Mad Men, Cigarettes, And Race

A W Morgan`s column tonight has some stuff about cigarette advertising, race, and domestic servants, in what modern day writers imagine the Fifties and Sixties to have been like. In this genuine clip from the actual Fifties, Eddie Anderson plays Rochester Van Jones. who works for Jack Benny as a domestic servant.

The Rochester character was not an enthusiastic worker, but you can hardly blame him—his employer, Jack Benny, was notoriously not an enthusiastic payer. But there are few Rochesters working jobs like that today. All those jobs are done by immigrants.

Steve Sailer wrote in 2005 that

“Many affluent white supporters of illegal immigration in the U.S. see Hispanics as genetically programmed to be their docile, cheerfully subservient maids and gardeners.

What is often forgotten is that their grandparents viewed blacks the same way. That`s why corporations named famous food brands “Uncle Ben” and “Aunt Jemima”—the connotation was that by buying these products, you were virtually partaking of the rich man`s luxury of having your own smiling, nodding black cook.

During the Black Pride movement of the 1960s, however, blacks came to resent servant jobs.

And how much can you blame them? There`s something that`s just not very American about the master-servant relationship.

The downside, of course, was that when blacks turned against their old jobs, many ended up resorting to crime to make money.

Which is why wealthy Americans discovered illegal immigrant Hispanic service workers. They came to assume that it was the natural order of things for whites to command Latinos.”