Bloomington Scholar Exposes Racist Images in Popular Language Manual

Christine Beresniova, a doctoral scholar at Indiana University (Bloomington) has exposed the disturbingly racist images in a popular Lithuanian language manual that have disturbed foreign Lithuanian language students for many years. The public disclosure is reported today in an article in the main daily newspaper in Vilnius, Lietuvos rytas.

The most infamous image features two pairs of stereotypes. There is the Lithuanian woman in national folk costume and a crown on her head, and as foreign counterpart, a bare-breasted black woman in Africa with weird headgear. The caption to the illustration translates ‘This woman is a Lithuanian, and that one is an African’, as if Africa is a country, one-to-one comparable to ‘Lithuania’.

The illustration for the male gender of the grammatical demonstrative pronouns being taught features the African man complete with the same curiously tailored unisex miniskirt but a special-for-the-male spear.

Ms Beresniova studies diverse genres of bias in education and society. Last July, she gave a scholarly presentation on the subject of antisemitism and racism in Lithuania, as part of the seminar series at the Jewish Community of Lithuania under the auspices of the Litvak Studies Institute.  Seminar details here.  Images (by Richard Schofield) here.

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