Observations of an Invisible Woman

The Niggerization of Watermelon

The watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originating from Southern Africa. It is in the same family as squashes, cucumbers, pumpkins and gourds. Today, the Chinese are the largest producers of the fruit. Since the watermelon has traveled from Africa to Asia to Europe, then the Americas, it can be said that the fruit is universally eaten and enjoyed. With its high Vitamin A and C content, the watery fruit ( approx 90% ) is nutritious and delicious and helps strengthen the immune system and lower high blood pressure.

When did this summer fruit, enjoyed by all, become the stereotype of black people?

No one really knows. Some black scholars think it began in the rural south where watermelon, grown to be plentiful, were eaten to cool the parched throats of the Field Negroes. Others think it’s mostly a “southern food” like macaroni and cheese. Some believe that it didn’t matter if whites, including the Irish, who were indentured slaves and NOT considered white at the time, as well as blacks both ate them equally; anything could and was utilized in the defamation of blacks. This stereotype just stuck…and became wildly popular.

Today, the stereotype of the watermelon is everywhere:

to perhaps the most offensive:

This was taken shortly after Barack Obama won the presidency.

And to mock black athletes running for their own country:

Why is this stereotype offensive?

1. Personally, I don’t know. Being from another country, we grow all our own food. So eating melons, mangoes, yams, etc, is necessary for our survival. Even my relatives that lived  in the UK and the AmeriKlan south grew food.

2. Perhaps it implies indigence?

3. Since the Chinese are indeed the biggest distributors of the controversial fruit but they do not get stereotyped for it, it tells me that this is nothing more than an attack on Blackness.

4. There are no authentic “studies” that show that blacks eat an overwhelming amount of watermelon than any other race. In fact, there is no honest “food evidence” that shows that certain races eat more “X” than any other race. Example: Rice was long believed to be Chinese. That is a fallacy based on ignorance. Rice came from Africa. The Asians grow rice farms in the same manner the Africans did.

5. My personal belief: I find any food that fights disease and cancers and acts as a diuretic, to lower high blood pressure, that is “racialized” is quite bizarre.  I think racism/ white supremacy will use a sheet of paper as a weapon to hurt anyone they deem inferior. So the watermelon stereotype is just another tool to do so.

6. As a black woman in medicine, I urge all African peoples to eat more melons (watch out if you are diabetic). High in vitamins, fruit and vegetables will contribute to a longer life span and more resistance to disease. Our ancestors lived off of them for centuries so why shouldn’t we?

Any thoughts on this bizarre phenomena?

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31 thoughts on “The Niggerization of Watermelon

  1. I recently saw a clip of Malcolm speaking his famous “Who taught you to hate yourself?” but along with it are videoclips from popular media, probably from Malcolm’s time period:

    In ten seconds, you see what’s deemed a ‘comical’ manner of eating watermellon. Perhaps this relates to the ‘stereotype.’

    It reminds me of a conversation I had with a Sister. She said that in Black neighborhoods during the Summer heat, the residential areas have youth hanging around on the street. Meanwhile, in White neighborhoods, in residential areas, the scene is hardly comparable. There’s a stereotype of Black people being called “porch monkeys” for their outdoor habits. Not surprisingly, that communal outdoor attraction is a habit seen in Africa as well.

    Sometimes stereotypes can just be comments on the cultural differences of Black people from White people and in that regard just artifacts to learn from. It’s worth noting, for instance, that the Moors brought the “Fruit, vegetable” diet to Europe; the same diet that you espouse. It’s possible that the stereotype is only saying that White people don’t like fruit as much.

    To me though, what’s a shame is that Black people are hardly producing these fruits and vegetables. Worse, “fruit and vegetable” advice comes from White people. I’ve seen a Black woman being counseled by White people on how to eat and exercise properly. Heck, I even saw Black people taking dance classes from White people.

    We fell far, deep into dependence, poverty and slavery. The need to get up is upon us.

    Personally, I don’t mind what White people call me.

    I just don’t answer.

    Thanks for your commitment,

  2. Onitaset,

    Is it wrong of me to say that this is a largely AmeriKlan strangeness? When I speak to blacks from around the globe, they brag about how big their yams and mangoes are. My uncle in AZ told me many times about how sweet island fruit is and how it’s “prized” in comparison to the additives of AmeriKlan food. Am I crazy?

    Since many of us farm to live, we take pride in eating our own food. Right now, my herb garden is my pride and joy. Frankly, this is very confusing. One would think eating a fruit/vegetable diet would be encouraged, right?

  3. nicoleizhername on said:

    I See U (Online) Everywhere. I guess great minds think alike!!!
    Back On Topic…I Luv Me Some Watermelon. I surely do and nobody will stop me from eating it either. It’s good, nutritious and has helped me flush my system of toxins. I didn’t realize how lost a lot of us are because I don’t allow white people to tell me anything about myself. I just don’t. I’ve been this way since I was a little girl. I didn’t hate them I was just in luv with myself and I always cheered on my people. It’s quite natural. I hope Black Folk wake up to their Natural Greatness because it’s there…Trust.

  4. Matari on said:

    Excellent post, Ma’am!

    I juice fresh produce (carrots, beets, celery, cucumbers, ginger root, apples) 4-6 days a week. I also make smoothies from frozen bananas and other natural goodies. I add a good amount of high BTU cayenne powder to my veggie and fresh squeezed lemon/orange juices, not because I like spicy/hot stuff but because of the tremendous nutritional and medicinal/health benefits of capsicum found in quality produced cayenne and other HOT peppers. It’s the best anti-stroke, anti-heart attack, anti-high blood pressure, circulatory/healing herb available to us.


  5. mary burrell on said:

    I don’t like it. never have as kid would’nt eat it. There is something about the seeds that bother me. Ewwew.

  6. ChazIng on said:

    Every aspect of an inferior people has to be elucidated, even what they eat, how they eat it and possibly, the difference in metabolizing what was eaten. Thus the need to associate Chinese with cats and dogs, Africans with fried chicken and watermelon, South Koreans with kimchee and the Irish (when they were monkey-fied) with potatoes.

  7. @ Nic

    If only everyone though like you…

  8. @ Matari

    Yes, cayenne is great!

  9. @ Chaz

    Well stated.

  10. ChazIng on said:

    Sort of off topic but are you in allopathic or naturopathic medicine?

  11. @ Chaz

    Totally. I grow herbs so I make my own tonics and teas.

  12. Fiamma on said:

    Chaz wrote: “…the Irish (when they were monkey-fied) with potatoes.”


    Doubtlessly some of these people who try to slander Blacks with watermelon jokes, as well as monkey slurs, had ancestors who hightailed it here to the US during the Great Irish Potato famine of the mid-1800’s. Once here their ancestors were also referred to as monkeys or as being subhuman. How soon some forget.

    Anyway, I ‘m with Nicole: I love watermelon and won’t let anyone’s stupidity stop me from being seen buying it, eating it and enjoying it. The same is true for fried chicken, though I don’t partake of that very often due to its high fat content.

    Fresh pineapple, though, would be my absolute favorite fruit, followed by ripe mangoes.

    Apples are my least favorites — they are too dull and boring on their own. Hmmm. White Americans sure seem to love them though…LOL

  13. ChazIng on said:

    I forgot about the cannibalism which Africans and Chinese supposedly practice even when there are more recorded European cannibals, the most recent being the German homosexual Armin Meiwes and Canadian homosexual Luka Rocco Magnotta.

  14. ChazIng on said:

    The Irish have bought into the lie that they can be nondescript Europeans and not ethnic Irish. Few Europeans want to leave the catch all ‘white’ club except for a few Germans and some Italians.

  15. ynotme on said:

    I’ve been eating watermelon for over 40 years, it is one of my favorite fruit. These guys are going crazy over it!

  16. SomeGuy on said:

    I have to admit, seeing that brother holding the test tube full of synthetic watermelon made me laugh.

  17. SomeGuy on said:

  18. @ Someguy

    Yeah, I giggled too.

  19. brothawolf on said:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stand watermelons. It’s mostly the smell that cringes me. If there was an open watermelon in the house and my room door is closed, I would still be able to smell it.

    It’s not that it’s a bad smell. It’s just that it’s very powerful.

  20. Kushite Prince on said:

    I eat watermelon from time to time. Although I also enjoy strawberries,bananas,grapes,oranges and mangos. Fruits are very good for the body. I could care less what white people think. I’ll keep eating it as long as I want. We as black people have a lot more BIGGER problems to worry about. The least is being stereotyped by the food we eat. Interesting post though sis.

  21. Fiamma on said:


    Ol’ Petey reminds me of some of the neighborhood men from around the way, when I was growing up.

    The part about sprinkling a little salt on watermelon was funny. My family is from Tennessee & Georgia, and we used to do that too. Lots of people never heard of it.

  22. mary burrell on said:

    +1 Me and Bro. Wolf are on the same page. I feel the same way.

  23. tehnoun on said:

    Clearly the strawberry kicks the watermelon’s ass in everything. =P

    I never really understood this stereotype. It just seems so… random, somehow. Like white racists just wanted something to stereotype with so they just randomly pulled watermelons out of the air for their lame racist jokes.

  24. @ tehnoun

    Can’t eat strawberries….but yeah, it’s a crazy thing to vilify a fruit.

  25. Mickey on said:

    But what’s funny is that if Black people educate themselves about the benefits of eating watermelons, then White folks will have to shut the hell up about making fun of Blacks for eating it. I’ve always felt that this sort of stereotyping was just another lazy attempt to make Blacks look and feel inferior.

  26. Mickey:

    Well said. Another thing; have you noticed that this only applies to AmeriKlans? Whites don’t dare go to Africa or the islands and curse those black folks for eating a fruit and veggie diet.

    In fact, most of them ask what is it good for and try to emulate it. I was in the market the other day buying Yucca and this white woman accosted me on the starch. She wanted answers on why I was eating it and how it benefits the body.

  27. SomeGuy on said:

    I forgot all about this parody that was made a few years back. It shows the possible future of Black entertainment:

  28. @ Someguy

    ” Massa is coming!” Hehehehehe…..

    Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. But seriously it’s true. Hip hop, mainstream anyway, is dead!!

    Did you read my post Lupe’s Explanation?

  29. SomeGuy on said:

    I’m about to digest it now; I’ll post a reply in a few.

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