What’s Missing Here?
Maybe it was the paper shortage of World War II or the priority for increased food and housing production in the postwar era. Or maybe they just forgot … but when I was a preschooler in the early 1950s we were dispensed reading primers that were originally published in the 1930s, and they contained all the prejudices and myths that had deceived Americans regarding race and ethnicity since the nation’s inception. I admit that the pictures were pleasant, but something was missing.
Can you tell what that something is? I’ll give you a hint … there are no people of any shade of color. Nothing to indicate that this particular America was anything but white bread.
To be fair, there were multiple choice games that do not require such politically correct scrutiny. But there were characters and scenes that implied segregation and suggested a kind of Stepford obedience to the dominant order too. Have a look. Am I right, or am I right?
Last call! Print’s Regional Design Annual 2015: Enter Today! The 2015 Regional Design Annual is still open—but only until May 15. Don’t miss your chance to have your work reviewed by the best minds in design today and to be spotlighted in our most popular issue of the year—the industry’s most prestigious and well-respected annual.
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →