.....and other random stuff......

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aunt Jemima

I know the year because that’s what it says on the snapshot.
It was my first official Halloween.
I was three.
My mother dressed me up as Aunt Jemima. Blackface and all (because my father was a member of the local drama company and had theatrical makeup.)
I don’t think it was meant to be offensive, just an easy costume for a mom to make.

She said I picked up the whole ‘trick or treat’ concept pretty quickly and by the third house I was ringing the doorbell and asking, “Got any candy?”

But that’s not what this story is about.

Several weeks after Halloween we were at the local luncheonette having a treat.
As we were sitting at the counter a large black man came in and sat down beside us.
My mother said I was fascinated and kept staring at him.
After a few minutes I turned to my mother and in a whisper you could have heard a block away asked, “Why doesn’t he take his Aunt Jemima off?”

She was mortified.
But calmly explained that not everyone’s skin color is the same.
The man smiled at her explanation and even let me rub his hand to prove her point!
(Even at age three I look like I know this can't be right.)


  1. I bet your mom was mortified! and you don't look too happy in that pic, either :lol:

  2. Oh how I feel for your poor mother!! lol.

  3. Sweet innocence and a very wise mom.

  4. What a kind response from the gentleman. When I was very small and I saw a black woman for the very first time I said to my mother, "Who is that brownish lady?" Remember, I was very tiny and no disrespect was intended. Her response is lost to me now because I was so very young when that happened, but both of my parents taught me about tolerance and acceptance as I grew up.

  5. we, the internet, want more pictures of you as a kid.

  6. great story and great picture. As always the context/time period is important to get the whole picture...As you say there was no disrespect intended... and my you did look cute. I am sure I have a picture somewhere where I am dressed up like an Indian ... which now I call a First Nations person. I know there was no disrespect intended when I had the costume on - in actuality I was very proud.

  7. Teachable moment handled well. That's quite the photo! Priceless.


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