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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Default Race?

Try this test. Draw a smiley face. Now make it a black person. What did you add/do? How about an Asian person. What did you add/do to it? How about a woman?


  1. Yeah, I know this well. My mother, bless her heart, believes that she is not racially biased... and for someone of her era, has relatively few prejudices. But, if she is telling a story and someone in it is non-white, it is always mentioned, regardless of relevance.

  2. "Now make it a black person. What did you add/do?"

    I made it 6'3" with a chocolate complexion, geek mindset, sharp wit, sans hair, and gave it the title "inventor of lunch-kins" :-)

  3. My smiley face looks like Quasimodo. I don't want to try the secondary assignments as those may be deemed as making improper comments on those specific races or other sex when in reality it's just really really poor art skills.

  4. A circle, two dots for eyes and a smaller half circle for the mouth. I just shaded in the black person a little darker than the asian. I am using white paper so white is no shading. How about Native american, Indian, middle eastern. Those can also be easy to stereotype. I am a girl but couldn't think of a way to say this it a girl not a boy since there are so many differnt ways for boys to look now days. Maybe do a Minnie Mouse and go with a bow...

  5. No one and I mean NO ONE is not biased. It's how you react to your bias that makes you a racist.

  6. The rules you set up already biased the artists to think of their smiley face as white. For instance you could have said "Draw a smiley face. Now make it a white person." Isn't the generic smiley face Asian anyways? yellow skin, small dark eyes, little/no nose, always smiling so you don't know what it's really thinking… :)

  7. Truly, I don't see white people as a default race. I'm not trying to sound noble in saying that. But I see your point...kinda?...that, unless the person's actions or statements are somehow connected to their race, I guess I don't need to mention that they are Black or White or Asian, or etc.

    I could be really punchy + silly, and ask:
    since all of my average paper + printer paper is snow white, should I get some paper, that's another color, before I try drawing people of different races, as you have asked me to do? Hee hee!

  8. Ahem.

    IMO, if we have to use the term "white" to denote the racial ancestry or ethnicity of a human being, it will apply more accurately to the North Asians rather than the Caucasians.

    As to your question, SAM, it really depends on the environment you're in.