25 May 2007
When Chocolate Milk Moved In
Author: Ken Harvey
Illustrator: Mary Sue Hermes
Using the refrigerator as the setting for a contrived parable about racial tolerance, When Chocolate Milk Moved In tackles the difficult issue of residential integration. The main characters in this story are two gallons of milk, Mr. and Mrs. Gallon. A new neighbor arrives and Frank is wary because the new neighbor is... chocolate milk.
"Truthfully, he was a little bit shocked by what he saw. Mr. Chocolate looked different. He was darker. Frank had been around milk his entire life and had never seen dark milk. he didn't know what to think."
Racial tensions eventually boil over when a confrontation between white and chocolate milk threatens the peace of the refrigerator. In the end, however, Frank Gallon and Mr. Chocolate overcome their differences and learn to live side by side (or shelf by shelf).
When Chocolate Milk Moved In is the first in a series called Life in the Fridge (which would later inspire the classic TV drama Homicide: Life on the Street). In a later Fridge installment, in order to preserve the peace and prevent future instances of racially motivated violence , the fridge neighborhood action committee organizes a Community Forum on Fridge Relations. Featured panelists are:
· Martin Luther King Crab Jr.
· Cesár Salad (of the United Farm Vegetable Organizing Committee)
· The Dalai Lamb Kabob
· Malcolm Xtra Crisp Lettuce
The Forum is a success until the spicy and bold Don Imustard opens his wide mouth and refers to Brocolli as a "nappy headed side dish". He is immediately cast out of the fridge and spends the rest of his days in exile on the middle shelf of the cupboard next to a box of stale saltines.
Note: This book preaching racial tolerance was written by Ken Harvey, a former linebacker for the Washington Redskins. This is notable for two reasons:
1) The Washington Redskins demonstrate a sustained disdain for race relations by stubbornly refusing to change their name despite its racially insensitive and demeaning use of Native Americans as a mascot.
2) The Life in the Fridge series was written by a former football player and it wasn't William "The Refrigerator" Perry.