow era.
I'm sad to admit that racism is alive and well in Europe too. Growing up in Germany I was little exposed to people from other races apart from the odd African-American GI stationed there during the cold war. It might be interesting for you to learn that prejudices towards people of African heritage are significantly different from the ones in the United States. African people have never been really a part of our society like they were in America. We never employed slaves from Africa for example. African people aren't hated like they are in America, they are rather seen as poor and inept to support themselves and 'we have to pitty them', or they are considered 'funny'.
African people are exploited in a way of being 'exotic' and therefore are portrayed in literature, movies and advertisements in a very stereotypical way, often leading to this kind of caricature not dissimilar to the exhibits in your museum. One prime example that might be of interest for you is the so-called 'Mohr' (German for moor, or a moorish person) used to this day by the world famous chocolate manufacturer Sarotti as a corporate mascot. Mind you, this is 2006! Apparently nobody seems to find this racist or discriminating in any way!
Another example is Julius Meinl, an Austrian coffee maker:
Their corporate logo is the head of a black gentleman wearing a fez! Also note the life-sized caricature of a black person greeting you at the stairs in their well-known shop in Vienna!
There is also a German confectionary consisting of whipped cream covered with chocolate, which is called 'Negerkuss', which literally translates into 'Nigger's kiss'! OK, officially this piece of confectionary is now called Schokokuss (chocolate kiss), but most people still refer to it by it's original moniker and most manufactuers still have a caricature of a black person of some description in their company logo.
There are many more examples, if you are interested. I am in the process of doing more research on the subject because I want to raise these scandalous atrocities with human rights groups in order to get support for my plan to initiate legal prosecution of these companies. Racism is illegal over here after all.
I would be glad to hear from you.
With Best Regards,
Christian D. Pamp
-- Sept. 19, 2006