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Us and Them

April 25, 2009

UPDATE: I fixed the picture that was wrong.

A month or two ago I commented on the New York Times Upfront magazine for high school kids. I recently came across their latest, which features a cover story titled “What We Eat.” The story is really just an interesting collection of photographs of families from nations all over the world, but with each family sitting with all the food in their house, like this family from Kuwait:


However, although the title of the article inside the magazine is “What We Eat,” the title listed on the cover of the magazine is “What They Eat.” The picture selected for the cover is not one of the family photos, but is, instead, a photo apparently selected to elicit the maximum negative visceral response possible from American kids:


So the cover separates an “us” and a “them,” and shows the American high school students how gross and weird “they” are.

Check out the issue that preceded this one by just two or three weeks:


Here American high school students learn that people around the world with dark skin are violent, dirty, and poorly dressed.

No wonder American kids grow up to be American adults whose voting habits reflect the view that American foreign policy should be paternalistic.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2009 9:59 am

    That’s what a Kuwaiti family is eating? Are they living on a US Army base!?

  2. April 25, 2009 10:07 am

    Yeah, I wondered about that first photo too–are you sure you’ve got the right one?

    Other than that, I think you’re making an excellent point here.

  3. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    April 25, 2009 12:27 pm

    Sorry; I uploaded the wrong pic. I’ve fixed it now …

  4. April 26, 2009 10:23 pm

    As an Africanist, the boy soldier pictures always rip my guts out. Unfortunately, and fortunately, you nailed it. As Macon d says “excellent point”.

  5. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    April 28, 2009 11:08 am

    Thanks, sort of. It’s like when someone posts an article about a human rights violation on facebook: you want to hit the “thumbs up” button because you’re glad they shared the interesting article, but you don’t want it to seem as if you’re saying “thumbs up” to something bad …


  1. Guest Post: Us and Them » Sociological Images

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