So it's understandable that a claim of blackface pumpkins would have everyone on edge. On one hand, it's more than possible in today's society—it's unsurprising.
On the other hand, should we reexamine this reaction?
Bed, Bath & Beyond pulls black jack-o'-lanterns after complaints of 'blackface' www.youtube.com
In the above video, Halloween decorations in front of a law office are criticized and pulled from display. After news broke, Bed Bath and Beyond even pulled the product from sale.
Mary Marzolla, a partner at the law firm, confirms the pumpkins were removed as soon as they received a complaint. Marzolla was very quick to confirm her business doesn't discriminate.
The regional director of the NAACP, Wilbur Aldridge says of the incident,
"By now I would believe that anything in Black face is offensive... Equally as offensive is that a retail store would have such an item in their inventory for general purchase. This too shows an extreme lack of sensitivity."
And some agreed with the sentiment.
@CBSNews That's what happens when there are no black executives to tell them it's a bad idea. Lol— Eric Shaw (@Eric Shaw)1571873086.0
These do look bad tho https://t.co/Hyxcli2x1g— Nik (@Nik)1571878179.0
@CBSNews WHO thought this was a good idea & HOW did it ever get cleared???!!! 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️— msv627 (@msv627)1571879558.0
@mrctv Man what the hell was I thinking of I don't care if it wasn't intended just because you do it don't make it… https://t.co/jBHaRVwELd— Savage👹👺49er🇺🇸🇼🇸🇦🇸🇨🇱 (@Savage👹👺49er🇺🇸🇼🇸🇦🇸🇨🇱)1571953682.0
@MarkDice @CBSNews I’ve never seen a person of color deny the existence of racism, only the people who perpetuate i… https://t.co/V59cWUt2vv— The Case Place L.A. (@The Case Place L.A.)1571873645.0
But not many.
Finding those reactions on Twitter took a lot of time and effort.
Instead, most of the responses were surprised at the reaction the law firm took. Even more so, that Bed Bath and Beyond pulled the product from sale.
Across the political spectrum, people online see the pumpkins as just decorations. Consensus says there isn't enough in their design to suggest blackface.
Which brings us to the question, were these pumpkins that bad?
@StayWokey Yeah I feel like it wasn’t black people complaining 🤔— Mera @ Artist Alley Prep (@Mera @ Artist Alley Prep)1571966431.0
"Coming from an individual who happens to be black - this is f***ing overly-dramatic! They're pumpkins! You can't be serious about this 'anger'"OneEdgeLegion / Twitter
@mrctv Oh please! Nobody said this! This is just some “damn those pc liberals” clickbait for attention 🙄🙄— Alex Sandoval (@Alex Sandoval)1572098374.0
@wsbtv Wow Im convinced... They stop anything resembling blackface except for actual blackface itself🤦🏾♀️— CRZY_PSYCO_CHICK (@CRZY_PSYCO_CHICK)1572045422.0
If someone became uncomfortable because the decorations reminded them of blackface, their emotions are valid, and they are right to voice their concerns.
If upon receiving the complaint, the law office pulled the display down, that's their prerogative. Bed Bath and Beyond are also within their rights to remove the decoration from sale.
That said, a majority of people commenting online don't find these pumpkins anything other than maybe a little tacky.
Which means people had a good laugh over them.
@news965wdbo https://t.co/4VkHRagGpI— LordKraken3 (@LordKraken3)1571845353.0
This is Goth oppression. https://t.co/lAx0pN9V1y— ☠️ Lilith Lovett ☠️ (@☠️ Lilith Lovett ☠️)1571838822.0
@wsbtv YES, SEVERAL! https://t.co/RiPthynX2w— Michael Buckelew (@Michael Buckelew)1572038795.0
@CBSNews As an Orange man, i think all jack o lanterns are offensive and the whole holiday be stopped with these he… https://t.co/bo7ekY8ew6— Whatshisname... (@Whatshisname...)1571879656.0
Despite claims to the contrary, and seeminhly innocuous stories like this, racism is still very much alive and well in the United States.
Tacky black jack-o-lanterns most find inoffensive doesn't minimize or reduce the racism many deal with daily in the United States.