Friday, August 26, 2011

ESPN's Presentation of a Virtual White Michael Vick

An upcoming ESPN magazine will focus on quarterback Michael Vick. What's getting quite a bit of chatter right now is the image that accompanies one of the issue's articles entitled "What if Michael Vick Were White?" by the writer Touré.

Photo illustration by D'arcy Hyde for ESPN The Magazine

The image is digitally altered to show what Vick would like white. Touré, for his part, was "dismayed" that ESPN created and used that image with his article. Touré's article raises some useful, interesting points. In fact, he states why a simplified imagining of a black person as white is "so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless."

At the moment though, the content of the article is overshadowed by the digitally altered image of Vick. That image is a troubling approach in many respects, but fits into a long history of re-presenting black folks.

Years ago, Newsweek ran a darkened image of O.J. to suggest or perhaps promote the idea of his supposed murderous activity. ESPN got in the game this time by running a whitened image of Michael Vick.

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