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04:25 PM on 11/16/12 
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Jake Gyllenhaal
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06:14 AM on 11/18/12 
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gfxtwin
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I think I might have given someone a daily racist experience last night.

I was working with two classmates on a design project for advertising class. I'll go ahead and mention that they are Black and Latina. We were collaborating with each other on print ads. Something else we worked on was a magazine cover (not mine). it was a picture of a mom opening her blouse to reveal the superman costume but with an "m" instead of an "s". She was surrounded by kids, her husband, pets, etc, and all of them are wearing clothing with different colors. Overall, the illustration has every color you can imagine and it took up the whole page, so when several chunks of text were placed on top of it the each one changed color depending on what was behind it. The whole thing just looked busy and tacky to me, and it was really hard to read. So I offered to fix it. I made the illustration smaller and centered it. The white background was more pronounced and all the text was dark red (for contrast) and positioned around the illustration instead of on top of it. While I was doing this they would make comments drained of enthusiasm which I didn't think much of at the time. "oh, he's taking away the color, " "he's making it more white," "it has less color now," etc. I just kept working on it, even though I also started feeling uncomfortable but I couldn't figure out why. When I got home an hour ago, I thought about it and felt a chill when I realized that, to them, maybe the colors represented diversity or had a cultural significance. And like some kind of ethnocentric asshole, I went in there and started eliminating what they connected to in order to add more white space, lol.

So when I arrived home I started thinking about it. Knowing that so, SO much of society in the united states (of which I am a citizen) is still infected with very subtle white supremest conceptions (we see it everywhere in the media, and advertising is of course no exception), could there be something inherently prejudice with the design philosophy for advertising and communication design that is taught in our schools and practiced in most studios and offices around the country? If you look at the vast majority of art from ethnicities around the world that are largely made up of folks who aren't white, you'll see that most of the artwork produced is extremely rich and varied in color. Mexican art, Indonesian art, African art, Indian art, Native American art, Chinese art, and so on. I'm not going to be too general and say something like, "the art of cultures largely made up of white people have blander colors than that of cultures largely made up of 'non-white' people," because that has to be a stereotype. But I imagine that many Americans of African or Mexican decent who have close ties to their culture (like my two friends, which I know because they told me so) and its art might feel that many of the 'standard' design styles in this country are bland and not as exciting to look at. I mean, one of the main rules of design is "simplicity is important". You're told to "use color sparingly", and that colors each have a definite mood/meaning (orange is joy, happiness, nostalgia or ignorance and deceit. That's it, it can't mean anything else, apparently.) We see a lot of websites/graphics/ads like these:







Images that, though clever at times, reek of Milquetoast, corporate influence. Basically, images that I grew up thinking were acceptable advertising/design.

So, what I'm trying to figure out in my head is, was I imposing a design philosophy on people of color that has some root in white supremacy? Or, if not that, western ethnocentrism? Could something that is really (to me) about little more than arranging colors, shapes and text on a page until I and the person paying me both say, "dig it", be loaded with destructive racist or ethnocentric baggage? Am I over-analyzing this? In my mind at the time, I just felt that what I saw was tacky and hard to read, so it needed to be improved in those areas. Nothing more, nothing less. I just hope I'm not subconsciously practicing a very, very subtle form of white supremacy, and if I am I want to change it ASAP. I still haven't talked to them about this, and I plan to when I see them next.

Anyway, enough "deep thoughts" for now. There's a strong possibility that I'm overanalyzing, as I tend to do. I just want to bring it up because I'm ignorant of other cultures sometimes and if every person who said something racist or ethnocentric went on believing that what he/she said wasn't as hurtful as it was, progress towards social justice would be impossible.
10:56 AM on 11/18/12 
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EasySkankin
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I think you're reading WAAAAAY too much into it hahaha
11:05 AM on 11/18/12 
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The_Effort
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I think you're reading WAAAAAY too much into it hahaha

I think this too, although it does make complete sense. I've never thought about or looked at advertising in that light, and I don't really know much about it's inner workings, but the main point that he's bringing up is definitely interesting and maybe discussion worthy.
05:16 PM on 11/18/12 
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gfxtwin
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I over analyze all the time, so that might be true, haha.

That said, the main thing I wanted to say in the last post but didn't: My friends are struggling pretty hard in this class. I'm doing the best, which makes sense because I'm basically a bland white guy at heart, haha. But I know that part of the reason they are having a hard time adapting to this class is the fact that they talk differently at home then they do in class. They have to learn not only how to talk white, but how to talk white better than anyone else. There's a very, very strict grammar/spelling/punctuation grading system in this program that is hard for even me to do well at.

Also, there's the art side of it. The program never taught us how to make 'proper' advertising art. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of experience in photoshop, but not everyone has that luxury. To many people of color in the class (I say many, but only about a third of the class are POC) learning this stuff with no previous experience is incredibly hard. And then there's the products that we have to create mock campaigns for: Odor Eaters and a lame grill. Yeah. Our final campaign is for a gay hotel, and at least two people in class are gay so maybe this will help them (I'd say it would help me because I'm probably not straight but I have never been to a gay hotel because if I went there I would probably want to have sex and the medication I took in 2007 to stop me from hallucinating after loving someone who didn't love me back caused my genitals to cease functioning), but the damage might have been done because two thirds of the whole grade for many people is below passing. To make matters worse, we need more copy than ever for the third campaign and he's not giving the class a chance for revisions (which still only even made the slightest difference before). It just doesn't seem very fair to me or anyone else in class.

So basically what I wanted to say is that I'm mostly concerned about what these design/writing standards mean for POC with close ties to their culture who are trying to get into a still very much white guy influenced ad industry.
05:36 PM on 11/18/12 
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caveBEAR
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That aside in the middle paragraph.
06:35 AM on 11/21/12 
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Jake Gyllenhaal
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Turns out, rich kids are better at hiding their online racism than poor kids.

Quote:
Pew interviewed 800 American teenagers and their parents about how they interact online, and found significant class disparities in how families deal with their kids’ dumbest status updates. While most parents express concern about what their kids are Facebooking, Pew found that higher-income parents are more likely than low-income parents to help their kids set up privacy settings on social network sites. And though 44 percent of parents feared how their kids’ online activity “might affect their future academic or employment opportunities,” parents in low-income households expressed less concern than middle-class parents did. Interestingly, high-income parents weren’t too worried, either—maybe because they’d already hidden their kid’s Facebook and Twitter accounts from public view.

That same article introduced me to the "Hello there, Racists" tumblr:

06:43 AM on 11/21/12 
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NewAgeofHorus
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Turns out, rich kids are better at hiding their online racism than poor kids.



That same article introduced me to the "Hello there, Racists" tumblr:


I can't believe people are happy at what happened in Japan. 15 years old, in love? Troll tumblr account detected.
06:11 PM on 11/26/12 
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Zeran
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that whole paragraph is just so unbelievable that it has to be a troll.
05:29 AM on 11/27/12 
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NewAgeofHorus
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Get a load of this shit. Something us conspiracy theorist have talked about for nearly a decade. This is nothing more than an attempt to push these RFID chips in acceptance. Have fun Obamacare patients, this is your future.

http://www.govtech.com/Texas-School-Wear-RFID-Chip-or-Get-Expelled.html
05:46 AM on 11/27/12 
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NewAgeofHorus
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Already approved by the FDA to be implanted in humans if must. (Yes, old article)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/14/human_rfid_implants/
05:58 AM on 11/27/12 
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Chris Collum
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How did I know you made this scab of a thread before I even clicked on it?
06:00 AM on 11/27/12 
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Dustin Harkins
Go support Kony 2012 some more
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TX
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I clicked the link to this on the forum feed box on the frontpage and thought "I just know this is NewAgeofHorus again..."
06:01 AM on 11/27/12 
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Dustin Harkins
Go support Kony 2012 some more
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TX
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How did I know you made this scab of a thread before I even clicked on it?

Wow, beat me to it, hahaha.
06:03 AM on 11/27/12 
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Jake Gyllenhaal
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Connecticut
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I don't have a problem with the chips. If you're obedient like you should be in school, you shouldn't worry about being tracked. If you need a chip to access certain facilities in the school, it just prevents unwanted individuals from accessing them.
 



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