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Part V Whiteness: Culture's Role Many authorities believe that one of the most pervasive ways in which racial ideas are conveyed and reinforced is through language--the narratives, tales, sayings, jokes, movie scripts, songs, children's stories, metaphors, and imagery we use in constructing our common culture. One living in our society finds it almost impossible to think of a Madonna or hero who is not white, or a villain who is not swarthy. Can you imagine a mass murderer or a general of the Huns' army, say, who looks like Robert Redford? Or the infant Jesus as a smiling black baby? The following selections deal with the role of culture and cultural artifacts, especially language, or .,gaze," in creating stereotypes about race. One theme running through these materials is that once cultural ideas and expectations are internalized the individual begins to act, at a quite unconscious level, in accord with them. In selecting a residence, friend, movie, book, hero, or role model, one chooses in accord with one's sense of who (or what) is likely to turn out to be nice, valued, trustworthy, intelligent, and esteemed. If, as in our society, these traits are linked up with racial archetypes, it becomes almost impossible to act naturally in cross-race situations. Copyrighted Material Copyrighted Material ...


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