*”Fox and Friends” summoned a racist stereotype on Sunday during a segment about inexpensive Halloween costumes for kids.
It all started with hosts parading around children in homemade outfits, including a robot, a rainbow and a pineapple.
Then, a black child, according to reporting from AOL, was trotted out dressed as a watermelon.
“Now we’re going to have some organic fruit,” said one of the adults. “Lucas is our watermelon!”
The stereotype linking black people with watermelons dates back to the end of slavery in the United States. According to The Atlantic’s William Black, free blacks grew, ate and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom:
Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure.
Needless to say, social media blew up with viewers criticizing “Fox and Friends” for Lucas’ costume choice, with one person tweeting, “Overt racism, foolish racism, or tone deaf racism?’ Take your pick, it’s still racism.”
Another Twitter user wrote, “No, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”