Flavored Drink Targets North American Indians and Chinese

Often when we think of Pillsbury we think of great tasting, flaky biscuits or the unmistakable laugh of their mascot, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but as the packets for their flavored, dietary drink mix show above, Pillsbury has not always put a happy face on things.

The stereotypes are quickly apparent when analyzing the above drink packets. Curiously the ad wizards who came up with the Funny-Face line of flavored drink mixes forgot to mention to add water, but in their subtle wisdom they definitively added the racism. The name Injun Orange is decidedly more offensive than Chinese Cherry, but the funny faces on each packet quickly balance things out in terms of their offensiveness. Feathers, war paint, and crossed eyes highlight the greater exploits of the orange flavored drink, while the cherry drink plays up stereotypes like slanted slits for eyes and large, jagged teeth.

The Funny-Face line of drinks was introduced by Pillsbury in 1964. I found this to be unbelievable, but probably a greater representation of what was truly happening in that time period rather then the happy nostalgia that is usually propagated by our history texts. As the struggle for civil rights, racial equality, and any semblance of harmony between African Americans and whites is being broadcast across America with cultural icons such as John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X at the forefront, Pillsbury was introducing a terrifically racist line of fruit flavored drinks marketed to moms and children. I am reminded of (Medicine Grizzlybear) Robert Lake’s comments from an Indian Father’s Plea, in which he speaks of his son stating, “let him share his knowledge, heritage, and culture with you and his peers”. I don’t think Wind-Wolf drinking Injun Orange with his grade school pals at lunch is exactly what (Medicine Grizzlybear) Lake had in mind.

1 comment:

Bruce McMahon said...

Sadly, you're dealing with children's products from a much more ignorant age. Smiley Face drinks came out during a time when men, women, and children were still being killed because of the color of their skin. I am of the opinion that it is better to have these remembrances of our society's inequity than allow future generations to forget them.