If you live in Canada, you’re probably familiar with that giant outlet store that boasts new items daily–from clothing to home furnishings to lead-laden childrens’ toys. On a recent visit to my local Winners, I stopped by the home furnishing section only to be horrified by the cheap colonialist bric-a-brac festooned on their even cheaper glass shelves. Is this some sick corporate joke? The irony of a company that distances itself from racist slave labour by dealing with sellers, rather than the actual making of clothes, propping up a sort of colonialist idealism and nostalgia (with all the racism and slavery given a rosy hue under the fluorescent lights of the store) is enough to make me cry, puke and laugh violently all at once. So remember folks, history was written by the “winners” and so too shall home decor be. Below are pictures I took of various offensive bric-a-brac at a Winners here in Toronto, in a very multi-ethnic neighbourhood.
Rascist busts of what I suppose is an African slave in Western period costume. Notice the stereotypical accentuating of features and the clash with the ‘soft’ European/Western pastel hues of the costume.
Here it was beside a very idealized, classicized bust of Mozart, icon of Western civilization (versus the savage slaves that ‘we’ civilized and tamed on the plantations). Are you convinced yet that conquest and domination are wonderful things of PROGRESS?
Never mind that here in Canada, First Nations have worked hard to inform the public that they ARE NOT INDIANS for chrissakes. COLUMBUS MADE A FOOLISH ERROR, remember? But, alas, here we are again with the “redskin in a head-dress” again with certain features accentuated to make him look “authentic”. Fuck you, winners.
And let’s not forget coffee: remember if it tastes good, it’s because of the “EUROPEAN BLEND”, not because of the slaves who toil to pick the beans. Don’t you feel like going to Kenya and commanding your own coffee plantation? You could look hot in a little safari outfit, just like Keira Knightly did in her Vanity Fair spread.
Bravo, Winners, for making explicit your Colonialist tendencies of raping peoples’ human rights, and justifying it through racism and Western privilege of a ‘comfortable, stylish life’.