There are those among us who don’t think society has reached the apex of oversensitivity yet. I can’t see how we can become any more sensitive when just this past week, the finger of racism was aimed at corn pops and marijuana.
The marijuana saga goes back about 80 years with claims racist and xenophobic politicians and government officials used cannabis prohibition to target Mexican-Americans.
Mind you, the original connection and subsequent public outcry started with a city councillor in Halifax, N.S., who, I’m sure, had genuine concerns over 1930s America and wasn’t looking to shine up his political aspirations at all.
But, no sooner had Coun. Shawn Cleary barked, than the information highway was jammed with weed’s history and opinion pieces on why society is racist if it continues to use the term ‘marijuana’.
Among headlines on the topic summoned by Dear Mr. Google, my favourite had the good councillor “calling out” marijuana as a racist term.
In this particular case, one almost wishes marijuana could answer the councillor’s call and manifest itself as a six-foot-tall talking plant to roll some sense over the man.
Do we not have enough real problems without worrying ourselves over things like this?
Is it worth fanning the flames of racial tension over something that may have happened to some degree almost a century ago, with a good chunk of the real damage being done solely by William Randolph Hearst.
Called the king of yellow journalism, in part for the cheap paper he used, Hearst was a racist with a particular dislike for Mexicans. He was also committed to the prohibition of marijuana because it threatened his timber investments.
He used his control over hundreds of newspapers to spin false, sensational stories about African-American and Mexican men committing outrageous acts of violence when smoking marijuana until it was made illegal at the federal level of the U.S.A. in 1937.
It figures that marijuana itself would come out of this with a racist stain.
The war over the Kellogg’s Corn Pop is a different animal.
Kellogg’s had to take responsibility for this fiasco and, to the company’s credit, it apologized and did so almost immediately.
It is unfathomable that a professional art department and its huge corporate parent would sign-off on a game design on the back of a cereal box with all sorts of golden Corn Pops frolicking around while a solitary brown Corn Pop takes care of the janitorial duties.
In Kellogg’s defense, the lighter Corn Pops all look like they’re out of their minds, while the sole brown Corn Pop is the only one wearing clothes and gainfully employed.
At the end of the day, it was a lazy oversight by Kellogg’s, which caused the company a great deal of embarrassment.
But those talking about a plan to teach children racism by brainwashing them via a game on a cereal box while they eat breakfast have got to be kidding.
The sad thing is, the more the term racism gets tossed around on issues like these, the less it will come to mean. And those who are racist will benefit when the majority starts to become indifferent.