Only one of two possible scenarios is correct. Either a young Google programmer decided to see if he could get away with showing an African American athlete chase after a watermelon themed track, or a terribly unlikely random coincidence occurred where a track was drawn that has a rounded green and white outside with red on the inside with dots that look like watermelon pits.
If it is the former, then what Google has allowed here is terribly offensive. It would be offensive at any time but especially so during a week when the nation is suffering from a murder of Sikh worshipers by one who epitomizes intolerance and racism – this Google Doodle in unconscionable.
Most of the people surveyed for this article felt that it could not have been a coincidence. There is just too much detail.
Racists have a history of portraying African Americans seeking and pursuing watermelons. How did this association first develop? Dr. David Pilgrim, the Curator of the Jim Crow Museum, at Ferris State University, according to an article by sociologist Lisa Wade on the subject, explains that the defenders of slavery in this country utilized the watermelon as a symbol of simplicity. “African Americans,” the argument went, “were happy as slaves. They didn’t need the complicated responsibilities of freedom, they just needed some shade and a cool, delicious treat.”
The article by Ms. Wade refers the reader to a website called Abagond which has a number of these racist illustrations in its collection. They are reproduced below. The last one has “apparently benevolent” white people providing African Americans with all they need.
Google should either remove this Google Doodle immediately or change its details and apologize. They should then investigate which of the two scenarios is true.
Racism, even as a “harmless joke” has no place in our society.
A spokesperson for the communications department of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, when asked about the Google Doodle this morning decided to “pass on commenting on the issue.”