Friday, February 19, 2010

Anti-American Art: February Is Black History Month

"Strongly support the righteous struggle of black Americans! Oppose racial discrimination!" Chairman Mao made a number of direct statements regarding the unfolding civil rights struggle in the early 1960s: "The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people," said Mao in 1963. That said, it's clear that the Chinese saw the African-American struggle in the context of armed third-world resistance to imperialism: the furious farm-implement wielding revolutionary mob in the background of this mid-1960s Chinese poster is a pretty amusing misinterpretation of reality. Still, as much as the Chinese propagandists relished global anti-Americanism, this was about as close as they ever came to offering a directly subversive message to Americans themselves.


  1. Ian, signs and wonders. Many Indians along the US/Mexico border will tell you that they have seen St. Francis and his donkey walking on almost forgotten trails through the desert. I'll try not to sound too much like a pop jungian here. All of our iconography is just an attempt to represent something that we know in our hearts. Here's where I sound like the CS Lewis version of a Platonist: We know it in our hearts because it is real. This is a lovely piece Ian.

  2. Oops. I meant to post the above under your piece "Me and the Chairman."

  3. I sorta figured that out, Jon. Thanks for getting it!