We don’t have to pretend like we aren’t aware of the stereotype that black folks love watermelon (and fried chicken) to say that the assumption that Disney’s only black princess, Tiana, covering a package for Watermelon Dipping Candy being labeled “racist” is a bit extreme.
I’m no fool to the subtleties of racism but I think it’s a stretch to draw racism out of this Valentine’s Day candy that was marketed by Dig N’ Dips. On one side of the packet, white princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty covers a vanilla-flavored dipping stick, while on the other, Tiana is the face for the watermelon treat. Sociological Images has called the marketing “insensitive” at least “In light of this history [of black people being stereotyped to love watermelon], as well as the ongoing racism [that's still perpetuated].” But that conclusion is hypersensitive in my opinion.
Tiana seems to have landed on the watermelon candy by default. To be fair, in other packaging Princess Belle of Beauty and the Beast appears on the vanilla-flavored candy and Cinderella covers the Cherry-flavored dips. Is there a hidden message in that? I’m not even sure I would have a problem if this was vanilla- and chocolate-flavored candy. Sure, it may make you pause for a second, but “racist” can’t be the default response every time something that deals with black people catches our eye—and incites our on racial hypersensitivity.
Do you think Tiana being featured on the watermelon candy is a coincidence or subtle racism?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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