Wednesday, August 31, 2005
While the white people in jungle books are blonde and athletic and shapely, the idea conveyed about the natives is that there are fleeting transitions between apes and humans. I have repeatedly found in my studies that this characterization of colored people as subhuman, in conjunction with depiction of forceful heroes as blond Nordic supermen, has made a deep—and I believe lasting—impression on young children. And amidst all the violence between slaves, apes and humans in these books are big pictures of lush girls, as nude as the Post Office permits. Even on an adult, the impression of sex plus violence is definite.