June 4, 2008

A Sad State of Affairs

Today I set up a new post profiling the Young Soul over at All that Is.
I planned to include some photos and I wanted a good racial and gender mix. I got a massive surprise. With the entire internet to play with, I had a very hard time filling such a simple request.

Oh, sure, I found a huge photo stock of executives to choose from. Plenty of White Males, of course. And White Females. Asians, both male and female [primarily male] were fairly well represented. Black Females were available in smaller numbers. Several of these were profiles so they were fairly generic in nature. A few Indian and Hispanic Males were available. No females of either nationality were present in the pages I viewed.

But, I was on page 5 [with 25 photos available per page] before I found a Black Male as the featured person in the photo. Not alone in the photo, mind you— one of 6 people but he was the primary focus —finally.
I wanted to find a photo of a Black Man alone in a photo and, by this time, I was pretty curious to see how long it would take, as well, so I kept hunting.
When I finally found one he was at the top of page 10 and he was wearing an open-necked blue shirt.
Among 25 photos on this page alone, of mostly White Males wearing business attire, the first lone Black Man I could find was number 226 and his photo could just as well have been used to depict a window washer.

Almost all other captions were listed as 'Executive', 'Colleagues', 'Office Worker[s]' and were shown with appropriate props to signify that they were, indeed, working in an office. This man was shown with no props at all and, although he was in a listing of executives he was listed as 'Male Standing in Front of an Office Building'.

I was already days late on the post I was working on so I finally settled on a group of 3 'colleagues' although I did find a photo of 2 males [one Black and one White] working on computers before I found the one I used— on page 14. This photo, at least, showed 2 Black Males and 1 White Female. But I had waded through 351 photos before I found it.
How much rampant racism like this simply goes unnoticed by most of us every day?
How much more quickly might I have noticed this discrepancy if I were a Black man? [I'm not proud to admit that it has taken me 60 years.]
And, with so few images to draw on, is it any wonder that our minority children see their only way out of grinding poverty the route taken by Michael Jordan? And what are the chances that that is a realistic option for them?


dguzman said...

Two Crows -- thanks for doing this post and the work it took. Too many people never bother to even think about it, much less explore the topic like you did.

You'd have noticed it right away were you a person of color. I notice things like that so often that I'm almost numb to them. Almost. There's nothing like walking into an Olive Garden or someplace and getting The Look, aka "what the hell are you doing here, blackie/brownie/etc.?"

After 43 years of feeling it, it still stings just as much today as it did the first time I recognized it.

two crows said...

hey, dguzman--
I'm so sorry you receive that look when you just want to get something to eat. That's another of those humiliations I don't have to even think about.

I recognize the look--I still get it occasionally when I walk into a lumber yard. It's becoming less frequent than it used to be but, when it comes, I become enraged.

The fact that so many people are still marginalized after all this time is appalling.
So is the fact that I notice slights to women more quickly than I do the ones directed toward people of color or other minorities.

Who died and made white males God, anyway?