Watermelon picture---am I being oversensitive?

Mishon - posted on 04/27/2012 ( 20 moms have responded )

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I need to vent and to get feedback just to see if I am being reasonable. I am multi-racial but consider myself black and my husband is white. Our one year old is very fair in color. Yesterday my husband brought home a watermelon to eat. My older two kids (teenagers) don't like water melon and I don't care either way so I never buy it. My husband's father (white) really likes watermelon, so my husband thought it would be fun to introduce the baby to the fruit. He liked eating it, but my husband then decided to take a photo of my son in his highchair with a carved out watermelon rind on the tray, and post it on Facebook. I let him know I wasn't happy, and that my mother would be very shocked when she saw it. Sure enough she commented under the photo, "have you lost your mind?" After that my mother-in-law who is in town overheard us talking about the photo, and chimed in that she loves eating watermelon so she does not see what the big deal is. I said, "your white" she said there are black people who eat it, so I told her they don't take pictures of hemselves eating it. She got upset and got up, and my husband said that MY mother and I make him so mad sometimes, and spent the next two hours brooding and not speaking.



Did I miss something? I didn't even freak out or yell, I calmly let him know that I did not like the photo being on Facebook, so why is he the one pouting?

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Rachel - posted on 04/28/2012

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Well I wasnt going to post on this but it bothered me... i dont see the problem with your baby having his picture taken with a FRUIT you took it the wrong way and will have your child have problems when he gets older if you keep that up... get over the race thing your child is mixed not white and not black but both so you need to deal with your own insecurrities and not push them on your boyfriend who was just sharing a FRUIT with your baby...

K. - posted on 08/23/2012

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My daughter is mixed, and one of the cutest pictures I have of her is one of her eating watermelon. You're feeding the stereotype and so is your mother. Did anyone else comment on the picture? How many other people thought it was a bad idea? Strange how the masses of my white friends whom I showed the picture to thought it was the cutest thing in the world while my black friends were the ones who thought it was degrading. Please. It's a fruit. If your husband honestly didn't know what the watermelon signified, as my white friends didn't, than clearly it's the black people who need to start lightening up. If you want the negative connotation with black people and watermelon to go away, then stop worrying about it. Frame the picture, be proud of your kid and carry on, because I can almost guarantee you that none of your white friends are shocked that your husband would post a picture of your kid with a fruit, be it an apple, an orange, or a darn watermelon.

Michelle - posted on 04/29/2012

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I think what really should be looked at here is whether you are willing to let an innocent picture of a father thinking his child is being cute is worth hurting your relationship, because it very well could. Yes your childs father does not understand how you feel about the picture because to him it is just a picture of his beautiful baby that he wanted to share with others. You need to look at it from his point of view before you let this get out of hand. Stereotypes, biggotry and racism only survives if we allow it to be a part of our lives, the more people who stand up and say oh what a beautiful baby instead of oh there is a black baby or a white baby the sooner we can overcome these horrible behaviors. I am not naive I do understand that all three exist however I teach my children that everyone is equal and no race or gender is better than another. By allowing this photo to be more than just a picture of your beautiful baby boy you are feeding into the stereotype instead of rising above it.

Louise - posted on 04/28/2012

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Well I did not know about American imagery of a watermelon. I have learnt something today. But I still feel that this was an innocent photo and not one to be jumped on. Give him a break!

Mishon - posted on 04/28/2012

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Louise,

Thank you for your interest in this topic, and since you ask, yes, you are missing something.



Watermelon has for years been negatively associated with African-Americans, and the stereotypical association of Blacks with watermelons remains a common occurrence in the United States. Unflattering images of black children consuming watermelon were often used in cartoons, as well as novelty items including banks, ashtrays, toys, firecrackers, cookie jars, match holders, dolls, souvenirs, doorstops, lawn jockeys, and novelty objects. It may sound silly or trivial, but it is a stereotype born of complete disrespect and hatred.



Without going into a long post about U.S. history, Slavery, Confederate States, etc. I hope you get my point, although I don't know if you can truly understand it as you are not american.



I don't think my husband meant the photo to be negative, but I still was not comfortable with it.

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Allpeople - posted on 08/27/2012

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One's choice of food should NOT be determined by one's "racial"-categorization.

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And even it it were -- your child is a Mixed-Race/ Quadroon baby who

likely looks (and will always look) completely White (like his dad and

at least 3 of his grandparents) -- so, as a Mixed-Race person, I guess

I also fail to understand why this would be any sort of issue whatsoever.

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In fact, I bet your son's picture probably looked as cute as an 'Anne Geddes'. :-)

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tjLyK4DtMNo/S1...

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http://www.media.desicolours.com/2009/ju...

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K. - posted on 08/23/2012

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Mishon, it's not that white people cannot and will not ever understand. Unfortunately 10 or 20 years ago white people would have laughed at a picture of that. The point I was trying to make though, was that for the most part, when it comes to specfically watermelon and black people, the whites have apparently moved on. It's not that they don't understand, it's that thankfully that they've grown. They don't associate watermelon with blacks not because they're not understanding in the hardships that black people had to endure when it comes to negative stereotypes, but because they've never heard that particular one, which is a good thing! Lay them to rest! I repect your opinion, I don't think your husband should shut down like that in any situation, but if he truly didn't know the link between watermelon and blacks then good for him!



We are a military family. There are a ton of different ethnicities on all bases which we've been on. Last summer I was grocery shopping with my daughters. My youngest asked for a watermelon. I don't like watermelon, my oldest no longer cared for it and my husband was deployed. I said sure, we'll get one and see if you like it. I got it home and sliced it up. She took and bite and decided she really didn't care for it either. Well crap. Now I have a good 7 pounds of cut up watermelon. What to do? My oldest daughter had a large group of her friends playing out in front of our house, and by large I mean there were about 12 little girls ranging in age from 4 to 9 with all different ethnice backgrounds. I stuck my head out the door and asked them if they wanted watermelon. Hands started shooting up in the air. So I brought it outside and they all started snacking. White kids, hispanic kids, asian kids, and black kids. They were just enjoying the fruit on a nice day. The next thing I know, is I have this black woman stomping up my front walkway screaming about "How dare I have the audacity to give her kids watermelon!", and who do I think I am and yada yada yada. Really? Her kids were just as taken aback as I was. They didn't understand why their mom was so incerdibly livid. They had NO IDEA. It wasn't that I was giving the white kids hot dogs, the hispanic kids quesadillas, the asians egg rolls and the black kids watermelon. I was providing a snack and she flipped out. But her kids didn't get it. When I first read your post this was the first thing that popped into my head. How I was screamed at in front of 14 kids, my mixed kids included, about a sterotype and insecurity that only this black woman possessed. I apologize if you took offense to me saying 'lighten up'. But certain things need to be taken with a grain of salt. This woman freaked on me, and her own children didn't even understand why. I guarantee you, they do now though. And that's sad. She basically allowed that stereotype to continue for another generation. She fed the insecurity.



Again, I think your husband should at least listen to your feeling before closing you off, bust cut him some slack on this one. He didn't post a picture of your baby with a beer bottle. He took what was probably a very cute picture of you child with a watermelon. Would you have been ok with the picture had he not put it up on facebook for other people to see though? Would you have had an issue if it was just a picture that stayed within your home, or were you just worried about the perception that others would have? And again I ask, was the response to said picture "overwhelmingly negative", or was it just your mom that commented? We can't change everyone's minds, but we can start squashing every stereotype one at a time, slowly but surely if we start with our own kids. The bitter watermelon mom ruined that for her kids, but if you want people to forget the prejudice with blacks and watermelon, then you need to start forgetting it too.

Camille - posted on 08/23/2012

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It's the sterotype of blacks liking watermelon and chicken. I can understand Mishon I would feel the same way.

Mishon - posted on 08/23/2012

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I think at least a few of you are able to relate to what I was feeling about this photo, and understand my original concerns. I don't agree that I am feeding a stereotype. The fact that "masses" of white people do not see anything wrong with the photo and the only people bothered by it are black, just confirms that the issue is apparently something that white people cannot, and will not ever, understand.



Everyone is entitiled to have an opinion and feelings on any given subject, and no one has the right to dismiss them and disrespect them by telling them to 'lighten up". Every one of us is a creation of our own personal experiences in life, so who are we to tell others how they should feel about anything. If I don't like something for a personal reason, then respect it even if you don't get it.



I saw a picture of a child holding what appeared to be a beer bottle posted online, and the response was overwhlemingly negative. The point I could've make is, "its just a bottle! Geez lighten up people!" It turned out to be a root beer bottle, but my point is that when people say "oh it's just fruit! no worse than an apple or pear", you are discounting the the fact that there is a very strong stereotype linked to watermelon specifically in the african-american community, and NOT to any other fruit, just like an alcholic beverage in the hands of a child is typically frowned upon, where as a soft drink is not.

Monica - posted on 08/21/2012

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Hi. My take on this is whether your overreacting or not isn't the issue. I think when you marry someone, they are supposed to have your back and not make you feel like the way you feel is meaningless.

Ellie Richardson - posted on 08/18/2012

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Hi Mishon, I am also multiracial.I know and see first hand the racist suddle under tones in the pic. I feel like your feelings are valid. The 400years of oppression, abuse, torture,rapes, and degradation are gonna leave a bitter taste in our mouths of our spirit. Wheather your mixed, fullblooded of quadroon, octagon whatever racial jokes can be cruel. Im sure your husband didn't mean any harm nor did he understand the signifigance of what even upset you in the picture. I think it was pure ignorance of the history of blacks in this country. Some simply dont care an wanna forget what happened to blacks in america, I think you may need to teach your husband about your black ancestry so he wont be so oblivios to what is appropriate an whats not appropriate. He may be pouting because he's embarrassed and didn't realize it was out of line.It's all love though.Hopefully your fam will respect ur culture and be more thoughtful of your feelings next time.

Xandria - posted on 07/14/2012

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Mishon,

Every race has unflattering stereotypes that they have to deal with. Unfortunately in america black people tend to have theirs portrayed more. You have the right to feel the way that you do. You have grown up around these negative stereotypes. You see how they affect your community and it is something that brings up negative images in your head. Your husband is from a different culture than you were raised and you both have to find a middle ground, but yeah he should try to see your point of view. He doesn't have to understand it but he should respect your feelings. As far as everyone else on here, I'm sure they have shit that they are sensitive too and I hate the fact that because they are with someone of a different race they seem to believe that racism no longer exists or that we should just ignore it because unfortunately that attitude is bad to have. Not saying anytime anyone says anything that you should claim racism but it exists and to pretend it doesn't or be blatantly ignorant to the fact that is does tend to have be bad for their kids when they get older. Anyway, my point was that you have the right to feel however you feel.

Mishon - posted on 06/17/2012

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Wow Alesha, classy post there.

Obviously those who post any responses on this forum, are incapable of READING what anyone actually says. I was far from rude, I simply had to restate the facts over and over again. However, you, and your response my dear, are totally out of line.

Alesha - posted on 06/10/2012

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u yourself r not fully black so wtf? your child probally doesnt look 100% black either so get over it and be happy your husband took a sweet photo of your child. i bet it would be ok if it was a banana or something, right? youre gonna mess your kid up with that attitude, and u probally got messed up somewhere down the line since u dont rep the other ethnicities that run thru your blood. good luck....also, u wanted comments/help/opinions of others, so y r u being rude as fuck to every comment??

Mishon - posted on 04/30/2012

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Kelly,

Your assumption that this is not the first issue that my husband has had to "deal" with is incorrect. The fact of the matter is, he has a tendancy to over-react to trivial things and give me the silet treatment on a regular basis. It can be something as small as the weedeater not starting after I used it last, so he convinces himself that I must have damaged it, when it turned out the fuel line came loose. I usually let him brood for a while and once he calms down, he ALWAYS comes back and apologizes for his behavior.

My point is this. He got upset, because I did not like a photo. Period. Once again, I DID NOT YELL OR GET ANGRY WITH ANYONE. When I talked with my mother-in-law, I was laughing when I said that black people don't take pictures of themselves eating watermelon. SHe was the one that stormed off. He is pissed because I DID NOT LIKE SOMETHING THAT HE DID. He is not mad because of anything I DID but because of HOW I FELT ABOUT THE PICTURE so maybe if you actually read the original post you could give a response that made sense.

And I'm sorry but the fact that I consider myself black has nothing to do with me making issues out of race. I grew up in a community where if you were not 100% white, then you were not considered white at all, mixed= black .My parents are BOTH multi-racial and BOTH consider themselves black so I always have as well. A lot of multi-racial and bi-racial people will identify themselves as the race that they most physically resemble, becasue that is the race that most people think they are. Unless they get themselves a T-shirt printed that says, "I'm mixed" they would not be able to explain thier family tree to every person they pass on the street. I don't recall the last time Obama was referred to as the first "mixed" president.

Kelly - posted on 04/30/2012

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I guess I do not see what's the issue of the picture and a kid eating watermelon no matter what color their skin is. Sounds like you are making it a race issue and then your mother went really overboard. You both implied that a simple pic posted by your husband somehow was demeaning or embarrassing to your child and I think the overreaction was on your part. Your mom more so but since you were on her side you got lumped in with her. If I was him I would be peeved too. My guess is that this is not the first issue he has had to deal with. Sounds like he is sick of it. Just the fact that you are multi-racial but consider yourself ""black" leads me to think you make issues out of race. Who cares? If your mixed your mixed not black!! How are you more one than the other and why is it important?

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i wouldn't really get upset about that one. unless he put a caption under it to the effect of "my son is black and so he likes watermelon" or if he never posts pictures of your son on fb i wouldn't think anything of it

Mishon - posted on 04/28/2012

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To clarify, I DID NOT freak out or get angry in any capacity. I simply told my husband "I really don't like that picture, and I'm not happy about it being on Facebook". I know that he was not doing anything out of malice, so I tried to explain where I was coming from, and he didn't understand.



As far as pushing insecurities onto my children? That's a little drastic. I will say that I was raised a certain way, and was brought up to carry myself in a certain manner that may be part of why I am sensitive about the photo, but that's human nature. By no means am I condeming my children to a life of problems. "The race thing" is not something you get over, because it is a part of who you are, and as much as people claim that racism is dying, it is alive and well, and DOES influence in some way how you are treated every day. To say that my son is not white or black is frankly, naive. He is both, and will most likely be treated like, and considered to be the race, that he most physically resembles.

Louise - posted on 04/28/2012

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I'm sorry am I missing something? What the hell has watermelon got to do with the colour of your skin? I don't understand what the problem is!

Yes I am white! Educate me, as I am at a loss why you would be so upset over your child eatting a watermelon, and having his picture taken.

I would of thought that your husband is at a loss too! Unless there is something carved into the skin that was unpleasant.

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