July 24, 2008

Girl cries over stereotypes

A posting shows how stereotypical images can hurt and traumatize people. All a child has to do is see them on the screen.

What am I supposed to do?Somewhere around the middle of the tape, the images changed. The animals vanished. There were no longer quick-witted bunnies or dim-witted pigs. There were black people. Black people that were designed to look like animals. Gargantuan lips. Inhuman noses. Blue-black skin.

Images all based on caricatures designed to ridicule the features of black people. Images that I saw before me.

I cried. I actually cried until I made myself physically ill. But I wouldn’t tell anyone what was wrong.

A few days later I approached my mother and told her that I didn’t want to be ugly anymore. I told her that I wanted to be white.
Comment:  Recall the infamous doll test in which black girls said they preferred white dolls. This anecdote supports that study's conclusions. It shows exactly how stereotypes harm children.

When adults see a stereotypical image and say, "That doesn't bother me," they're missing the point. The issue isn't how stereotypes affect the least vulnerable members of a group. It's how they affect the most vulnerable members.

For more on the subject, see The Harm of Native Stereotyping:  Facts and Evidence.

Below:  "This is an image of you, Indian children. Laugh it up and don't be offended."

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