Offensive

Department: 

Dear Editor: Since I first went to sub-Saharan African in 1964, I have often had to respond to negative and derogatory comments about Black Africa. For example, I have twice complained to Quaker publications where, in the captions for pictures, they gave the names of the White Americans but not of the Black Africans in the same picture. The greatest transgression is what I call African porn – using this definition of pornography: “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.” This is often extremely humiliating pictures of poor, starving Africans, frequently children. 

I was so upset to see the picture of the starving Nigerian boy on your front cover of your September/October 2018 issue imposed on the picture of the playground and then the full picture on the back cover. In all my years of doing publicity on Africa and trying to raise funds for African programs, one of my firm beliefs has been never to show pictures like this, since they are so derogatory. I am embarrassed to have had my article in that issue connected to these cover pictures.

– David Zarembka, Bethesda Monthly Meeting of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and Lumakanda Monthly Meeting of Lugari Yearly Meeting.

 

Dear David and Friends Everywhere:  I cannot say how sorry I am to have made this insensitive choice of cover images for the last issue of Western Friend. Although I regret having acted offensively, I am grateful for your help in pointing out my mistake. I now have a better understanding of one of my own blind spots, which makes me better able to say that I will do all I can to avoid this sort of error in the future. Again, I am deeply sorry to have missed the mark so badly.

– Mary Klein, Editor, Western Friend