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Mr. Normal – aka “Normative Whiteness Caught in the Act” (Sketch)

Mr. Normal

I doodled this on my tablet more than a year ago, in 2019. I think I was at a café in Madagascar. I wasn’t sure if I would ever publish it.

Mr. Normal
“Mr. Normal” ©2019 Ted Johnson

Normative Whiteness Caught in the Act

The name “Mr. Normal” came to me instantly. And instantly afterwards, I noticed my moment of normative whiteness – that internalized construct where people think of white as the default, the standard not only for skin color (“flesh colored” makeup and crayons, depictions of Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, education models of the human body), but also the social norms and behaviors associated with white culture.

It’s not just white people who are afflicted with this construct. I notice normative whiteness all the time in Madagascar – in advertising, merchandising. I have waged a low-level trolling war with a local supermarket for its tendency to disproportionately offer white-skinned dolls. (Somebody remind me to write about that someday. I have photos.)

But nonetheless it appeared in my brain: Mr. Normal. I was disappointed in myself, but also patting myself on the back for catching it.

2 comments

  1. Sis Reply
    April 26, 2020 at 7:53 am

    of course it would be “normative” to you.it’s dad.

  2. Chuck Reply
    June 8, 2020 at 5:31 am

    Looks like a really cool guy who owns a guitar shop here.

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