Right before we turn into machines (I guess), is the light-skinned human. It's so subtle because it's lost in the brilliance of art, but it's there, and it engrains itself into our psyche every single day.
“If I were talking to my students about the period until after the 1960s," Mason states, "I would say, ‘Be cautious about what you think you are learning here.'" . . . "At the same time, you acknowledge the strengths National Geographic had even in this period, to take people out into the world to see things we’ve never seen before. It’s possible to say that a magazine can open people’s eyes at the same time it closes them.”
Although National Geographic is making great strides and is an example to us all on self-evaluation, Mason's warning to students of the 60's is a warning that still applies today: be cautious about what you think you are learning here.
The article ends with, "We hope you will join us in this exploration of race, beginning this month and continuing throughout the year. Sometimes these stories, like parts of our own history, are not easy to read. But as Michele Norris writes in this issue, “It’s hard for an individual—or a country—to evolve past discomfort if the source of the anxiety is only discussed in hushed tones", and I think that's brilliant. National Geographic isn't perfect, but they're also not defensive. They're taking a good hard look at themselves and they're inviting us to join them in the process, to join in the discussion.
I hope we're mature enough to handle it.
You can read the full article, "For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It" here. And I would encourage you to. It's pretty great.
For more on . . .
-N- Stuff : On Race : On Living