Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Slightly Racist Food Products: Confectionery

In these overly PC times, it's refreshing to look back on the past with rose-coloured glasses and imagine a childhood world free of racism, sexism and discrimination against minorities. However, polish those rose lenses of yours, and you'll see that not everything was entirely politically correct. Take for example the playground chant beginning with: "Ching Chong Chinaman went to milk a cow." Yeah, the memories just come flooding back, eh?

In this episode of Ed's Rant, we look at some of the childhood confectionery that we enjoyed, and how they were (and maybe still are) just a little bit racist.

I remember the good old days back in primary school when we would stop by the milkbar before heading to After School Care. Whilst my other classmates would happily suck sherbet out of plastic tubes, I had a more refined taste. But little did I know that my seven year old sweet tooth was more partial to confectionery of a more racist nature. *Gasp!*

I spent my pocket money (the equivalent could probably buy about a third of a Chupa Chup today) on Redskins. These red, sticky, raspberry-flavoured treats were awesome (and still are). But little did I know at the time that the product I was happily sucking and chewing on was actually racially offensive to Native Americans. With its derogatory name and stereotypical image of a Native American wearing a traditional headdress on the wrapper, my childhood lolly of choice was actually nothing more than a cheap attack on a minority group. Shame, Nestle. It was only several years later that the image of the "Red Indian" was replaced with a more neutral, nondescript, red character, though the name still remains.

Remember those chocolate flavoured jelly babies? They're called "Chicos" (Spanish for "Kids"). Do I need to explain the racial implications?
And what about the "Eskimo Pie"? The term "Eskimo" is deemed pejorative by the natives of Canada and Greenland, and the term "Inuit" is preferred. This however does not hold true for the natives of Alaska and Siberia (Yupik and Inupiat people). Perhaps this ice-cream treat should be renamed "Inuit, Yupik and First Nations Pie". Or maybe "Choc wedge without a stick".

Anyway, whilst researching this edifying post, I stumbled upon this article: "Too many lollies can 'lead to prison'". Haha...gummy bear induced armed robbery.

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