The cultural artifact which I have chosen is a picture that at first glance may seem like an ordinary picture, however it has a very powerful message. I have chosen a photo of 3 eggs with faces drawn on them, two of the eggs are white and the third is brown. The two white eggs look very angry and as if they are trying to frighten the brown egg. On the other hand the brown egg simply looks annoyed with the two white eggs. The photo itself does not have a background that I could find, however the message itself does. The message that I believe the photo portrays is “discrimination” and/or “segregation”. I think of discrimination when I look at the image because often times when people discriminate they are angry and in many instances they become violent or threaten the individual(s) who(m) they are discriminating against. Next, I thought of segregation when looking at the photo because in the past racial discrimination and racism led to segregation.
I chose this image one because I thought the eggs’ faces were cute and it made me giggle when I first saw it. However once I really studied the image and thought about its meaning I became more interested in it because I found it interesting how such a simple photo could portray such a powerful message. Although the message of discrimination and segregation popped into my head when viewing the photo as it related to what we have talked about in class. I also thought of a bigger message; despite the color on the outside inside we are all the same; that is still a big issue in present time.
Next, the reason this photo of the eggs is so important to me is because it speaks to so many different topics and issues regarding race. It speaks about the past and the present, when I look at the photo I am able to think about how it relates to African American history, and more specifically things I have learned throughout this course. I am also able to think about how it relates to what is currently taking place in the world, such as all these young Black people being shot by White men. Discrimination against African Americans during the ____ is what led to segregation, and we see again now in the present time that discrimination is beginning to become more and more of an issue. Although segregation went away, racial discrimination and racial profiling has stayed constant, and during more recent years it seems as though racism is beginning to surface again. Not to say that racism has ever fully went away, however the number of young innocent African Americans being killed, and attacked by White men is growing larger and larger.
Unfortunately, I could not find the creator of the photo, I tried to look it up and found nothing about who illustrated it or took the image. On the other hand when searching I was able to find a website where the image was used. While I was unable to understand what the article was saying due to it being in a different language, it was clear that the article was about racism. I was able to come to that conclusion by identifying some of the words and due to all of the images that were used in the article. The article used several images that gave the message to stop racism and stop discriminating. Although I was unable to find the creator of the image, I believe what inspired the person to make the image is implied to the viewers. Whoever created this image, created it because they wanted to send a message about discrimination and/or racism. They may also have wanted to send the message that although on the outside we are different, inside we are the same. One can assume that the message had to do with being the same on the inside because why else would the illustrator chose eggs? Eggs come in different colors; brown and white; however once cracked open they look exactly the same.
Since I was unable to find the illustrator of the image, I was also unable to find out when the image was created. I did search several sites that used and posted the image and my best guess would be that the image was created sometime in the last five years. This time period is very important because over the past five years there have been several cases where African Americans were killed and it was said to be due to racism. Some of the cases that I am sure many people are familiar with that have taken place over the past five years are the cases of; Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland. Due to the rise of racism and racial discrimination against African Americans over the past five years, there has been the Black Lives Matters movement. Which I am also sure that many people are familiar with as you can see images, articles, posters, and posts about it on almost every social media site by simply searching the hashtag #BlackLivesMatters.
In case there is anyone who has not heard of the three cases I mentioned and Black Lives Matters, I am going to give some brief background information on all four. First, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old African American male who lived in Florida and was shot and killed by the neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who claimed that he shot the young boy in self-defense (CBS News Crimesider: Trayvon Martin Shooting). Michael Brown was an 18 year old African American male who was gunned down by a White police officer. Brown surrendered and put his hands up saying “don’t shoot” but the officer still fired multiple rounds, killing Michael Brown (NBC News Storyline Michael Brown Shooting). Next, Sandra Bland was an African American woman who was pulled over by a state trooper and was then arrested because he claimed to have suspected her of assaulting the officer. Days later Bland was found dead in her jail cell hung by a trash bag (Los Angeles Times Sandra Bland). Finally, Black Lives Matters, I believe speaks for itself. The point of it is to get others to understand that Black Lives are important and to call attention to the injustice that African American people have to face.
Next, the significance of this artifact is that it speaks to the issue of racism which emerges from two eras. We see racism during the Slavery era and during the Black Codes and Jim Crow era. Many people try to overlook racism, and even more people try not to speak of the subject. Along with racism majority of people in this society deny discriminating and racially profiling African Americans, however it does happen often. This egg photo represents the past, the present, and sadly the future. Not to say that we have not come a long way from segregation, discrimination, racism, and racial profiling, however we do see a lot of this, minus the segregation. The significance of this photo will never change, it will always represent and speak to the issue of racism. I do not believe racism will ever fully go away, thus twenty years from now this photo will still hold the same great significance. If somehow racism does fully come to an end in the future, the photo will still hold the same significance as it will speak to the History of African Americans and racism.
When thinking about how this cultural artifact relates to class, I can think of several different things. Some of the things that come to mind are; slavery times, black codes, and the movie “Slavery by Another Name”. As I mentioned this artifact speaks to racism, discrimination, and segregation. During slavery times slave owners used religion as their reason for enslaving African Americans, but over time they began to use race as their reason for enslaving African Americans. This is where you first see racism, slavery within itself is viewed as racism because the Whites felt that they were so much better than the African Americans. However, once slave traders and owners began to blatantly state that race was the reason they chose to enslave African Americans, it became clear that racism was at hand if it was unclear to anyone before.
Next, during the era where black codes began to rise you really saw racism and discrimination. As shown and discussed in the movie “Slavery by Another Name” African American males were put in jail for the simplest of things. One example of a black code is that Negroes were not allowed to walk by the railroad. White men did not like that African Americans had gained their freedom and so they came up with a way to make sure that Blacks were still below them. They came up with black codes, which were laws made specifically for Black men and women, but mostly men. White men were never punished for the same things that Black men got punished for, and if a Black man committed a crime that a white man had, the Black man was sure to get a longer sentence. For example, African Americans were given long sentences in jail for stealing pigs. Also during this time racial segregation became mandated by law.
Overall, the egg photo relates to both of these eras because it speaks to racism, discrimination, and segregation. I would have never guessed that a photo of three eggs could have such a powerful meaning. I have learned a lot throughout this course about racism and the history of African Americans. However, I feel as though I have learned even more during this assignment and from the cultural artifact I chose to write about. During the first assignment I did not feel I had to think as hard or as much about my cultural artifact and what it represented, but this time I feel that I really had to do some critical thinking and actually learned a lot.
By Sierra Brooks-Sothard