Portrait of Elizabeth Murray
England (c. 1650)
Oil on canvas, 124 x 119 cm
I think I have seen pictures of this before, in high school maybe, but I don’t remember there being a second person before. I seem to remember this image being cropped differently too, which is very disturbing because now that I see the entire painting, the way I remember it being cropped was very clearly and deliberately intended to remove the person holding the tray of flowers.
Since we’re throwing haymakers at the kyriarchy today, I think this is something that we should really be talking about too, because it happens
ALL. THE. TIME.
Level 1: People of Color from Medieval, Renaissance, and other Early Modern European works were often literally painted over in later decades or centuries.
Level 2: It was very fashionable in a lot of 17th and 18th century paintings to have a Black servant featured in portraits of very important historical figures from European History.
Honestly? They’re practically ubiquitous. A lot of the very famous paintings you’ve seen of European and American historical figures have a Black servant in them that have been cropped out or painted over.
Those silly stock photos from your American History Professor’s Powerpoint?
Your Professor’s PowerPoint for “George Washington”:
The actual painting:
Your professor’s Powerpoint on Jean Chardin:
The actual painting:
PowerPoint on Maria Henriette Stuart (with some commentary about the Habsburg jaw):
But, because of whitewashed history curricula, teachers and professors continue to use the cropped images because they don’t want their lecture to get “derailed” by a discussion about race.
These images are also more commonly seen on stock photo sites, including ones for academic use.
I honestly can’t find anyone really writing about this, or even any analysis on how often the cropped photos are used.
The reason they are so easy to crop out is because of the the artistic conventions which reflect the power hierarchy:
Oil paintings of aristocratic families from this period make the point clearly. Artists routinely positioned black people on the edges or at the rear of their canvasses, from where they gaze wonderingly at their masters and mistresses. In order to reveal a ‘hierarchy of power relationships’, they were often placed next to dogs and other domestic animals, with whom they shared, according to the art critic and novelist David Dabydeen, ‘more or less the same status’. Their humanity effaced, they exist in these pictures as solitary mutes, aesthetic foils to their owners’ economic fortunes.
This is drastically oversimplified, but at least it addresses it directly.
If anyone knows more on any studies or statistical evidence on this tendency, feel free to add it.
Everyone needs to read this post. I’ve seen some of these cropped images so often it never even occurred to me that this wasn’t the whole image - it definitely wouldn’t have occurred to me to do research beyond the Google Image result if (to use the example) I needed an image of Washington for a powerpoint. I’m an archaeology graduate student and TA and I do some work (and eventually, presumably some teaching) in US historical archaeology, so it’s probable that at some point I’ll be preparing a lecture that I’ll want to illustrate with an image of Washington or some other prominent figure. Far from wanting to avoid an uncomfortable discussion about race, I would so much prefer to show the full image - my god, especially if I imagine teaching about the archaeology of Mount Vernon, showing these full images of Washington and the people around him would make that discussion so much more enriching.
But I’m an archaeologist, not an art historian, not very familiar with these paintings and not trained to look critically for signs of cropping or other modification, and my first stop for illustrating a talk is Google Images, not an art gallery. I’m not interested in avoiding discussions of race, rather I’m super invested in having those discussions - and I can’t do that as well if I don’t even suspect that there’s something missing from the images I’m using.
But now I’ll remember this, and be suspicious, and look a little further into the first usable picture I find when this comes up in my teaching, as it inevitably will.
medievalpoc, I think you run the most important blog on the internet right now, thank you for doing this.
I think if enough of us take an interdisciplinary approach, we have the chance to make a REALLY huge difference!!!!
Les faize d’Alexandre (a translation of Historiae Alexandri Magni of Quintus Curtius Rufus), Bruges, c. 1468-1475
In my opinion when my teacher ‘crop’ a photo, they’re actually not the ones cropping it. They gets the photos off the internet. And to be honest even though I’m in an A.P. Class, many students still get really focused and distracted on what’s in the background of the photos when we are supposed to be focused on the historical figure. So it’s often better to used the cropped photo as it keeps the focus. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not teaching about the artistic and cultural impacts of the African community on the Caucasian community. We do see the actual pictures; and we do learn the actual stories.
1. I felt like I allowed for that in the original post? A lot of educators themselves don’t know when they’re using a cropped photo. Databases for educators often will use historical images that have already had everything cropped out of them.
2. You mention that students get “distracted” by what’s in the background of the images, when they’re “supposed” to be focused on the “historical” figure. Might I remind you that I’m saying that is part of the problem-that someone decided who was important in history, and who was NOT important enough to bother including in class material. I also pointed out that regardless of INTENT, the RESULT is the same. You’ve said this, more or less, but I think that needs to be re-emphasized.
I think it also says a lot that the general opinion seems to be that the PROBLEM WITH SHOWING PEOPLE OF COLOR IN HISTORICAL IMAGES IS THAT STUDENTS WILL BE TOO INTERESTED.
^That says a lot about the state of education in the U.S. if students actually being interested is the problem.
I believe there is such a thing as a non violent fist.
Andrea Gibson, Etiquette Leash (via live-lee)
This is the same guy who was racist towards black people and slept naked with little girls.
Gandhi really hated black people. He called the indigenous (black) South Africans “kaffir” (which is like using the n word) and said more than once that Africans were inferior to Indians, being more like animals.
Also do remember that this man advocated those who were Jewish during WW2 to essentially commit mass suicide by throwing themselves onto the Nazi regime’s weapons. Like most romanticized “peaceful” or “revolutionary” historical figures he was completely the opposite in nearly every way.
It’s ridiculous the way history takes people who were basically complete assholes and just sweeps all the negative stuff under the rug to try and pretend they were some amazing, perfect visionaries who we should all aspire to be like
I literally NEVER heard any mention of all the terrible shit about Ghandi when I learned about ‘history’ in school
National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention MonthBy Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer
It can be hard to relate to statistics; after all, they are just numbers without a face, right? But what happens when that next statistic is your best friend? Your teammate? Your little sister? The closer it hits to home, the easier it is to see that even one victim is too many.
The prevalence of teen dating violence is inexcusable, but the good news about bad statistics is that YOU can change them. Dating violence is not usually a one-time incident, but a pattern of destructive behaviors used to control another person. In that sense, putting an end to teen dating violence is a matter of spotting healthy versus unhealthy relationships, looking out for your peers, and building a culture of respect where abuse is unacceptable.
- Every year, almost 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a boyfriend or girlfriend.1
- That’s one in ten high school students who has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a partner.2
- Females are disproportionately affected, with one in four high school girls a victim of physical abuse in their relationships.3
- When including emotional and verbal injury, the rate of dating abuse jumps to one in three teenagers.4
Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse, 5 and 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.6 It’s time to change these attitudes in our schools and communities. As a mother, the thought of any child being hurt by, or inflicting pain on another, is infuriating. We—parents, teachers, coaches, mentors—need to speak out against teen dating violence in order to stop the abuse before it begins. We have a shared responsibility to model healthy relationships founded in respect and equality; to teach our children that love and abuse cannot exist simultaneously and that violence doesn’t equal strength. This February, make your voice heard during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
If you or someone you know has a question about a relationship, visit loveisrespect.org or text “loveis” to 22522. For additional resources, visit http://www.teendvmonth.org.
Pam Oliver, a professor in the UW-Madison sociology department, explaining the historical roots of racism in the United States to her undergraduate students (mostly middle-class and White). I try to use this when I teach race now, too, to get past the defensive “but why are you BLAMING ME” reaction. (via cabell)
THIS. THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.
To all the white people who say that they shouldn’t have responsibility in racism because they’re ancestors and not them who participated in slavery, think about this!
can an austrlian explain this to me thnks
1788 was the year Australia was ‘settled’ which is a word here that means ‘invaded by white people’ and like it’s a pretty great country nowadays except for the fact that when you bring this up and the fact that it’s had horrible, horrible continuing effects on our indigenous population like in the early 1900s they started up a thing called the Aborigine’s protection act which sounds nice but they used to literally STEAL CHILDREN ‘FOR THEIR OWN GOOD’ and then in 2000 AS IN LIKE FOURTEEN FUCKING YEARS AGO they were like ‘was there really a stolen generation tho lol like i mean it wasn’t that many kids i mean we can hardly call it a generation lmao’
literally the people in power sort of tend to stick their fingers in their ears and go LALALALALALLALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU Australia is actually so fucked up on this front it’s really gross
but yeah a lot of people call australia day ‘invasion day’ and for good reason we have a pretty shitty past that doesnt get talked about like literally all we learned in school about pre-1788 was ‘the aboriginals walked around and did stuff like there was the dreamtime and stories and stuff’ I could go on but that’s it in a nutshell
What do you mean they “used” to steal children in “a pretty shitty past”
Published as of 2013: More Aboriginal children are being taken into foster care now than during the ‘Stolen Generations.’
This exact same headline has been running in North American newspapers, delineating the exact same “phenomenon.” Just replace ‘Aboriginal’ with ‘Native’, and ‘Stolen Generations' with 'Residential Schools' if you wanna get specific, but in reality they're just synonyms of the same epidemic.
As it is in Australia, as it is Canada, as it is the U.S., as it is in every nation and region that white Europeans have invaded, ripped up, and colonized.
Of course the number indigenous children in foster care today far outnumber the heights of the Stolen Generations and Residential Schools combined. Every class bastard knows this. Bio spawn should probably get a clue by now.
Just don’t talk about this shit as if it were in the past. Cuz it’s not.
Going beyond the Western gender binary - unlearning our backward cultural conditioning
In Western colonial society (which dominates many aspects of the globalized, capitalist world today) we operate under the presumption that there are only two genders, male and female. But gender is a social construction. One’s options for what gender they identify with are shaped by the culture they are born into. Biological factors are most-often the primary driving forces that choose among the available socially-constructed gender categories.
Cultures around the world have different ways of talking about, thinking about, and identifying gender. It’s often a challenge for (particularly cis-sexual) Westerns to think about other ways gender can be socially constructed. Westerns have the false equivalency of gender and sex drilled into their eternal psyche from the time they are very young, and re-enforced through examples in popular culture. There is no biological reality to gender. Many Westerners have the bizarre belief that one’s XY-sex-determination should also inform one’s gender identity, a socially constructed role in society.
In some cultures, there is no distinction made between gender and sexual orientation and the same can be said for sexual orientation - our culture socially-constructs the options and our biology helps us identify which socially-constructed option feels most ‘right’ and best resonates with us.
I’ve attached some photos to offer some examples of non-colonial, non-Western construction of gender. They’ve all been uploaded onto our Facebook page photostream in case you’d like to ‘like’ or ‘share’ them there. There are literally hundreds of ‘third-gender’ identifying peoples around the world. The eight I’ve chosen are mostly examples I remember from some of my anthropology courses but if you google ‘third genders’ you can find many lists and examples.
Who cares? Why it matters.
The most obvious reason to care about the way our culture has constructed gender and sexual orientation is to deepen one’s capacity for solidarity with people who identify as transgender, transsexual, and others whose gender or sexual identity exists outside of binary Western culture.
But there are other reasons as well. Western culture’s binary nature often creates non-sensical, problematic binary identity constructions that are inherently problematic. For example, I believe that Western masculinity (dominance, aggression, lack of communication, lack of emotional expression, etc) is inherently problematic. I believe that to be the reason why most acts of large-scale-violence and terror are committed by men (see: 100% of the mass school shootings in the United States), and I believe it fosters a degree of internal misery within people who heavily adopt these particular ‘masculine’ traits.
In the age of information, and the age of global connectivity, there is no longer any reason (particularly for young people) to feel isolated or restricted to Western definitions of gender, sexual orientation and identity in general. I think the social ramifications of a generation where more and more people begin to identify outside of the gender binary would be tremendous, and I think we should all consider how we can unlearn our cultural conditioning to embrace other, perhaps less exploitative and dominating identities.
Background information on the identities depicted in the above images:
Hijras are male-body-born, feminine-gender-identifying people who live in South Asia (mostly in India & Nepal). Many Hijras live in well-defined, organized, all-Hijra communities, led by a guru.
Although many Hijras identify as Muslim, many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, Hijras practice rituals for both men and women.
Hijras belong to a special caste. They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.
Nandi female husbands
Among the Nandi in Western Kenya, one social identity option for women is to become a female husband, and thus a man in society’s eyes. Female husbands are expected to become men and take on all of the social and cultural responsibilities of a man, including finding a wife to marry and passing on property to the next generation through marriage. Female husbands may have lived their lives as women and may even be married to a man, but once she becomes a female-husband, she is expected to be a man. Women married to female-husbands may have sex with single men uninterested in commitment in order to become pregnant, but the female-husband (who is often an older woman, often a widow) will father the child of said pregnancy and treat the child like her own.
Two-Spirit is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as ‘berdaches’, Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations communities. The term usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Male and female two-spirits have been “documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.”
In South America (with a large presence in Brazil), a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to masculine men. Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way.Travestis often will begin taking female hormones and injecting silicone to enlargen their backsides as boys and continue the process into womanhood.
The work of cultural Anthropologist Don Kulick (a gay male by Western definitions) in Brazil demonstrated that gender construction in Brazil is binary (like Western gender construction), but unlike Western gender construction, instead of having a male-female binary, there is a male-notmale.
In this particular construction of gender:
- Males include: men who have sex with women, men who have sex with Travestis but are never on the receiving end of anal sex, men who have sex with men but are never on the receiving end of anal sex.
- Not-males include: women, men who receive anal sex from ‘male’ gay men or from Travestis.
Fa’afafine are the gender liminal, or third-gendered people of Samoa. A recognized and integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine, born biologically male, embody both male and female gender traits. Their gendered behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to mundanely masculine
Waria is a traditional third general role found in modern Indonesia. Additionally, the Bugis culture of Sulawesi (one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia) has been described as having three sexes (male, female and intersex) as well as five genders with distinct social roles.
Six Genders of old Israel
In the old Kingdom of Israel (1020–931 BCE) there were six officially recognized genders:
- Zachar: male
- Nekeveh: female
- Androgynos: both male and female
- Tumtum: gender neutral/without definite gender
- Aylonit: female-to-male transgender people
- Saris: male-to-female transgender people (often inaccurately translated as “eunuch”)
Kathoey (often called ‘ladyboys’)
Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson’s work indicates that the term “kathoey” was used in pre-modern times to refer to intersexual people, and that the usage changed in the middle of the twentieth century to cover cross-dressing males, to create what is now a gender identity unique to Thailand. Thailand also has three identities related to female-bodied people: Tom, Dee, and heterosexual woman.
Excellent overview of non-binary gender categories. Sadly, Western imperialism has all but extirpated many traditional concepts of non-dualistic sex and gender categories through residential schools and religious indoctrination. -Q
next time someone tells you Muslim countries oppress women, let them know Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, and Senegal have all had female Presidents or Prime Ministers and 1/3rd of Egypt’s parliament is female but the US has yet to even have a female vice president and can’t say “vagina” when discussing female reproductive rights
Go Forth and Educate Yourselves!
I’d also highly recommend watching the Jane Elliot Brown-eye/Blue-eye experiments, which can be found here:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pv8mCHbOrs (Part 1)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neEVoFODQOE (Part 2 - Has very important points on Reverse Racism and how it doesn’t exist, and it also dismantles the “We All Bleed Red” mentality.)
Not only should you educate yourself but use this for good. Look around you and help others who don’t have this privilege. Hiring, donating, community service, etc.
After this post went viral, the original artist had to delete their tumblr because they were inundated with death threats.
There were people more offended by this comic than offended by the existence of racial disparities—to the point where they threatened this artist’s life.
im going to add this artists comments because i think theyre important:
"Please do not send me any more messages about how awful it was that I received death threats. I am beyond pissed that everyone has taken my comic about white privilege and the effects of institutionalized discrimination, and has turned it into a rallying cry against online bullying. This was not the point I was trying to make. Stop making me the face of bullying, and do NOT make me the face of "White Allies".
THERE ARE COMICS AND POSTS LIKE MINE BEING MADE BY PEOPLE OF COLOR ALL OVER THIS WEBSITE, AND THEY DON’T RECEIVE 1/5TH OF THE ATTENTION THAT I HAVE GOTTEN. THE FACT THAT MINE GOT POPULAR SPEAKS VOLUMES TO WHAT EXACTLY WHITE PRIVILEGE IS.
I may not have deserved this hatred, but I do NOT deserve ANY praise. I want you all to know that Education is NOT where oppression ends, it’s where change begins. Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful words, but it’s over now. There’s nothing left for me to say.
1/29/14 - All my sideblogs have been moved to new admins and I’m not planning on logging on here for a long, long time. Thank you all. It was a fun ride, but it’s time for me to step off. - Jamie”
The government pays more for erections than it should.
“Government subsidized birth control (which is also used as a treatment for a host of female ailments) is for lazy, mooching whores. Penis pumps are a necessity because men have a constitutional right to an erection.”
I want to throw myself out a window
this is one of the roots of the issues surrounding bans on birth control.
not only that people are being denied access to birth control— which has MANY purposes aside from preventing pregnancy— but others are being provided with viagra and penis pumps up the wazoo!
In the U.S., more prospective parents seek to adopt white and mixed race children than black children. As a result, many agencies levy lower fees to make it easier for parents to adopt from among the large numbers of black children waiting for placement.
Photo: Courtesy of Caryn Lantz
Oh yay. So White people can get discount Black babies now.
How about Child Protective services stop stealin Black babies. For the ones that actually need homes Try the extended family for placement. If not, how about No cost for Black families to adopt.
Then as a last resort this shit. But they would not need this is the system was not fucked up.
White people buying black children for cheap is never gonna be right ever no matter how we cut it -_- but yes to the above commentary. Ughhhhhhhhh
Yeah, my adoption fees were lower for this very reason. It’s super fun to find out that you were thrown in the bargin bin.
Also, please note the headline and source. NPR is a pro-adoption, child-trafficking apologist outlet that espouses white savior propaganda for international adoption, no surprise they’d be just as gormless when it comes to domestic transracial adoption.
Truth: adopting Black children only costs less in the U.S. domestically, and it’s not nearly as simple as “market demand” & “no one wants Black kids so white folks who do are heroes” as this article would have ppl assume. If that shit were true, there would be similar disparities in the completely demand-driven international adoption industry, yet price ranges reach just as high for adoptions from Uganda (the country with the second highest birthrate in the world btw) as they do for any country in Eastern Europe or East Asia.
For length’s sake I need to make another post, so for now must just recommend reading anything by Dorothy Roberts, author of Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. [Free PDF download of The Community Dimension of State Child Protection]