In honor of Black History Month, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee spoofed Antiques Roadshow with the “Racist Roadshow” to demonstrate that some things in America’s past and present are surprisingly rooted in racism.
First, she hit on good old -fashioned square dancing. Square dancing is centuries old, but it had a revival in the U.S. thanks to industrialist Henry Ford. Ford funded square dancing events and competitions, and they eventually found their way into public school gym classes. He didn’t do this for a love of square dancing; he did it because he wanted to keep white people away from jazz.
“He [Ford] thought it was a Jewish conspiracy to use black music to get good white people into booze, cigarettes, and sex,” Bee said.
Bee also touched on something that brought joy to chidren: That beloved ice cream truck song. Unfortunately, the tune comes from a song with incredibly racist lyrics.
Even things as seemingly innocent as cartoons were derived from something called blackface minstrelsy.
Bee explained, “One of the first forms of popular entertainment produced by white Americans was blackface minstrelsy. White performers, many of whom had never met a black person, would blacken their faces with cork and play super made-up stereotypical characters.” She added, “The costumes, character designs, and extreme violence without consequence that you still see in cartoons are holdovers from blackface minstrelsy.”
Then it came time for the speed round: Vintage color film was only calibrated to capture white skin tones; vintage gynecological devices were tested on African-American slaves without the use of anesthesia, and Oregon was originally founded to be a whites-only state.
Watch this woman find out her $250 painting is actually worth $300,000 on Antiques Roadshow:
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