Have you heard about the facebook application that donates money to the rainforest when you use it? Users can send pictures of cute plants to their friends. For every ten plants they send, the developers buy one square foot of rainforest. It's called (Lil) Green Patch, and it's been featured in TIME magazine.
Some of the plants are anthropomorphized. Those look like white children dressed in plant costumes.
The problem is that none of the dozens of kid-plants have dark skin. The developers have in the past said that the kids are "raceless."
I'm trying to raise awareness of this in order to pressure the developers to add some melanin to their application.
Could you blog about this for me? I think minority underrepresentation in the media is a shame.
The creators of the The Simpsons used that "raceless" line when they originally made every character yellow. Then they realized the error of their ways.
If this were a crusade to save, say, mortgage lenders or Wall Street moguls, I could see making every kid white. But a rain forest? When the majority of people living in rain forests are brown-skinned? I don't think so.
The largest rain forest is the Amazon, of course. Most of its inhabitants are Latino or Native. So saving rain forests means saving the Amazon means saving people of Native origin. It means saving them from the depredations of white-owned corporations. In what sense is this issue "raceless"?
"Raceless" would be making every kid in (Lil) Green Patch green or purple, perhaps. When every kid is a pale-skinned Caucasian, that isn't raceless. It's white.
White = raceless, brown = invisible
This website is an obvious example of bias. Movies, TV shows, comic books, and cartoons learned to make their casts multicultural sometime in the '70s or '80s, but this site still doesn't get it. It's stuck in the '50s, when society was "raceless" because minorities were invisible.
I can just imagine what was going through the creators' minds. If we make the kids look "exotic" (read: brown), people won't click as much. Our audience is mainly well-off liberals--i.e., whites. Let's do whatever we can to make them feel comfortable.
But this reasoning is foolish as well as racist. Haven't these people seen any Sally Struthers commercials? If you want to prey upon white liberal guilt, the standard way to do it is with brown-skinned children. They're different from "us," the thinking goes, so they need our help.
For more on the subject, see Stereotyping Indians by Omission.
Below: "We're raceless just like 99% of America's presidential candidates, multimillionaires, and Academy Award winners!"