Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, Teaching Resources on 2010-03-29 17:43Z by Steven

Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity

Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies
Volume 9, Number 2 (April 2009)
pages 141-148
DOI: 10.1177/1532708608326606

Lorna Roth, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

This essay focuses on Binney and Smith’s creation and marketing of Crayola fleshtone art products from the late 1950s until the mid-1990s, analyzing the company’s shifting nomenclature—from “flesh” to “peach” to its multicultural collection. After reflecting on the significance of Crayola’s color adjustment for children’s sociocultural and aesthetic development and for teacher’s pedagogical repertoires around diversity issues, I introduce an original notion–cognitive equity. I propose this as a refined way of understanding racial and cultural equity issues that don’t just revolve around statistics and access to institutions, but also inscribes a new normative vision of skin color equity directly into technologies, products, and body representations in a range of visual media. At the very early stage of children’s cognitive development when stereotypes and racisms are being formed, this would be a particularly intelligent design strategy in which to reinforce multiculturalism and multiracialism in all aspects of their visual culture and the commodities that are available to them.

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