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It even happens today!

Some examples of how ethnic groups are put down by advertising

Frito Corn Chips  I was in fifth or sixth grade when the Frito Bandito appeared to steal corn chips from people who took them to work and to school in their lunch boxes.  He was dressed like a Zapatista that General John Pershing tried to get after the end of the First World War along the U.S.-Mexican border.  Actually, we all thought he was cute.  My Spanish teacher in junior high school pointed out that they misspelled bandido, but people who borrow from each other's languages are always getting something wrong.  Eventually, some chicano rights groups petitioned the folks at Frito-Lay and the Frito Bandito was history.

The bottom of this package could be cut out to make a mask.

Laura Scudder's Wampum Corn Chips  Wampum was a form of currency that was used by a few Indian tribes.  The Laura Scudder Company began using the name "Wampum" to brand their corn chips shortly after their introduction in the 1930s.  The Indians weren't offended by the use of the name as much as the cartoon image on the package.  As with the Frito Bandito, the little man on the Wampum package was also soon erased from supermarket shelves and kitchen pantries.  The Laura Scudder Company went out of business in 1997, but a few companies continue to carry on the Laura Scudder line of products, most notably, the Smucker's Jam Company bought the peanut butter division, meaning what used to be only available in California can be had wherever Smucker's Jams and Jellies are sold.

Last updated July 5, 2001