THEM: Images of Separation
THEM: Images of Separation is a 38-piece traveling exhibition that showcases items from popular culture used to stereotype different groups. The negative imagery, found on postcards, license plates, games, souvenirs, and costumes, promoted stereotyping against such groups as Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, and poor whites, as well as those who are "other" in terms of body type or sexual orientation.
The exhibition follows up the success of the Hateful Things exhibition, comprised of artifacts from Ferris' Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Jim Crow Museum Founder David Pilgrim said THEM responds to questions he received from people who saw the previous exhibition, which focused specifically on imagery demeaning to African-Americans.
"In the past we had people ask why did we not have objects that dealt with groups other than African-Americans," Pilgrim said. "For this show, we took our direction from Martin Luther King's famous quote, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' This is the next logical step for the Jim Crow Museum."
Through six three-dimensional and 32 framed pieces, THEM tackles some of the most contentious, hot-button cultural issues: anti-Arab sentiment, Holocaust denial, "don't ask, don't tell" and immigration.
The exhibition also includes items demeaning to African-Americans, but that is only a part of the exhibition's larger picture. "I'm hoping THEM shows discrimination and stereotyping is not just a black/white issue -- it's more pervasive than that," said Pilgrim.