The Easiest Way to Ruin Your Day: Guaranteed!

Here at Sherry Matthews I've been working on a presentation for a client involving doctors. Here's the gist: I search "doctor," "asian doctor," "hispanic doctor," etc. and pick out the most politically-correct images. This gets boring. A few minutes ago I started searching for more personally-relevant (versus project-relevant) images, and I came upon something profound.

Getty, being a stock photo resource for advertisers and companies looking for the most socially-recognizable types of images, only displays photos it believes advertisers (and ultimately, society) will find "normal." That is, images with the most easily understood message.

Searching for "gay men," images of gay cowboys and threesomes are the top results. Lesbians are even worse; apparently, a "lesbian" is either an old, overweight hag or an oiled up vixen in a makeout session.

Of course, "perfect family" takes the cake. The families are literally all-white, and pictured only in the most WASP-y of settings. The most prevalent motifs seem to be white picket fences, oak trees in fall and the coast of New England. Seriously, America? I'm not a politically-correct person. In fact, I find political correctness to be a poison, a reverse version of racism that's just as sinister as basic sociocultural prejudice. (Like "Ebony" and "Black Businessman Magazine.") But a day after a poll was published showing nearly 28% of the United States is "unsure" whether or not our president was born in the U.S., even the most basic cultural judgments seem like persecution.

This country isn't a horrible place. But even with the best schools of higher learning in the world, even as the center of technological and design innovation on the planet, we are still the least intelligent, most narrow-minded, frightened people to ever hold so much power among nations.

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