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Home Main Forums Latest Breaking News National Geographic acknowledges past racist coverage

  • Judi Lynn (8653 posts)
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    National Geographic acknowledges past racist coverage

    National Geographic acknowledges past racist coverage
    Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press

    Updated 9:16 pm, Monday, March 12, 2018

    WASHINGTON (AP) — National Geographic acknowledged on Monday that it covered the world through a racist lens for generations, with its magazine portrayals of bare-breasted women and naive brown-skinned tribesmen as savage, unsophisticated and unintelligent.

    “We had to own our story to move beyond it,” editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg told The Associated Press in an interview about the yellow-bordered magazine’s April issue, which is devoted to race.

    National Geographic first published its magazine in 1888. An investigation conducted last fall by University of Virginia photography historian John Edwin Mason showed that until the 1970s, it virtually ignored people of color in the United States who were not domestics or laborers, and it reinforced repeatedly the idea that people of color from foreign lands were “exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages_every type of cliché.”

    For example, in a 1916 article about Australia, the caption on a photo of two Aboriginal people read: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”

    hopemountain, Enthusiast like this

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10 replies
  • Coldmountaintrail (4715 posts)
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    1. no surprise and nothing unique to nat geo.

    I only wish someone would cop to similar things being done IN THIS VERY DAY.  That would be a fair amount of ‘science,’ including psychology, sociology, genetics, etc.

    But I won’t hold my breath.  I imagine there will be a similar mea culpa from guilty parties fifty years from now, at which time i’ll be long dead.   And the latter-day ‘confession’ (when it’s too late to matter to anyone who lived it) will just serve to mystify, for a new generation, similar goings-on in that ‘present’.

    the science of yesteryear was racist, sexist, classist.  It still is, and it will be in the future, because it’s funded by and serves the ends of power.

    • nevereVereven (4278 posts)
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      2. Yup. +100. nm

      A hologram of a magnifying glass will also function as a magnifying glass, but a hologram of Sherlock Holmes won't solve anything.  
  • travelamerica (939 posts)
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    3. As someone who is of a racial minority, I resent the way that other cultures…

    are depicted in American media, especially of places outside of the western world, as well as Latin America.  Seldom are the modern cities of regions around the world outside of Europe shown on American media.  I doubt people in America would even know of Brazil’s highly developed cities outside of Rio de Janeiro (and even during the Rio Olympics, reporters loved to point out the poverty in Rio, as if American cities don’t have large clusters of poverty.)   Or even South America for that matter (a short list is Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Caracas, Recife.)  How about Africa?  Hardly anyone in America would think that Africa has developed cities.  How about Lagos, Kinshasa, Luanda, Nairobi, Abidjan?  This is blatant cultural bias that has served little more than to make white America feel better about its supposed “superiority.”

    • closeupready (2283 posts)
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      4. +1000.

      The opinions and views expressed herein are solely those of the author.
    • As Seen on the Internet (569 posts)
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      9. Good reply.

      If the US media makes sure we don’t identify with those in other nations, the war mongers have a much easier time promoting their aggressive wars in those nations.

      The war mongers want to bomb the shit out of Iran, a nation with people just like us – though perhaps nicer as this Brit found out on his motorcycle ride though Iran, his favor country in his cross Eurasia trip:

  • Enthusiast (12116 posts)
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    5. The way National Geographic used to portray racial minorities was universal.

    During the 19th and 20th Centuries most all the institutions of Anglo nations were similar in this regard. At least for most of the 20th Century. National Geographic shouldn’t be singled out.

    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson
    • GZeusH (2734 posts)
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      6. Yes, and that example was 1916.

      Think of what the portrayal of others might have been like in 1816…..or 1716.  Human enlightenment is a geologically slow process.

      If you build a better mousetrap, the world will some conservative believer will condemn you for blaspheming his sacred mouse-god.
      • MistaP (7729 posts)
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        7. heck, carefully categorizing all humanity so that France/Britain/Germany

        was at the top is inherent to the enlightenment process: Boas was condemned up and down as antiscientific in the 1930s

        http://www.salon.com/2016/11/09/the-hillary-clinton-campaign-intentionally-created-donald-trump-with-its-pied-piper-strategy/ (Third Way = Bell Curve)
      • Enthusiast (12116 posts)
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        8. It's like the breakup of Pangea.

        We keep having setbacks in human enlightenment. Just look what happened to the Democratic Party and MSNBC.

        "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson
  • hopemountain (2435 posts)
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    10. the header is half right.

    it omits “misogynist” – also rightly called and identified by their director.

    "economic and environmental justice is spiritual work." ~ tom b. k. goldtooth .... "Be a nuisance where it counts, do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.” - Marjory Stoneman Douglas  (1890-1998), journalist, environmentalist, activist.