Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sambo Was Indian, Not African

James Lileks was dubious about the Indian theme at a restaurant named Sambo's:

And even when it was Sambo’s, the mascot wasn’t that dreadful pickaninny archetype - this Sambo was an Indian child. That always made me wonder why they named the place Sambo’s at all.

Gentlemen, I propose a nationwide chain of restaurants based after an old story about a clever colored boy. We’ll call it Sambo’s.

Fine, boss, but that’s not going to go over well. In the North, anyway. Why don’t we make him an Indian child? I mean India Indian.

Brilliant! Little Brahmin Sambo. Our dinner values are Untouchable!
On the other hand, I checked The Story of Little Black Sambo:
NOTE: The "Story of Little Black Sambo" is rarely told any more, because it is presumed to be racist. However, examination of the story shows that it is about India, not Africa. The story refers to "ghe", a type of butter used in India. Also, tigers exist in India but not in Africa. The only thing African about the story is the "mb" sound in Sambo and Jumbo, which is a sound commonly heard in African languages.


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