I decided this year to stop posting Christmas cards with racist overtones or themes on social media. When I do the cards, it’s meant to be for fun, and even if I tag them as “racist,” it can come across as “haha racism is funny” or something. And a lot of people just don’t want to see that stuff. I get it.
But other folk, especially on Tumblr, were still curious about them. So I’ll post some of them here, mainly because I think it’s important to remember where we’ve come from and how close that history still is. Hell, it’s still PRESENT. I worry sometimes that some people will take these cares and reprint them to enjoy the “good ole days” or some other evil.
(As a side note, Tumblr blew up this year with thousands of new followers thanks to a couple posts going viral. As a result, I got a fairly large number of people asking me to tag cards for trigger warnings. I only waded into that discussion once, and it didn’t go well. And for the most part, I admit I just ignored the asks. There were too many. A few I could understand, like tagging cards with violence like Frog Murder Christmas. But then I got asks to tag anything dead, like the dead bird cards, asks to tag every Santa card in case their kid was using their Tumblr account (which, come on, you know what half of Tumblr used to be so…NO KIDS!) and they didn’t want them learning that Santa wasn’t real, asks to tag people eating meat, and one person even asked me to tag monkeys because they had a phobia. I stopped responding to those asks not because I think they don’t have reasonable triggers or phobias or whatever (apart from the Santa ask, which was just dumb). But I just couldn’t appease everyone without basically giving a full verbal description of each card before posting it. And I just won’t. I can’t, and still have time to do more than a handful of cards. That’s not particularly nice, but I’m not providing a service you pay for, where I have a firm set of responsibilities in the transaction. I’m not going to go all “Boomer” on those folk and tell them they need to grow up or get a spine or whatever. But at the same time, it’s my site, and we laugh at murdering frogs and dead birds. That’s kinda, like, the point.)
But enough of that. Here are the cards. No funny captions with these because I just want to have a place for people to see them, but the point here isn’t to get your giggles. This time it’s to show that even Christmas wasn’t free from the worst our society could produce. Feel free to email me (email@example.com) or leave a comment.
And it wasn’t just on Africans/African Americans. There was plenty of orientalism happening, too:
And there are more, but I think that’s plenty.
As bad as these are, the worst were American Valetines from the early 20th century. I don’t know why or how there were so many of them made. But there’s one that’s the single worst card I’ve ever found. I think I shared it once or twice years ago, but I’m not even comfortable putting it on here. The caption says “Be Mah Valentine! I’ll be hanged if yo’ is goin’ to say no!” But what makes it worse is that they actually made the card with a little string going from a tree branch to a boy’s neck. Just disgusting. I don’t even want that one on my site, but I do think it’s important to preserve that stuff. A history professor has shared a few of them at this link.