Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Hard Truth From Orlando

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

And this is my take over the big brouha over the poster image for this year's Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival depicting two impressionistic black shapes of children in white clothing with red mouths and holding strawberry baskets: Seems that some folks see the painting exclusively as racist, reminiscent of early stereotypical depictions of African-American children as "pickaninnies." These same folks say it was an insensitive selection because the festival committee is primarily composed of white members and that's why they chose this image.

Well, I guess some hyper-sensitive folks could see it that way; the same folks who insist that having a Confederate flag automatically means you're a racist, that all black people are persecuted and profiled by police for no valid reason, that all early American folk art depicting African-Americans is stereotypical and must be labeled as such and never displayed, anyone who puts on blackface and plays a minstrel is a bigot, no matter the context.

I have a solution. Never paint any figure of a person as black unless they're in foreign or primitive clothing to show they're not African-AMERICAN. We need to follow the rules set by these masters of political correctness and pretend that African-Americans have no history in this country but one of discrimination and failure. Black human forms painted by anyone who isn't black are automatically to be deemed stereotypical and should have no place in American mainstream art. We can all just accept that hip-hop and gangsta rap, pants on the ground, and street-gang graffiti are the end-all and be-all of appropriate African-American contributions to art and let it go at that.

So for the next strawberry festival, make it a white figure in a black dress -- and then see if all these same super-sensitive critics scream that you're ignoring historical contributions by African-Americans. You're not going to please them no matter what you do, so scrape them off and move on.

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