'Racist' stork row flies again

By Robert Brand Time of article published Mar 7, 2000

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Independent researcher Claudia Braude on Monday admitted that she had "misread" a newspaper photograph of two birds on a refuse bin - but said she stood by her judgment that the picture was proof of subliminal racism in the media.

The photograph, showing a marabou stork and a crow, appeared in the Star. It was taken in Kampala, Uganda, and identified as such in the caption - but Braude cited it as an example of whites' association of dirt and degradation with black-managed Johannesburg.

"City refuse container becomes a visual shorthand for an Africanised CBD; and the marabou stork shorthand for Africa within Johannesburg, for the perceived change from a First World to a Third World city in which hawkers line the pavements referred to in the caption, their persons and refuse adding to the city's detritus," Braude wrote in her report on racism in the media for the SA Human Rights

Commission.

Asked about the picture at the HRC's hearing into media racism on Monday, Braude admitted she had misread the caption, but added: "When I looked at the picture, that is exactly what came to mind.

"I'm not saying anybody set out to represent Johannesburg as a (Third World) city like Lagos. I'm saying that people's concerns about dirt and sewage express themselves in the choice of a photograph."

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