November 26, 2012

Stereotypical Thanksgiving TV promos

On Sunday, Fox's Family Guy and Cleveland Show both featured a stereotypical "coming up next" image. Each showed the family in a tight group with one member in a Plains headdress--presumably to "celebrate" the Thanksgiving season.

On Monday, the CW's Gossip Girl featured New York socialite Blair Waldorf in a brief "coming up next" bit. She was dressed in a stereotypical Indian outfit: headband with feather, breastplate, etc. Again, the intent seemed to be to "celebrate" the Thanksgiving season.

I'm not sure I've ever seen promos like this before. I wonder if all the faux Indians are starting to influence TV networks? I can see graphic artists reading about Karlie Kloss, Gwen Stefani, Lana Del Rey, et al. and thinking, "Good idea for a Thanksgiving promo."

Maybe they didn't see the resulting controversies, or did see them but ignored them. That's the problem with these images. Even if we criticize them and take them down, they seep into the cultural "commons." Each new image makes the naive viewer think, "These images are everywhere. They must be okay or people wouldn't use them. I'll use them too."

For more on the subject, see "Stanksgiving" in Happy Endings and Thanksgiving in Up All Night.

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