Mad Men’s Treatment of Race Gets Curioser and Curioser

by Latoya Peterson

Tami, post-podcast, pointed out an interesting little piece of the Mad Men universe that I had over looked. She sent around the (official? fan made?) Twitter Feeds for the characters on the show, and noted how the Draper’s maid Carla has her own feed.

Featuring a huge picture of JFK (wondering when they were going to mention that), Carla’s page holds some interesting comments:

Every time @bettydraper plays this record, @dondraper gets vertigo. ♫ http://blip.fm/~1uxcl11:31 PM Jan 28th from Blip.fm

Mr. Draper seems more tense than usual. Hope everything is OK with @bettydraper’s pregnancy. But don’t think I should ask, just watch.

Relaxing, feet up, listening to Lady Day, got to babysit tomorrow for @bettydraper #mmrc

But more interesting is the wittier perspective voiced here, all but absent on the show:

@SabrinaFord Girl, grits and fish, make me miss my Grandma and aunties down South!

@Bobbie_Barrett Not sure how that idea would grab @_DonDraper. I think you know he can be crotch(ety), especially around you. #mmrc

@bettydraper Yes, @bettydraper, just so long as your party doesn’t involve folks wearing sheets.

She also refers to a cousin, Aibileen, which routes to this NY Times article:

Expectations notwithstanding, it’s not the black maids who are done a disservice by this white writer; it’s the white folk. The two principal maid characters, the lovingly maternal Aibileen and the angry, scrappy Minny, leap off the page in all their warm, three-dimensional glory. Book groups armed with hankies will talk and talk about their quiet bravery and the outrageous insults dished out by their vain, racist employers.

The worst of these bosses, a woman known as Miss Hilly, treats Minny like a thief. And she campaigns to have Jackson households install extra toilets so that colored help will not have to use white families’ restricted bathrooms. With the kind of lead-footed linkage that runs throughout this novel — even though it may accurately reflect what Ms. Stockett witnessed in her Southern girlhood — Miss Hilly’s Junior League does its fund-raising for the sake of “the Poor Starving Children of Africa” while treating the poor African-Americans of Jackson as if they were subhuman.

However, this may just be a (disgruntled) fan site – Carla’s twitter feed only has 331 followers, and links back to a blip.fm site; contrast this to Betty Draper’s twitter feed, which boasts 20,045 followers and links back to the blog “Welcome to the Drapers” which refers to “Uncle AMC” as the source for the images on the blog.

Thoughts?

(Image Credit: AMC)

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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