Navigating Cross-Cultures, Curriculum and Confrontation: Addressing Ethics and Stereotypes in Design Education

By Buck-Coleman, Audra | Visible Language, May 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Navigating Cross-Cultures, Curriculum and Confrontation: Addressing Ethics and Stereotypes in Design Education


Buck-Coleman, Audra, Visible Language


abstract

Graphic design's messages can reach across streets and across the globe; they can bring together countries, communities and strangers for a common cause; they can also serve to divide otherwise amenable neighbors. Design students must fully understand this potential reach and thus the responsibility they have to create tolerant, informed messages. The need to understand how personal beliefs of race, religion, socio-economic class and other differences influence visual messages is an ethical component of the graphic designer's professional duties. For if these differences and the potentially skewed perspectives are not recognized, then slippage between accurate and faulty messages will seep into graphic compositions. Sticks+Stones deliberately composes a highly diverse "classroom" of students in an effort for students to learn from each other as well as the curriculum. Studies show that students who learn in a diverse curriculum not only gain a broader perspective and appreciation for other cultures, but they also develop better thinking skills. Sticks+Stones collaborators aim to propagate knowledgeable, culture-savvy future designers who have learned first-hand from an extraordinarily diverse group of peers about the insulting and potentially harmful effects of image misuse. The innovative curriculum requires ethnic profiling and stereotyping as well as reflection, conversation and collaborative design on the way to multicultural understanding.

introduction

As the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles makes visitors pointedly aware, we are all prejudiced, no matter how much we might deny it. Using stereotypes and categorizing others is our natural tendency, although not always to a negative effect. For example, we use stereotyping to help in understanding the known and unknown. Stereotypes also help connect us to others and foster a sense of instant community with strangers. However, a problem lies in situations when we are not aware of our prejudices or when we allow those prejudices to prevent us from seeing characterizations of a person or group that do not fit into our preconceived notions of who they are. Moreover, when the cultural norms of one community are used to compare that of another, the gap between accurate and inaccurate interpretations of the other widens (Hofstede and Pedersen, 2002, 20).

Perhaps it is easy to dismiss the need to educate students about racism, diversity and stereotypes as redundant or unnecessary. After all, we entered a new millennium with a climate of ultra political correctness; the United States elected a black President, and today's Internet has given us the ability to communicate with our world neighbors in real time. Many whites believed Barack Obama's successful election signaled a post-racism era. Unfortunately, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other US minorities report that although Barack Obama's current job title is a step in the right direction, racism is far from over in the United States and around the world. Further, expectations of mended- if not healed- racial wounds and renewed tolerant outlooks are dashed yet again with activities in 2009: the U.S. Holocaust Museum shooting in Washington, DC by a White Supremacist; China's riots and nearly two-hundred deaths as a result of the Han Chinese and Uighur ethnic conflict; the increased abuse, racial profiling and mistreatment of Latino workers in the US South; and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's report, the increase in US domestic terrorism and hate groups since the Obama election. Unfortunately, the conversation about stereotypes and racism is not over. We have begun to breakdown the prominent racial and prejudicial forces, but there is still much work to be done.

One solution to reduce the violence and hatred associated with prejudice is to begin an open dialogue and confront the issue directly. In February last year, US Attorney General Eric Holder incited much debate and criticism about his effort to raise awareness about the lack of discussion regarding race when he said that the United States, despite its claim to being a welcoming, inclusive melting pot, is instead a "nation of cowards" (US Department of Justice, 2009). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Navigating Cross-Cultures, Curriculum and Confrontation: Addressing Ethics and Stereotypes in Design Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.