National Geographic is trying to reckon with its racist past

National Geographic is finally reckoning with its “racist” coverage of people of color

National Geographic is finally reckoning with its “racist” coverage of people of color

"But when we chose to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others".

National Geographic first put out an issue in the year 1888.

In addition, National Geographic perpetuated the cliche of native people fascinated by technology and overloaded the magazine with pictures of lovely Pacific island women.

Asked to examine its coverage, University of Virginia associate professor John Edwin Mason said National Geographic had served only to reinforce racist attitudes in a magazine with "tremendous authority".

Goldberg cited one example from 1916 in which a photo depicted two Aboriginal Australian people with a caption that read: "South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings".

"Let's confront today's shameful use of racism as a political strategy and prove we are better than this", Ms Goldberg wrote in an editorial entitled "For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist".

Mason said he found an intentional pattern in his review.

"People of colour were often scantily clothed, people of colour were usually not seen in cities, people of colour were not often surrounded by technologies of automobiles, airplanes or trains or factories", he said.

Defined by its yellow-bordered covers and stunning photography, the magazine has been a window to the world for many Americans, featuring culture, travel, science, and geography.

White teenage boys "could count on every issue or two of National Geographic having some brown skin bare breasts for them to look at, and I think editors at National Geographic knew that was one of the appeals of their magazine, because women, especially Asian women from the pacific islands, were photographed in ways that were nearly glamour shots".

Making sure that kind of coverage never happens again should be paramount, Husni said. And now the magazine is trying to make up for it.

Goldberg said, "It's a worthy moment to step back, to take stock of where we are on race".

"It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine's past", she wrote. "So we need photographers who are African-American and Native American because they are going to capture a different truth and maybe a more accurate story". It now can be found in 172 countries and in 43 languages every month.

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