If you were to look online for “watermelon stereotype”, the first thing that pops up is it is a racist stereotype of African-Americans. One that says African-Americans have an unusual appetite for watermelons. You will also see that it says this stereotype has remained prevalent into the 21st century. “Really Now? Actually, watermelon “originated” in southern Africa. If it grows in your country it becomes a part of your culture. Just as apples, oranges, peaches and berries grow in America. However, where was or is the stereotype that all White Americans have a healthy appetite for these fruits? There were plenty of foods that found its way to America through the Atlantic Slave trade, these foods were familiar and considered safe foods to the African-American people. Slaves wanted to eat foods that they saw grow, then tended, and they knew the White man was not poisoning. However, during those times if the White man said you loved watermelon, well, you loved watermelon. You did as you were told!
Taking a look at how #Black people were depicted through the earlier years as lovers of watermelon. In the early 1900s there were postcards that were often depicted of African Americans as animalistic creatures “happy to do nothing but eat watermelon” these postcards were naturally created and designed to humiliate and dehumanize African Americans. Since, Black people had no voice about anything “what could they do?” but look at these humiliating postcards and movies about themselves circulate.
Movies such as “The Watermelon Contest and Watermelon Feast are two racist movies that were not written by African-Americans in 1906. There was even a song that was recorded in March 1916 by Harry C. Brown “Nigger Love a Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha! These songs are a part of what made the watermelon stereotyping popular.
A dehumanizing poem from the 1900s”
“George Washington Watermelon Columbus Brown
I’se black as any little coon in town ‘
At eating melon I can put a pig to shame
For Watermelon am my middle name”
The stereotyping is still alive in the 2000s. People of different cultures asks why can’t Black people move on. Well, when you still have White Americans holding up watermelons in protest of the President of the United States, who just happens to be African-American, then they won’t allow America to grow from past mistakes and move on. In February 2009. Los Alamitos Mayor, and (Orange County Republican Party Central Committee member) Dean Grose tendered his resignation after forwarding the White House an email deemed racists. The message displayed a picture of the White House lawn planted with watermelons. Grose claimed that he was not aware of the watermelon stereotype.
A statue of Obama holding a watermelon in Kentucky drew criticism’ the owner of the statue maintained that the watermelon was there because the “statue” might get hungry. Really, some people in America is just as racist as people were during slavery. However, it is hidden behind so many faces, so many professions, degrees, and so many lies. Maybe as the older generations fade away, and the newer generations are left to run the country racism will eventually fade away. However, right now it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.