From Aunt Jemima advertisements to the board game Ghettopoly, American popular culture is replete with racist images. "Hateful Things," a 39-piece traveling exhibition of items of material culture from the late 19th century to the present that embody the effects of the Jim Crow legacy, is on display from Feb. 12 to March 2 in the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther College campus.
The exhibit, sponsored by Luther's art gallery program, Diversity Center, Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, Dean's Office and the college's Africana studies, English and religion departments, is open to the public with no charge for admission.
In addition to items from popular and commercial culture, the traveling exhibit also contains images of violence against African Americans as well as the Civil Rights struggle for racial equality.
The items in "Hateful Things" come from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, which features an extensive collection of racist objects that trace the history of the stereotyping of African Americans. The founder and curator of the museum is David Pilgrim, Ferris State University's vice president for diversity and inclusion. The museum is offering "Hateful Things" to further their mission of stimulating the scholarly examination of historical and contemporary expressions of racism, as well as promoting racial understanding and healing.
The objects in "Hateful Things" have been lifted from their original purposes to now serve as powerful reminders of America's racist past. But more importantly, the exhibition gives viewers new eyes with which to see present-day images of racial stereotyping that might otherwise pass unchallenged.
"Hateful Things" is part of a larger effort at Luther to address the issue of hate in today's culture. For information about upcoming lectures and events, including a guest lecture from Pilgrim on Feb. 18, visit http://www.luther.edu/events/.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.