I’m not a big fan of the term “almost racist,” but this Ryan Howard promotional garden gnome seems worthy of such a contrived, quixotic phrase. Something is either racist or it isn’t. Annette John-Hall, an Inquirer columnist who happens to be an African-American woman, respectfully disagrees.
This is all starting to veer dangerously close to lawn-ornament territory, and we all know that history.
We do? Sorry, I’m not much of a gardener.
The original jockey statue, standing proud and usually carrying a lantern, shepherded runaway slaves to safety during the days of the Underground Railroad, explained Charles Blockson, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple.
But as time went on, lawn jockeys were often caricatured as a stooped-over black man with dark skin and painted-in white eyes and big red lips. They were usually displayed on lawns of homes in the South and served no real purpose other than to diminish African Americans.
The Reading Phillies, Philly’s Double-A affiliate, has their own take.
“He’s there to protect your garden,” affirms Kevin Sklenarik, the team’s director of operations. Fans are sure to “enjoy them and display them in their gardens.”[..]
“People in general think all gnomes are pretty,” Sklenarik says.
I don’t know if everyone thinks that they’re pretty. Even Pug Bee above doesn’t seem too enamored with Black Santa there. Whatever benefits the gardens of the Reading area, I suppose. By the way, Ryan Howard actually played for Reading, so they didn’t need permission to use his likeness. I think they would have been fine either way; little gnome dude looks nothing like Ryan Howard. via Slanch Report.