IT DEFINITELY IS NOT RACIST
by Mike Oldy
Roughly, 15 or more years ago Amtrak was looking into the possibility of using "Boy In Dining Car." as an advertisement. Since a heavy weight diner is shown in the painting; Amtrak would have probably preferred a more modern or streamlined car. This would, of course, have involved a lot of legalities.
A copy of the original painting was passed around and it caused some African Americans to vehemently say that it was racist. The reason, I guess, had something to do with servitude or, possibly, reinforce the negative stereotype that would have been in place in 1946.
The waiter is simply smiling; unseen by the little boy counting his change so that he might tip the waiter. Had the child given a tip that was small; we can be assured that the waiter would have thanked the boy profusely.
Back in 1946 the majority of dining car waiters were Black and doubtless served mostly white people; who could afford to eat in the diner. I do not meant to imply that people of color were all poor and thus would not have eaten in the diner. Since this was a New York Central diner; there would not have been Jim Crow laws, as in parts of the South wherein "colored" folks would have been the last to be served, plus a dividing curtain would have separated the two races.
In summary it is my considered opinion that this wonderful Norman Rockwell painting is not racist. To say that it is, is absolutely ludicrous.
From Keith: Thanks for your opinion, Mike. We do know that, without a doubt, Norman Rockwell was not a racist, so he would not knowingly paint a racist painting. He documented his world with gratitude, humility and a sense of wonder.
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