Images of America: You may see this 1 way, but …

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0209_Tiled_Flag_of_American_diversity.jpgWe all know “a picture is worth 1,000 words”—a phrase coined in a 1920s-era magazine article about the impact of images in marketing. But, if our series this week on Images of America proves anything, it shows that those 1,000 words may represent widely differerent viewpoints. Just look back at the selection of three comments sparked by this week’s first image: The Melting Pot, a poster for a play by Israel Zangwill. The reactions to that poster range from positive to deeply troubled.

We close this week with further proof of the diverse reactions that strong images may summon. The “ethnically tiled flag image” (shown above) has been floating around the internet for more than a year. In our search for this image’s origins online, we found the tiled flag showing up in Web posts on nearly every attitude toward America’s diversity. in our Web searching, we discovered …

Celebrating Diversity: The Next Great Generation (TNGG) website showcases work by young journalists. The tiled flag image was used by TNGG to illustrate an article with a positive attitude toward our nation’s growing ethnic diversity.

Angry at Immigrants: However, the same flag showed up in an angry online rant, Rebirth of America, by a supporter of Tea Party Patriots. This time, the image was captioned: “Where has America gone?” The writer griped that immigrants only come here to sponge off our nation’s resources.

Proud of Our Diversity: A young African-American woman who likes to blog about travel and global culture chose the same image for a column proudly saluting America’s diversity, especially when compared with some other nations’ homogenous populations.

An Immigrant’s Viewpoint: A blogger known as A French Lady, who moved from France to the American South, writes in French for other French readers. She chose the flag image for a post that begins, “Ce que j’aime le plus dans mon pays d’adoption c’est sa mixité.” (In English, “What I like most about my adopted country is its diversity.”)

New Americans Bring New Problems: A University of Oregon Law School symposium, grappling with emerging issues in immigration law, also chose this flag image. Immigration is posing difficult legal challenges that won’t go away, the symposium announcement indicated.

Real People I Talked to Face to Face: I asked participants in a new small-group dialog on Civil Discourse about this image. Some said: patriotic, proud, happy, artistic, beauty, diversity. Others said, clutter, conflict, overcrowded, sad.

You may see this tiled flag 1 way, but others see it in other ways …

What do you see in the tiled flag?

What do you think of the other images this week?

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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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