I've always loved thrift shopping and combing antique malls and estate sales. You find amazing bargains and tons of bizarre and beautiful things. You can also gauge how society has changed, for better and for worse. For example, the highly collectable realm of pickaninny dolls and related ephemera featuring cartoonish black folk or white people in blackface. It's offensive and yet oddly appealing- so wrong it's hard to believe it wasn't a joke. I mean, Amos and Andy ran for thirty years on radio and TV! Crazy.
I was perusing the wares at a shop a while back and came across this book with phenomenal typography and illustrations. It caught my eye because the main character is named Jasper. But I couldn't justify buying it. First of all due to the ridiculously high marked price but also because it's totally racist- look at his lips and the watermelons. Ugh.
I know our society is far from equal and that racism certainly still exists but I'm also glad that my kids are growing up with books full of characters from all ethnic and racial backgrounds peacefully coexisting. Sometimes the über-PC one-of-each color of today's children's programming is a bit heavy handed, true. It's not quite a small world, after all, but it's getting better about being thoughtful, and that's something.
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