These Photos Powerfully Show How We View Race in America

May 18th 2017

Almie Rose

A photo spread about race in O, The Oprah Magazine is sparking a lot of conversation.

The images, taken by photographer Chris Buck, are in a series titled "Let's Talk About Race." There are two photos in particular that have been making the rounds on Twitter.

"Flipped and switched"

The image on the left shows a group of white women working for a group of Asian women at a nail salon. The image on the right shows a young white girl staring at a towering wall of only black dolls in a store.

"It was a topic on all of our minds and [Winfrey] was eager for us to tackle it. The main thing we wanted to do was deal with the elephant in the room—that race is a thorny issue in our culture, and tensions are on the rise. So let's do our part to get an honest, compassionate conversation going, in which people feel heard and we all learn something—especially how we can all do better and move forward," Lucy Kaylin, editor-in-chief at O magazine and who came up with the concept, told Mic in regards to what inspired the series.

And that conversation definitely got going.

The responses to the images on Twitter varied from praise to scorn.









With some people who decided to argue about it online.





"Reverse racism" and white privilege were also topics of discussion.







One takeaway? Representation matters.

It especially matters for children. "We live in a society that sees black kids as both less innocent and older than white children," wrote Naadeyah Haseeb on For Harriet. "A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that 'black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.' The U.S. Department of Education revealed in a report that black children face discrimination as early as pre-school."

Asian characters are infamously whitewashed in film. When a T-shirt featuring the names of four actors accused of whitewashing went viral, its creator said, when asked why he thought his shirt resonated with so many people, "I believe it comes down to representation."

[H/T Mic]