Monday, January 20, 2014

Visuals of Oppression: Is it Just Art or Ideologies of Hate?

One of my friends and very talented artist sent me this picture today and asked that I share it with the online community. When I opened her email, a wave a shock, sadness, disgust and speechlessness came over me like a flood.

I'm a firm believer that visual imagery is a powerful tool in propagated ideologies, belief systems, fear and the continuation of racism, sexism and homophobia. Visual imagery ALSO has the power to shift perspectives about the status quo, raise consciousness, inspire social action and promote social transformation.

This picture encapsulates all of those negative aforementioned sentiments and it is beyond infuriating that an image such as this would somehow be seen as artistic or fashionable.

This image symbolizes the intersection of racist and sexist objectification, while uplifting (literally) a person of European descent. The problem here (which is glaringly obvious) is this image tells the story of a time in era of colonialism in Africa and slavery in the U.S. where European-American/White slave owners used their marginalized counterparts as footstools to rest their bodies.

Are we (the viewer) suppose to take this image and what it truly represents lightly? Should we question the intentions of the photographer or models? What are your thoughts when viewing this image?....SHARE YOUR VOICE! 


  1. When I first saw the full view of this picture I honestly felt the urge to throw up. Quicker than most words, the visual just shocks the senses- first into dis-damn-belief- then to "Oh Hell No -Not again!"
    I would like to know what this picture was supposed to be promoting. Clearly it shows that there is a very, very long way to go to eradicate this world of nonsense.

  2. This pics & others like it make me sick, sad, angry & in a state of disbelief all at the same time. It's ridiculous that in 2014 this blatant racist, anti-feminist BS still exists to the point of mass visual imagery. We all have a long way to go to rid our lives of this poison.

  3. Takishear Winfrey In viewing this image I felt a sense of sadness. It is so hurtful to know that even though we have progressed so far, there are still people in the world that will not leave racism in the past. Thank goodness this is just an image and no longer a reality!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It is definitely disheartening to see images like this in, what we would THINK is a "progressive world." With that said, I think it's important to be reminded that these issues are still very much a reality in our global society. In seeing that they still exist, we can continue to change it and advance that mission of UNLEARNing prejudice and forms of oppression!