WASHINGTON, DC—Calling themselves "insulting caricatures born of bigotry" and "demeaning portrayals bearing no resemblance to actual human beings or cultures," an estimated 400,000 so-called jigaboos, pickaninnies and darky po' boys representing racist statuary from across the U.S. marched on Washington Monday.
Decrying their own existence, the figurines demanded that legislators acknowledge them as "the unwanted remnants of a bygone and hateful era" and take immediate steps toward abolishing racially stereotyped imagery like themselves.
"Look at me," Uncle Ben, a desexualized, rice-peddling "Good Slave" archetype, told fellow rallygoers. "I'm nothing like a real person. Look at my coveralls, my smiling, bug-eyed expression of passivity and subjugation. Clearly, I never should have outlasted the antebellum era, yet I'm still a widely recognized pop-cultural icon. I'm so angry I could boil in just five to ten minutes."
Ben and his female counterpart Aunt Jemima, a genial, syrup-filled "Matron Servant" archetype, led the crowd in chanting slogans such as "Jockey No More" and "Hold Your Own Pony!" Jemima encouraged the crowd to resist caricatured representation of African Americans by hurling themselves from shelves and by falling over on lawns and golf courses.
"We came all the way from a kitchen cabinet in Valdosta, GA," said one pair of grinning, apron-wearing salt-and-pepper shakers. "Never again will we add zesty flavor to soups and meals for The Man."
Another protester, a straw-hatted, gap-toothed, barefoot fisherman commonly used as lawn ornamentation in rural areas, was removed by police after damaging a public birdbath. Led away by authorities amidst the cheers of supportive marchers, the statue told reporters he will go on a hunger strike until he and all images like him are smashed into tiny pieces of ceramic debris.
The march began at the Washington Monument and concluded a short distance later at the U.S. Capitol. Featured speakers at the event included not only statuary but other forms of racist iconography as well, including characters from the once-popular children's book Little Black Sambo and several maidservants from Gone With The Wind.
In a moving gesture of solidarity, Hollywood detective hero Charlie Chan and his so-called "hon'able numba' wan son," as well as cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzales, spoke on behalf of other racially and culturally stereotyped media constructs.
Also in attendance at the rally were famed Mark Twain character Nigger Jim and folk-tale trickster Br'er Rabbit, both of whom cautioned protesters about the difficulties posed by archetypes that, on the surface, appear to be racist but may simultaneously function as an anti-racist critique.
Said Jim: "In the hundred-some years since my creation, critical reappraisals have affirmed me as an enduring symbol of Twain's abolitionist sympathies. Yet these same appraisals acknowledge that my exaggerated, overly stereotypical manner of speaking is at least somewhat problematic."
The presence of Br'er Rabbit—a traditional African folk character brought to America by slaves but later distorted by a white journalist in the "Africanist" reductivism of "Uncle Remus"—angered many rallygoers. He was eventually removed by a team of socio-political literary analysts from Howard University.
The controversial rabbit later escaped by convincing his captors to throw him into a briar patch, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
The non-violent march, which D.C. police officials praised as the most orderly and well-run protest in recent memory, ended at sunset with a candlelight vigil and ceremonial bonfire of the march's many wooden participants.