March 23-31, 2017
Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

THEM: Images of Separation

A traveling exhibition of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
March 27-31, 2017
222 Plemmons Student Union (Wiseman's View)
Free event

"THEM: Images of Separation," is a 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 State University's Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Ferris professor of Social Sciences 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 dimentional and 32 framed pieces (some with multiple items, such as postcards), "THEM" tackles some of the most contentious, cultural hot-button 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.

Related links

Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

Appalachian State University, like universities across the nation, is faced with the challenge of balancing a respect for and obligation to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution with an institutional culture of respect for thought, belief and community.

  • When members of our community express themselves in ways that belittle or degrade others, how do we address these actions?
  • When members of our community view expressions of speech as threats, how do we ensure their safety?
  • How can we protect freedom of speech and thought for all members of our community?
  • Can we – or should we – use policy to address these matters?

Through a weeklong series of conversations, panel discussions, speeches and forums with experts in the field, our community will explore these questions, and others.

Join the conversations!

Learn more | View the entire schedule