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Fresh Off the Boa


Stripping through the American immigrant dream one feather at a time. Sharing my life as a burlesque performer, a NYC advertising Art Director (now remote), a woman of color, an ex-New Yorker of 22 years, a Texan at heart, a foodie, and a lover of vintage culture and glamour. Welcome to Calamity's blog!

Confronting Racist Objects in Antique Stores

I love antiquing, I love history. Inevitably I encounter racist objects from the past sitting around on a shelf somewhere. I've seen racist caricatures of Asians, atrocious stereotypes of black people, Native Americans, and Nazi collectibles which make me nauseous.

I'm not a confrontational person. I used to be in my 20s in my riot grrl days. My anonymous zine in college was filled with in-your-face anger and smashing the patriarchy verbiage. Nowadays, I don't feel like it's my job as a woman of color to have to educate vintage dealers (usually white) about problematic items. I believe it is their responsibility to research and to ask who profits from and is harmed by the visual portrayal of these objects. I don't want to "have a conversation" with the store owners and give my free labor to them. Nor do I want to buy these items because 1) I already own a whole bunch and 2) I don't want to give my money to them.

So I have devised a strategy to make me feel like I am doing something vs. nothing. This works for ME, may not for you, everyone has a different way.

I hide the racist object somewhere else deep in the store (assuming it's not in a glass case) then I leave this JUST SAY NO, Mad-lib-style note with the item. The note says:


This object is harmful to (group of people) because it is:

( ) A racist stereotype

( ) A celebration of historical atrocity (ie: the holocaust, genocide)

To learn more, google "confronting racist objects", "Jim Crow Museum", "model minority"

I made this a downloadable image so you can print it out and take it with you next time you go antiquing! Leave a message for the next person who may not be aware of how these objects are harmful to specific groups of people.

Thanks for smashing the patriarchy with me!

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