152 Module 2 Forum 4 Extra Credit Power of Stereotypes


I will add 10 points to one of your assignment grades when the course is over for any student who discusses this with another student, and or myself.

We have looked at Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin Mary in one of the discussions in this module. As I hope that you have discovered in researching that image, it has provoked outcry from many quarters.

The mayor of NY pulled funding from the Brooklyn Museum, because of the Catholic’s Church, and their negative reaction to it.

One of the issues often spoken about , was the fact that Ofili’s Virgin clearly was not accurate. We know that the real Mother of God, was a virginal white woman, wearing the traditional virginal dress.

Here is an image by the renaissance artist Raphael, which is an almost photographic image of the true Virgin, The Cowper Madonna:


Here she is, an Italian beauty with blonde hair, small nose; and perfect features.

Clearly, Ofili’s Virgin is a fraud, being a wide nosed woman of color. She is wearing an insulting type of Sari, found on a woman of North Africa, or the Middle East.

Wait a minute, wasn’t the Virgin Mary in the Bible, a woman from the Middle East?

I wonder what type of clothing she might have worn?

So, what does this have to do with Trayvon Martin? I am not trying to take sides in the events that led to Trayvon’s death, but I think we can find some common ground between Ofili’s Madonna.

Two images stuck in my mind from following the story over the last few months. The first time we saw a picture of Trayvon, it was clearly him as a young boy in a hoodie, not exactly the 17 year old young man. But the second, and close up image of the young man isn’t accurate because the lens has exaggerated his face, and it is an African face.

Maybe the outcry against Ofili’s Virgin Mary has to do with our point of view, and stereotypes?

Maybe our perception of Trayvon has to do with our point of view, and stereotypes?

Leave behind the elephant dung, and the pornographic images, which you can certainly find them insulting to the Catholic Church. But did race play a part in reaction to Ofili’s art?

I find it fascinating that a man hurled white paint on the painting as a protest against the image.

Why not throw black paint on the picture?

Anyway, what do you think?

I would like you to discuss these ideas in this forum. Stay away from the actual court case, and the events of the last year.

Can beauty truly be in the eyes of the beholder? Can we see the same event, or picture in entirely different ways?

When some see a hoodie, they see fashion. When others see a hoodie, do they see gangsta?

Do some look at Ofili’s Madonna, they might see disrespect, while others might see beauty?

I don’t mind if you bring some of the ideas here into the other discussion on Ofili in this module.

Mr. S.


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