Nat Geo’s Mea Culpa

National Geographic’s April issue is dedicated to race and, in sweeping acknowledgement of the magazine’s problematic history of reporting on persons of color, the editorial staff enlisted a historian to examine some of the more abhorrent stories from Nat Geo’s archives.

For decades, the magazine showcased global “natives,” augmenting existing stereotypes like “happy hunters” and “noble savages.” Absence is also explicit: persons of color in the US were virtually ignored until the 1970s.

“How we present race matters,” says Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg, "It means we have a duty, in every story, to present accurate and authentic depictions—a duty heightened when we cover fraught issues such as race.”

National Geographic

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