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Friday, November 9, 2007

Racist Balloons, Games, & Images

Tonight I was picking up some items at Stop and Shop and they have up their "Thanksgiving holiday" Mylar balloons. While in line dealing with the payment my son, Dakota, leaned over and pointed, "Look at that balloon."

Take a look yourself (that's a turkey on the wall behind the top one). It's pretty offensive. Alongside the balloon of a turkey, Cornecopia, and autumn leaves, is a big yellow "smiley face" with a brown headband and Mylar feather attached off to the side, obviously meant to be an "Indian" (READ - an object, not even a real person, and "happy" about Thanksgiving) AND, that's not even bringing in the fact that the whole "Indian and Pilgrim" gathering in loving company for a harvest feast is a myth!

If we were to use an "extreme" and substitute another racial/ethnic group (one of my favorite things to do when assessing "offensive level"), we can see how inappropriate and definitely not-so-cute this is. What if at Passover, the balloons had curly sides attached in recognition of Hasidic Jews? Or, what if it had a halo around Christmas in honor of Jesus?

Please consider saying something to the manager - and spreading the word about how offensive this is…

UPDATE: I spoke with the store manager two weeks before Thanksgiving and explained how offensive the balloons were. He said he would need to speak with the other managers. I was surprised that he didn't say, "Oh I can see that, I'll take them down right away."

I went by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and they had ALL their decorations down, so I can't be sure whether they decided the "Indian" balloons were offensive and took them down, or if they thought it was so close to Thanksgiving that they might as well take down all the decorations.

I'll have to wait until next year and see what happens.

UPDATE: In November, 2009, these FaceBook games reinforced Native American Stereotypes with their introductory graphic.

And in 2010, this FB game did the same.