A few weeks ago, the USPS mistakenly put the wrong magazine in my post office box – I didn’t realize it for some time, as I sorted out all the magazines and catalogs and such and got to them several weeks later.
It was Ebony. I know (or knew) almost nothing about it, but of curiosity flipped through it. It seems to be oriented towards both men and women: LOTS of cleavage and boobage (you know, the body parts they didn’t let Star Trek (TOS) show) and lots of hunk-type chests and such. Ads for both men’s and women’s products.
But then I realized what was strange: This magazine seems to have come from some strange alternate universe where 99% of the American population is BLACK – or if you prefer, “African-American.” All kinds of shades of African-American (EXCEPT that Afrikaaner and the Mediterranean Arab-Berber type), but definitely of that racial-cultural group.
Get this: in 154 pages plus covers: SEVEN non-black faces: two Asians in a group pix, two white folks in a Girl Scout ad (in the background), a husband-wife pix where the husband was Anglo (white), two pix of the cover photographer, and a caricature of Romney beside Obama in an opinion piece (“Vote Obama,” of course)
What IS this? ANY mainstream magazine in OUR United States – for that matter, even in OUR Canada – would have ten times more black and Asian (and even a few American Indian) faces in a slick glossy mag like this. None of the dozens of major corporate advertisers in Ebony would EVER dream of putting one of their ads (for tens of thousands of dollars) into a magazine that showed 99.5% Anglo-European faces. Even the AmerInd press doesn’t show so pure a color population slice as this. Can you IMAGINE a magazine with the title “IVORY” that did this – but in reverse?
I know, you are saying that minority population publications and institutions can be as color-pure as they want, and it AIN’T RACIST! Because THEY are a poor, disadvantaged, historically (and/or currently) oppressed minority population and we must compensate in every possible way for centuries of discrimination, bias, racial-hatred, and lack of slick paper magazines.
Sorry, I don’t buy it. No one is alive who owned or sold or bred slaves; indeed, I don’t think anyone is alive whose PARENTS or GRANDPARENTS could have done that, at least not in the United States – and at least not legally. (There HAVE been slaveholders, even people who owned blacks, who lived during that period. And last I checked, MOST of the States and MOST of the population lived in those States, did NOT “allow” people to have human property. Even IF we could be held accountable for the deeds of our ancestors.
I know that this is all part of a pattern. We can have “black” colleges and we can have “black” civil rights groups and “black” associations of you-name-it: educators and preachers and government workers and the like. But even hint at a “white” organization and watch the wrath descend upon you.
Is it not time that government AND society were color-blind? And isn’t it time for us to call people out when they are doing something that they decry so loudly when done by others? All these businesses that advertise in this trampy magazine were the very same ones that condemned South Africa and now condemn the Israelis, but are doing the same thing themselves.