chapter  10
14 Pages

The Promise of Critical Media Literacy

WithREBECCA POWELL

In her book titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (1997), Beverly Daniel Tatum recounts an incident with three-and four-yearolds at a local day care center. When the children were asked to draw a picture of a Native American, they were stumped. But when their teacher rephrased the question and asked them to draw a picture of an Indian, they immediately responded. Their pictures all contained feathers, and several contained weapons such as knives and tomahawks. When they were asked where they acquired such images of native people, the children cited cartoons, and most notably the Disney movie Peter Pan, as their primary source of information. By the age of three, largely as a result of popular media, these children had internalized an essentially aggressive and negative image of Native Americans.