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When I was a child, my mom used to read a book to me. It was called Caps for Sale.
Anyway, my sister and I loved this book.
Fast word to about 12 years ago when my neice was in Kindergarten. Apparently, her teacher had read this book to the class. My neice enjoyed the book and told her mother about the story. My sister then told my mom how the teacher had read the book to the class that my mother had read to us.
Wikipedia has the summary as follows:
Based on a folktale, the story follows the life of a mustachioed cap salesman who wears his entire stock of caps on his head. He strolls through towns and villages chanting, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!"
One day, the peddler sits down under a tree to take a nap, with all his wares still on his head. When he awakens, all the caps but his own are gone - stolen by a troop of monkeys, who now sit in the tree wearing them. The peddler orders them to return his caps, scolds them, and yells at them, while the monkeys only imitate him. The peddler finally throws down his own cap in disgust - upon which the monkeys throw theirs down as well, right at his feet. He stacks the caps back on his head and strolls back to town, calling, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!"
Well, my mother then went to work and was telling how surprised she was that the story she had read to us as children was being read to her grandchild in school. No one at her work had heard of the story so my mom explained what the story was about.
The next day, my mom was called into HR. She was told she was there for using slurs againsts African Americans. My mom was floored. She had no idea what was going on and she told the HR person that. The HR person then said that mom was telling a story about monkeys that was a slur against Africans.
My mother was shocked! She explained what she was talking about to the HR person, but she seemed skeptical. My mother then went to her office. Several people stopped by and asked my mom why she was upset. My mom explained briefly that it appeared her telling the story had offended someone. Things must have gotten around the office and the person that turned her in came to teh door and told my mom that EVERYONE knows that talking about monkeys offends African Americans, that 'monkey' is a frequent derogatory term used against Africans and as an African American women, she needed to make sure that no one she worked with was prejudice against her.
No one in my family has ever heard of this!
Ever since then, my mother, sister and I are all hestitant when buying/using anything that has a monkey on it if we we will be in the company of African Americans we do not know well.
Now, the reason for my question:
My one son's good friend from school is African American. I have met him, but not his mother. My son is going to his birthday party tomorrow. I asked my DH to stop at the store and get a card for him. My DH comes home from the store with a card with a monkey on it! I asked him to take it back. He says I am crazy and no one would be offended, but I can't help but think of what happened to my mom.
Am I nuts for making him return the card? Was what my mom did really offensive? By the way, she brought the book to the HR person and the issue was dropped.
Answer by BrawnwynII at 7:45 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by hopeandglory53 at 7:39 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by butterflyblue19 at 7:36 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
This makes no sense to me. This, too, was one of my favorite books to read to my children and I just read it to my granddaughter this year. As a matter of fact, I'm almost positive she got it from the school library.
Now, this book is really controversial and I absolutely ADORED it when I was a child. I read it over and over and over.
Answer by BrawnwynII at 7:43 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by Mrs_Harsh at 7:31 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
I have heard that term being used in a derogatorymanner towards black people, but in the story they were referring to the animal (I too was read this story as a child) your moms co-worker was looking for a fight. It was blown way out of proportion. I'm sorry your mom had to deal with that. As for the card if it worries you then take it back just because of the discomfort it might bring you.
Answer by luvmygrlz at 7:40 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by BrawnwynII at 7:49 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by BrawnwynII at 7:54 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by BrawnwynII at 7:59 PM on Jun. 20, 2012
Answer by luckysevenwow at 8:12 PM on Jun. 20, 2012